Volume XIV Issue XVII The Ogden Valley news Page 3 June 15, 2007 Letters to the Editor U.S. Troops Not Being Sufficiently Protected that showed that over 300 soldiers’ lives might have been spared had they been wearing a more superior body armor. Yes, lives are lost in war, that’s a given, but we do not need to lose as many. Our troops should have the best protection. A bill was recently signed by Congress for 22 billion of our tax dollars to go toward non-military Iraq use, while nothing was appropriated for improving our troops’ armor. A Marine from Egan MN died in April from a bullet going through a weak spot in the IBA. An Army Sergeant from Virginia died from a sniper’s bullet going through an area with no armor. How many more have to die needlessly? An “information paper” that was NOT printed on official Army letterhead, and that had no signature, circulated around Congress and the U.S. Senate stating that the Dragon Skin is inferior to IBA. Once again, no letterhead, signature, or telephone or address of origin was found on this paper! Even so, several of our Representatives continue to quote this undocumented information. There is a rebuttal from Pinnacles Dragon Skin that is readily available to our representatives in Washington. Congress is starting to investigate the body armor contract and how it was tested, but your Congressman and Senator will work faster with your encouragement. Please call/write/e-mail your Congressman and Senator to initiate the investigation for Dragon Skin body armor. Also, ask to have the “Safety of Use Message” rescinded. If it is, then the soldiers would be able to wear privately purchased body armor, which several could wear until two weeks ago. This would occur faster than getting a bill passed to cover the expense of purchasing the improved body armor. I am writing because our Army and Marines need our help. I am not used to writing to newspapers but I am desperate for everyone to know that our government is not protecting our troops to their fullest potential. Please help in this fight to improve the protection of our troops. Men and women are dieing needlessly every day due to inferior body armor they are ordered to wear. This is not a Republican versus Democrat issue; it is a life and death issue. Every day we wait, more soldiers needlessly die or become injured. There is a debate starting regarding the U.S. Army’s testing and comparison of Pinnacle Armor’s “Dragon Skin” body armor and Interceptor Body Armor (IBA). IBA is currently used by the Army and Marines. Even with all the data and media coming out claiming that the Dragon Skin body armor is believed to be superior armor, the Army issued a “Safety of Use Message” that specified only IBA would be used. If the soldiers wear the Dragon Skin, it is in violation of a direct order and could jeopardize Service Benefits to the soldiers, or to their families if they are killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The U.S. Air Force, CIA, NSA, U.S. Dept. of Energy officials in Iraq, and Special Forces are allowed to wear Dragon Skin. A Colonel, who was a former project manager for the Soldier Equipment under PEO-SOLDIER from 2003 until he retired in the summer of 2006, is currently the V.P. of the Aerospace and Defense Group of Armor Holdings, one of the principal manufacturers of the IBA! Recently, there have been articles in LeeAnn Kuhnley, the Washington Post and New York Times Huntsville Swimming Lessons For more information, call Kathy Allen at 745-2709. The Tragedy of the Commons— Abroad . . . and at home resources—millions of Africans continue By Shanna Francis Ogden Valley News I recently finished reading a fascinating book titled “Unbowed” by Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. Born in a rural village in Kenya in 1940, Maathai recounts in her autobiography the transition of a healthy landscape that supported and nourished the varied African tribes who lived for hundreds and hundreds of generations in concert with the land. But under British colonization, this all began to change as she witnessed firsthand the degradation of her native lands and forests as natural habitat was plowed under to make way for vast tea and coffee plantations, and housing projects to support the massive influx of immigrants encouraged to settle in Africa. Eventually, the rivers dried up as noble trees were cleared, trees like the ancient fig whose roots pry open crevices in the earth whereby springs rise up and combine to form channels and rivers that support a broad, intricate ecosystem upon the land. With clear cutting, these vital and life giving springs and waterways dried up, contributing to massive droughts that followed with the expansive elimination of vital habitat that had once provided and supported a diverse and ecological balanced environment that, in turn, had supported the peoples of Africa for thousands of years. Within a few decades, starvation, malnourishment, cultural diversity, and tribal sustainability had all but vanished. Today, in its place, millions of dollars are pumped into east Africa via nation states, international organizations, non-profit organizations, and even individual volunteers and philanthropists. Despite their best efforts and millions—even billions of dollars in to starve to death or live with constant malnourishment each year, unable to care for themselves upon the land that once allowed them to thrive. This has become an all too familiar picture in a modern industrial world, not only in Africa, but in many other countries. Haiti is another prime example. What is happening in our own backyard? Studying modern political theory, one learns about the “Tragedy of the Commons,” a model that helps analysts identify social and political incentives and actions. Much of man’s world is treated as a “commons” wherein individuals have the right to freely consume its resources and return their wastes. The “logic of the commons” can eventually produce its ruin as well as the demise of those who depend upon it for survival. The commons relationship between people and their environment was noted by Garrett Harding in a 1968 paper published in the journal “Science.” Fourteenth century Britain was organized as a loosely aligned collection of villages, each with a common pasture for villagers to graze horses, cattle and sheep. Each household attempted to gain wealth by putting as many animals on the commons as it could afford. As the village grew in size and more and more animals were placed on the commons, overgrazing ruined the pasture. Eventually, no stock could be supported on the commons. As a consequence of population growth, greed, and the logic of the commons, village after village collapsed. In contrast, if every stockholder would have used restraint and used the commons equitably in an agreement with his neighbor, the property could have sustained the villagers indefinitely. TRAGEDY cont. on page 17 Valley Market’s 3rd Annual Customer Appreciation Breakfast is June 16 in the parking lot from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. Free breakfast and drawings for lots of great prizes!