News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Source for editorial facts questioned

To The Daily: The Decatur Daily stooped to a new low in the Sept. 14 editorial page when it not only impugned the integrity of Gen. David Petraeus, but also alluded to him being incompetent and participating in self-serving political activities. While there is room for debate on the war in Iraq, personal attacks of this nature are unconscionable.

The editorial asserted Adm. William Fallon, Petraeus’ superior, accused Petraeus of conducting “a self-serving public relations campaign in favor of continuing the war.” The editorial further claimed that Fallon called Petraeus a “sycophant.” I seriously doubt any member of The Daily’s editorial staff had any direct discussions with Adm. Fallon regarding these assertions, so what is the source?

“Pentagon sources” were ostensibly the source for a meeting in March between Fallon and Petraeus in which Adm. Fallon used salty language to castigate Gen. Petraeus. Here again, I seriously doubt anyone at The Decatur Daily has a direct line to The Pentagon, so what is the source?

The accusation that Gen. Petraeus took up residence in the office of Sen. Mitch McConnell in early February was attributed to “news reports.” Any sane journalism professor would flunk a student who came up with that attribution. Besides, Sens. Harry Reid or Chuck Schumer would have been standing on the Capitol dome, shouting about such an incident.

I suspect The Daily is using some far left Web site for its sources for stories such as this. If not, then what is the source?

In my opinion, The Daily has no expertise in global politics or military strategy. It does have a real penchant for promoting any and all Democratic causes, but it should limit its editorial writer to local subjects such as new animal shelters, nonsmoking ordinances and trashy yards.

Robert A. Matasick

Editor’s note: The source was a Sept. 12 story by Gareth Porter on Inter Press Service, an independent global news agency.

Smoking ban won’t harm restaurants

To The Daily: With so much in the news about the anti-smoking ordinance in Decatur, I find it ironic that the entire state of Alabama is behind some of our neighboring states. Arkansas passed “The Arkansas Clean Inside Air Act” on April 4, 2006. There is no smoking in businesses in Arkansas.

I grew up in the sometimes-degraded and beautiful state of Arkansas. I make frequent trips there and eat out often. I can find no evidence that any restaurants have lost any customers because of it. In addition, this past month I spent a couple of weeks in Tennessee. While leaving a popular chain restaurant, I saw one employee give another a no smoking sign telling them to put it up because the law would take effect on Oct. 1, anyway. Tennessee has taken the positive step to eliminate smoking in businesses. I seriously doubt any of the restaurants in Tennessee will be negatively affected by the anti-smoking law.

Robert A. Bryant

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