Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

April 2, 2013

If Garrett County knows, why don’t we?

Side by side on March 28, your concerns about public information “Locked out: Press excluded from mayors’ meeting with Mikulski” (editorial) were featured on another level by columnist Gene Lyons’ “Lessons from shock and awe.”

On the 10th anniversary of the selling of the Iraq conflict to the American people, it is fitting that these two examples of governmental unwillingness to reveal the status of what is really behind the ‘official story’ are next to each other on same page.

The 10-year interval reminds us to remember that from City Hall to State House to the U.S. Senate, things have changed little in public right to know.

My pay grade as a U.S. Army Special Forces Officer with limited “psyops” experience was enough for me to perceive that this build up to war in Iraq was designed, not to beat the armed forces of Saddam Hussein, but to throw billions of non-bid contracts to re-build infrastructure before our forces entered the area.

No one wanted to know about the hatred between sects of the major faith groups, tensions between Kurds and Iraqi majority, nor how difficult it is to teach democracy through armed force.

Did anyone listen to Prof. Lyons’ warnings? “Shock and Awe” whipped their land forces in days.

Ten years and trillions of dollars later, it is still hard for people, even at city hall level to get facts they need to shape our own failing infrastructure which has been neglected while we learn again lessons which abound in history of the Middle East.

In the story of Sen. Barbara Milkulski’s meeting in Oakland (“Mikulski discusses issues with Garrett officials,” March 28 Times-News, Page 1B), we read that $100 million is available to dualize U.S. Route 220 from Grantsville to Mason-Dixon line.

Who has the answer to those building schedules announced at hearings 20 months ago?

Highway building funds are drained, according to what we hear from Annapolis. Do our legislators tell only certain officials the facts about these two or three miles of road work that has been urged for years by the Greater Cumberland Committee?

Our city has its name tagged on to costly promotion, lobbying and interstate jockeying to spend these before costs increase beyond estimates.

What do our District One legislators know about this job, and why have we been kept in the dark? Was this discussed at a closed meeting?

These are federal funds. However if Garrett County officials are “in the know” why all the locked doors in Cumberland.

It was the Greater Cumberland Committee that was pushing this job. Is not $100 million of road work stimulating to our economy?

Somebody knows. Tell us! If it is just a rumor or public relations stuff, tell us! Please!

Thomas F. Conlon

Cumberland

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