New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 17, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Sunday, April 17, 2011
AP News Analysis
Libya tests the limits of NATO
By Robert Burns
AP National Security Writer
President Barack Obama's insistence that NATO, not the U.S., take the lead in attacking Moammar Gadhafi’s military is exposing a hard tmth about an alliance that never before fought an air campaign with the U.S. in a back seat. Even against an enemy as weak as Libya, NATO needs the backbone of I I S, might to fight effectively.
It's not a matter of NATO’s 27 non-U.S. member countries having too few combat aircraft, pilots or bombs. The problem instead is that while some, such as France and Britain, are willing to participate fully, others have limited their roles to noncombat action, and still others have decided not to participate militarily at all.
All have grown accustomed to a far different alignment — one in which the U.S. leads the way and bears the bulk of the combat burden. That’s not a surprise, given that NATO was created in 1949 as a U.S.-led bulwark against the threat of an invasion of western Europe by the former Soviet Union. Libya was supposed to be different.
In his March 28 speech explaining the mission to the American public, Obama described Libya as an instructive example of a problem that does not directly threaten American security. That means that while the U.S. should help protect civilians there, it should not have to bear the burden on its own, Obama said.
At the time of his speech, NATO had just announced the decision to assume full responsibility for commanding the Libya operation, with the U.S. providing support such as flying most of the aircraft that provide surveillance and reconnaissance ol the battlefield, as well as flying planes to refuel NAT O jets.
But how effective has it turned out to be, with a reduced American role?
(iadhafi has not been stopped from pressing the fight against Misrata — the only major city in the western part of 1 jbya that is partially held by rebels nor have NAIO jets succeeded in rolling back those Gadhafi forces that threatened the eastern city of Ajdabiya.
In a stark ackni)vvJv%lgL‘nieot.tl^tJSATQ has fallen, short, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday accused the I jbyan strongmans forces of “renewed atrocities." She issued a statement describing indiscriminate firing of mortar and artillery into residential areas of Misrata, charging that the regime was laying siege to the I ibyan people in an apparent attempt to starve them into submission.”
She also said pro-(Iadhafi snipers have targeted civilians seeking medical attention, and thousands of civilians have been forced out of their homes by regime attacks with tanks and artillery.
Rebel hopes for a military victory have faded amid pleas for a more aggressive NATO and U.S. air campaign, and even some NATO allies are complaining about a half-hearted effort. Some of the alliance members are sniping at one another, and some are laying blame for the military stalemate at the U.S. doorstep.
1 Ians Binnendijk, vice president for research at the National Defense University and a leading U.S. authority on NATO, said ”... it may well be a sobering lesson for the Europeans to recognize that it is very hard for them to do these operations without the United States.”
Obamas decision to withdraw from offensive air operations earlier this month was a calculated gamble that the Europeans, with help from Canada and non-NAIO members Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, could accomplish the mission of protecting I jbya civilians without U.S. combat power. Ihey may yet succeed, but what has become clear in recent days is that it probably will take longer than if the U.S. had stayed at the forefront.
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The emperor has no clothes
Doug Tbrwy is editor and publisher of the Herald-Zeitung.
This past Thursday, after city attorney Alan Way-land was quoted in the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung saying: “The city is like the king. We can only he sued if we agreed to be sued...,” a whirlwind of emails, text messages and phone calls started soon after the newspapers hit readers’ front yards.
Citizens were expressing frustration and elected officials were trying to distance themselves from the comment.
Wayland’s quote was in an article about the city’s effort to appeal a court ruling that allows a lawsuit against the city to proceed. Wayiand*§ choice of words was certainly unfor-tunate for him, but to many in the community the comment reflected the general attitude at city hall.
On Friday, the Herald-Zeitung published a statement from Mayor Bruce Boyer, who tried to assure residents that the city attorney's comments did not reflect the opinion of the mayor or other council
Wayland’s comments might reflect nothing other than he needs to find a better way to explain how and from where the concept of governmental sovereign immunity originated.
But rather than getting riled up over a possibly symbolic foot-in-mouth incident, residents should be asking themselves who is really responsible for the controversy rising like floodwaters over the “wall” being built by Schlitterbahn along the Comal River.
And let’s get this out of the way: The culprit in this controversy is not Schlitterbahn.
Here are 10 points to consider:
1. On June 9,2010, New Braunfels flooded again.
2. After the flooding, the city manager, after some prodding from the Herald-Zeitung, called special public meetings so citizens could directly question him, city engineers and planners about the flooding. Council members attended, but they were there mostly to listen.
3. Hundreds of citizens attended the meetings. In fact, so many people attended a meeting at the library that a fourth meeting
had to be scheduled.
4. City staff appeared to agree, after what could be described as some very emotional questioning from citizens, that the city’s drainage regulations, which are based on a 100-year-flood threshold, are inadequate.
5. After those meetings, the Herald-Zeitung editorialized that a moratorium on development should be declared until the standards in the drainage ordinances could be written to ensure that the homes of existing residents could be provided the regulatory protection they deserve. Could council have amended the existing drainage ordinances to reflect a 500-year-flood event as the temporary criteria for development until a permanent solution could be drafted?
6. City Manager Mike Morrison and city council, rather than pass a moratorium or taking immediate action to toughen the regulations on future development, decided to hire a consulting firm to study the issue. A North Carolina company was hired, with a “restriction” that the study could not cost more than $250,000.
7. Ten months after another devastating flood and more than six months after what was an apparent consensus among the citizens, the city manager, city staff and city council that the city's No. 1 priority should be resolving the development-related flooding issue, council has taken no direct action to toughen the regulations.
8. Schlitterbahn’s current project meets all the development requirements of the existing regulations, and the waterpark company paid for an engineering study that reported that the wall might actually help the movement of floodwaters during a 100-year-flood event.
9. But what about a “500-year” flood? How many “500-year” floods has this city endured?
10. Once city staff told concerned neighbors at an April 7 meeting that Schlitterbahn had met all the city’s 100-year flood requirements, neighbors and other residents should recognize that if any flooding problems become enhanced or created by this project, the responsibility for the damage falls squarely on the city manager and the city council, not on Schlitterbahn.
When will the city manager, city engineers and city council actually take steps to protect property from flooding created by under-regulated development?
How many more floods, or consultants, will it take?
Maybe it is good to be king, but good for whom?
United States Government
■ Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D C. 20500
■ Kay Bailey Hutchison
Russell Senate Office Building Room 284
Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224 0776 Web: http://hutchison.senate.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.)
SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:
145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753
■ John Cornyn
Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: http://cornyn.senate.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.)
221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701
Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020
SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:
600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569
■ Lamar Smith
Rayburn House Office
Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web address:
http://lamarsmith.house.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.)
SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:
1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947
■ Henry Cuellar
1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address: http://www.house.gov/cuellar
SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:
615 E. Houston St.
San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671
HOW TO CONTACT
Letters to the Editor
Decision to end contract was not due to a lack of expertise
In response to comments made this week from the City Parks & Recreation Department, I find I need to correct a couple of issues that concern the landscape contract on the Walnut Road expansion project between County Line Road and Klein Road.
Universal Landscape Services and the City of New Braunfels came to a mutual agreement that the project was plagued with irrigation problems. If the problems would have been common, i.e. lateral line leaks or spray heads broken, the project would have continued.
The serious problems with the irrigation was 3-feet underground, under the pavement. Neither the city nor Universal Landscape Services could have recognized this until the system was charged fully. Once the system had a chance to run for a length of time, then the main line connections started coming apart under the pavement.
Universal replaced 550 feet of pipe under the pavement with the correct pipe and fittings and never disturbed the pavement.
Once that was repaired, it happened again at the other end of the boulevard and possibly a third time has happened now.
As the owner of Universal Landscape Services, I deemed it foolish to go any further without major upgrades to the system. It had become a financial issue, not the lack of expertise of Universal Landscape Services that stopped the project, as was stated by New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Director, Stacey Laird-Dicke.
Universal Landscape Services suggested the route to take and has the knowledge and capability to upgrade the system.
It was a financial decision to stop. The City of New Braunfels is looking at alternatives to remedy the problems.
Make note that Universal Landscape Services did not install the original irrigation system.
1 am proud of my company’s work on the rock beds, curbing, and paver areas.
I would have been just as proud of the finished boulevard.
John E. Guthrie New Braunfels
Why put corporate rights over the rights of the individual?
In his letter, Bill Jones is right that government protection diminishes our freedom, but is the freedom of a company to pollute the soil, water and air more important than the freedom of the local citizens to breathe clean air and drink clean water?
I’m quite sure that the former residents of Love Canal in Niagra Falls, N.Y. feel that their freedom to be safe from toxic materials outranks a corporation's freedom to dump it.
After all, Hooker Chemical secretly buried toxic waste that then polluted the land and water so badly that it forced residents to evacuate.
New York State Health Department
Commissioner David Axelrod stated that Love Canal would long be remembered as a “national symbol of a failure to exercise a sense of concern for future generations.”
I doubt the families of the miners who died in the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine think Massey energy should continue to be free to risk the lives of miners.
I doubt that the employees of Enron whose 40Iks were invested in the company's stock think they shouldn't have been protected from their CEO’s manipulation of stock values.
Banks risked their client’s money in casino-iike gambles on bad assets crashing our economy in 2008 putting million 5 of Americans out of work.
We're still reeling from the effects as Texas is about to slash funding for education.
History shows time and again that strong regulation protects Americans and keeps our economy healthy.
Melissa Dufresne Cibolo
■ Rick Perry
State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin 78711
Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849
■ Doug Miller
EXT E1.216 RO. Box 2910 Austin TX 78768-2910 Telephone: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512)463-5896
■ John Kuempel
Rm. CAP 3N.06 Austin TX 78701 Telephone: (512) 463-0602
■ Jeff Wentworth
1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 925 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: 888-824-6984 E-mail address: [email protected]
NEW BRAUNFELS CITY COUNCIL
424 S. Castell Ave.
P.O. Box 311747,
New Braunfels, TX 78131-1747
■ Mayor Bruce Boyer bboyer@ nbtexas.org Telephone: Extension 4507
■ Dist. 1 Councilor Richard Zapata [email protected]
Telephone: Extension 4501
■ Dist. 2 Councilor Mark Goodner mgoodner@ nbtexas.org Telephone: Extension 4502
■ Dist. 3 Councilor Mike Ybarra [email protected]
Telephone: Extension 4503
■ Dist. 4 Councilor Sandy Nolte [email protected]
Telephone: Extension 4504
■ Dist. 6 Councilor Kathleen Krueger kkrueger @ nbtexas.org Telephone: Extension 4505
■ Dist. 6 Councilor Steven Digges [email protected]
Telephone: Extensi o n 4506
Comal County Commi8aionera' Court 199 Main Plaza, New Braunfels (830) 221-1100
■ COUNTY JUDGE SHERMAN KRAUSE [email protected]
Telephone: (830) 221-1105
■ PCT. 1 COMMISSIONER DONNA ECCLESON [email protected]
Telephone: (830) 221-1101
■ PCT. 2 COMMISSIONER SCOn HAAG
Telephone: (830) 221-1102
■ PCT. 3 COMMISSIONER GREG PARKER [email protected]
Telephone: (830) 221-1103
■ PCT. 4 COMMISSIONER JAN KENNADY [email protected]
Telephone: (830) 221-1104