Regarding "Short memories" (Your Views, Sept. 1):
Wow! I read Walt Seely's comments with both intrigue and concern in his effort to try to link and place blame on everything negative related to the RNC — Hurricane Isaac, armed police, wire cages and a police state in Tampa — for the most part on Republicans, the Bush administration and specifically Condoleezza Rice.
Perhaps an explanation is due from the City of Tampa's leaders and politicians as to why they wanted the RNC to be held here and why they decided to turn Tampa into a police state. I trust their decisions were valid.
With regards to Rice, I, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and former senior intelligence officer, had the pleasure of serving with Dr. Rice on George H. W. Bush's National Security Council staff. She is without a doubt a tremendous individual, a valiant and honorable public servant, and one of our nation's foremost authorities on national security. Seely's attempt to denigrate her reputation, through guilt by association, is sad. His reference to "the worst presidential administration in American history" to further smear her reputation is equally shameful. I'm not familiar with any valid historical reference that has made that pronouncement, or anything close.
Furthermore, no one has blamed the cost of the war in Iraq on President Obama. Nor did the cost of the wars in either Iraq or Afghanistan (which the writer didn't mention) alone dump the country into the $16 trillion debt that has amassed, as Seely implies. Nevertheless, we need to keep in mind the last three years of the war in Iraq were under the oversight of the current administration, as have the past 44 months of the war in Afghanistan. Let history and the historians be the judge of the pros and cons of those conflicts, as well as the war on terror. Having served nearly 30 years as a practitioner of war, and having had a role in each of these undertakings, I understand the depth of our efforts. I will assess the facts as they are written and debated.
Finally, Seely conveniently suggests that he and other Americans were directly impacted by the implied effects of the war(s) from the standpoint of "… the secret prison camps, torture, wire-tapping, and the other shameful behavior." His references refer to the methods of extraordinary rendition, enhanced interrogation and the Patriot Act — which came about as extraordinary measures needed in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on United States and were necessary in order to get a grasp of the magnitude of al-Qaeda's efforts. They were not "dastardly" efforts, as he also seems to suggest, that Rice was a key player in.
I don't know what Seely's life involvement was when he writes he "had to deal with it all." I was serving in the Pentagon on 9/11 and spent the remainder of my career under the "shameful" Bush administration (again, as Seely implies), supporting our efforts and "dealing with it" so others might not be inconvenienced. If there is any shortness of memory or confusion, it seems to stem from Seely's own political bias and questionable sources of information.