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There is no doubt that war is unfortunate, and often unnecessary. However, the people who have condemned the current war on Iraq have failed to see the bigger picture.

I believe that the current war in Iraq is not only for the good, but is also a war that will change the lives of a people forever.

As most know, Dec. 15 was the Iraqi election day, which for most was the first time any of them had ever had a chance to vote for their leaders.

Before we liberated the persecuted Iraqis, the elections were somewhat swayed in the favor of an evil tyrant, Saddam Hussein. Saddam, like most of the world's historical murderers, did not earn his power with a political voice, but instead with an iron fist and bullet to the head.

If fighting in Europe during WWII was a good reason to fight, then I say that fighting in Iraq now is more than a worthy reason to fight.

People are people, no matter what race they are. Jews, Gypsies or Iraqis, it makes no difference to me, and I know it doesn't to our soldiers.

President Bush took a big risk putting his name on the line to help free a people oppressed for years. He is a man who should be thanked, just as much as our soldiers defending the freedoms of the Iraqi people.

These pointless vendettas to bash his good name only make the people look selfish and foolish. If giving a people freedom is a crime, kill me now, because I will have no part of the selfishness.

Jonathan Braker

Roanoke

Let's not overlook anyone's holidays

In answer to the gentleman complaining about Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas:

I am a Christian and I love Christmas above all other holidays. Please remember the other holidays at this time of year. Our Jewish friends have festivities at this time and also an African holiday is celebrated soon.

We are a wonderful mix of people in a wonderful country. The most beautiful country in the world.

I do thank God that I was born in America where we are all equal and free.

Loka Greenleaf

Normal

Christ will eliminate 'mess' in this world

Once again, Bill Flick has used the word "Christmess" in the headline to his column (Dec. 11). Well, it is the world that is a "mess."

It is the Christ of Christmas that is one day going to return to this Earth and straighten out the "mess" this world is in.

It is the Christ of Christmas that is the Prince of Peace. Thanks be to God. Merry Christmas.

Betty L. Thomas

Rural Heyworth

McLean County sheriff

If you wanted advice about an odd sound coming from the engine of your car, would you not consult a trusted mechanic? So if you are looking for information about who is the best candidate for the office of McLean County sheriff, who better to ask than a McLean County sheriff's deputy?

I have known and worked with both candidates for more than 20 years now and in my opinion, Lt. Mike Essig is the only choice for our next sheriff.

Anyone who can read an Internet Web site already knows the obvious about each candidate, so I won't bore you with what you have already seen or read.

I can describe Lt. Mike Essig with three words - trust, loyalty and respect. These are traits that do not simply follow a man because he has a dedicated career, they are all earned.

Lt. Mike Essig has not only earned the trust, loyalty and respect of his co-workers, but continues to work, shoulder-to-shoulder, with us on a daily basis. Lt. Mike Essig is a proven leader in every sense of the word!

Chances are Mike Essig was the deputy you passed on a traffic stop driving home from work last week or was that second squad car rushing to a domestic dispute in your neighborhood.

He is also the same man that continues to attend your village board meetings or you have voiced a concern to about an incident at your child's school.

Lt. Mike Essig continues to help protect our families and has the knowledge, training and experience needed, not only on the street, but at the administrative level as well.

I encourage the voters of McLean County to join me in supporting Lt. Mike Essig as our next McLean County sheriff.

Sgt. Carl Boyd

Bloomington

The writer is second shift watch commander, McLean County Sheriff's Police.

Fischer a dedicated advocate for veterans

I was saddened by the recent death of Gary Fischer of Carlock; he was 59 years of age.

For the past 20 years, Gary served as a veterans administration counselor at the Peoria vets center in Peoria. He was a dedicated advocate of the veterans he provided for.

An Army Vietnam veteran himself, Gary frequently spent hours driving several miles, often at his own expense, to assist the many veterans who required his expertise.

I believe I speak for scores of fellow veterans in my assertion that our country is in dire need of more men like Gary. He will be remembered and missed by those whose lives he touched in his years of commitment to their cause as well as their needs.

Daniel M. FitzGerald

Normal

McLean County sheriff

I am pleased to hear that Mike Emery is a candidate for sheriff of McLean County in the 2006 election. I am excited for Mike and his family as well as the citizens of the county he serves.

In my 31 years of law enforcement service, one of the highlights was my attendance at the FBI National Academy, 186th Session in 1996. One of the main reasons it was so enjoyable was meeting Mike Emery and having him as a roommate for those 11 weeks.

During that time I made some observations that I would like to share with the voters of McLean County.

Mike is a consummate professional in the way he approached the educational and physical aspects of the academy. He always represented the McLean County Sheriff's Department in the best light and it was obvious that he cared deeply for that organization.

It was also clear that Mike was committed to his family and was able to keep that in the proper balance with his work obligations.

Mike has a tremendous amount and variety of experiences in the sheriff's department that will serve the citizens and the sheriff's employees well into the future. I also know that with his interpersonal skills, the law enforcement community will benefit from having Mike as sheriff.

Martin A. Ryan

Sacramento, Calif.

The writer is chief, California Bureau of Investigation.

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