The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


April 24, 2013

Readers' Forum 4-24 | Raw scores don’t give justice to GJSD


— Why protect overseas interests over ours?

Members of Congress often proclaim, “We need to protect our interests overseas.” In light of the cuts to the defense budget that are mandated by sequestration, they should be required to be more explicit.

Since it is difficult to believe that the more than 300 million of us share the same interests, Congress needs to make it clear what all of “our” overseas interests are and who benefits from the protection. (Arguably, those who benefit should pay.)

It is likely that most of us think of the oil in the Middle East as our interests overseas. Without a doubt, oil is important for every American and certainly needs to be protected.

However, what are our interests in countries such as South Korea? It is in the best interests of the South Koreans to protect themselves from an invasion from North Korea, but those are not our interests.

China has been embraced by corporate America, as witnessed by the hundreds of corporations ( including Apple, AT&T and Victoria Secret that manufacture goods there. As a result, the justification that has been given for having a military presence in Korea – “we need to stop the spread of communism” – is no longer valid.

Early indications are that sequestration will negatively impact the domestic defense budget much more than the foreign budget. If that is true, then Congress also needs to explain why it is that “our” interests overseas are more important than our interests here.

Stephen J. Verotsky


Murdered ex-Marine deserves justice

Although some readers who know me might say I’m too close to this case (I am ex-military – Navy – and Michael Pcola was an ex-Marine and I am his second cousin), I believe that the prosecutors made the wrong decision regarding this case. Why?

I know firsthand that Marines are trained to protect people, especially their mothers and all women in general.

Read the April 17 story in The Tribune-Democrat if you doubt my words (“Prosecutors won’t seek death penalty: Defendant accused of killing man with bat”).

Also, Michael’s choice to live or die was taken away from him when Gregory Conzo swung his bat, fatally injuring Michael. Therefore, why should Conzo’s life be spared for killing another person?

I know Michael didn’t fall under the “statutory aggravating circumstances” that the prosecutors have to go by, but Michael Pcola was murdered by Conzo and deserves justice in this case, too.

John Pcola

St. Michael

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