Roses and Raspberries
EDITORIAL

Roses and Raspberries

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ROSE (roz) n. One of the most beautiful of all flowers, a symbol of fragrance and loveliness. Often given as a sign of appreciation.

RASPBERRY (raz’ber’e) n. A sharp, scornful comment, criticism or rebuke; a derisive, splatting noise, often called the Bronx cheer.

We hereby deliver:

RASPBERRIES to traffic deaths. As reporter Kyle Odegard observed in our Friday editions, the year has gotten off to a tragic start with a rash of serious traffic crashes around the mid-valley, including five that have resulted in fatalities.

Here is the roll call of the dead:

On the first day of the new year, Alejandro Garcia, 55, was walking across the Santiam Highway at Waverly Drive in Albany when he was hit by a motorist and fatally injured.

Trevor Gabriel Lincoln, 35, of Lebanon died of injuries sustained in a three-vehicle crash Jan. 2 on the Santiam Highway at Goldfish Farm Road in Albany.

Tanner James Jewell, 20, of Sweet Home died Jan. 3 when the pickup he was riding in went off Highway 20 and crashed into a tree just west of the Benton County line near Burnt Woods.

On Tuesday night, former Corvallis City Councilor Joel Hirsch, 61, died in a single-vehicle crash on Riverside Drive near Albany.

And on Thursday night, Rhianna Daniel, 11, died of injuries sustained when she was struck by a motorist on Wednesday while using a crosswalk on South Third Street in Corvallis.

It’s not always easy to sort through all the factors that may have been involved in a fatal crash, but with the new year less than two weeks old, we can all resolve to be more careful and attentive when we get behind the wheel. And we can urge our elected officials to do more to make our streets and highways safer for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

RASPBERRIES to President Trump’s reckless and irresponsible brinksmanship in the Middle East.

It may well be, as the president insists, that Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force, was a ruthless terrorist guilty of killing hundreds of Americans over the years. But he was also a revered figure in Iran, and his Jan. 2 killing – considered but rejected by previous administrations – has sparked a dangerous and destabilizing wave of reaction that runs counter to American interests in the Middle East.

Millions of Iranians took to the streets chanting “Death to America,” uniting behind a government that had previously been the target of massive pro-democracy protests. Pro-Iranian forces within Iraq, which should be an important U.S. ally in the region, seized the opportunity to incite a parliamentary vote demanding that all American forces leave the country. And Iran, in the midst of its face-saving but bloodless retaliatory missile attack against U.S. bases in Iraq, apparently mistook a civilian airliner for a military threat and shot it down, killing all 176 people aboard.

Given the impeachment proceedings against Trump, it’s impossible to dismiss the claim made by his detractors that the Soleimani assassination was nothing but a cynical attempt to divert the public’s attention. Similar claims were made, not without justification, against Bill Clinton when he launched a 1998 rocket attack against terrorist targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in the midst of his own impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

And given the volatility of the Middle East, it’s impossible to dismiss the potential of President Trump’s impetuous acts to drag the country into a bloody conflict with Iran.

ROSES to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, who used a Jan. 4 town hall meeting at Linus Pauling Middle School in Corvallis to demand that Congress act to rein in President Trump’s warlike posturing in the Middle East and elsewhere. Other members of Oregon’s congressional delegation, including Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Peter DeFazio, have made similar demands.

As commander in chief, the president needs to be able to act decisively to protect American lives and vital U.S. interests. But war is far too consequential an undertaking to be left to the whims of a single individual. That consideration that was clearly in the minds of our nation’s founders when they drafted the Constitution, vesting the power to declare war with Congress.

Under the War Powers Act of 1973, the president is required to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing troops and to obtain congressional authorization to keep troops in the field for more than 60 days.

Before hurling any more threats on Twitter or taking provocative steps such as assassinating foreign generals, the president should go before Congress to make the case for authorizing the use of American military might.

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