In your editorial of 12/15/01 you mention Sen. Feingold being the only senator to oppose the terror bill and point out that Sen. Daschle opposed Feingold's attempts to remove its more objectionable provisions. Later, in the same editorial, you call for a united front of the left and warn Greens that by giving up the dream they perhaps can restore populist ideals to the Democratic Party or they can help the GOP achieve plurality status if they don't.
The Progressive Populist seems to be in full retreat. The Greens believe that the DP is no longer a part of the left (if they ever were). Occasionally, a congresswomen (Lee) or a senator (Feingold) will stand up, but more than ever, as they retreat from the attack of the Bush Leaguers, the DP becomes indistinguishable from their RP comrades. Isn't it the conservative Rep. Bob Barr who is now leading the fight against the attack on the Bill of Rights?
New York City
M.W. Guzy ["We're All In This Together," 11/15/01 PP] seems to be deficient in command of the facts. He derides the wisdom of "if you want peace, work for justice," by claiming that the United States has already demonstrated its propensity for justice in the trial of previous World Trade Center terrorists. He appears to be unaware of the continuing injustice of the deaths of nearly one million Iraqi children in the past decade due directly to US-imposed sanctions on that country, or the injustice of Israel's ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands, made possible with US money, weapons and clout. Has it occurred to him that those in the Muslim world who consider Osama bin Laden and company heroes might feel, as he does, that certain entities (such as the leadership of the US) understand only the language of violence?
Guzy provides an off-the-wall quote from bin Laden to illustrate that he is not to be taken seriously or negotiated with. Well, bin Laden and his followers may be fanatical, but they certainly seem to be able to carry off a major terror operation (if indeed it it's they who are responsible -- no one at this point really knows for certain) against the world's pre-eminent superpower. Of course you don't negotiate with someone like bin Laden; you negotiate with those in the region who desire real democracy. The US has historically not done this, as countries run by dictators and despots are easier to control.
It is true, as Guzy maintains, that "our adversaries have no compunction about slaughtering unarmed non-combatants." It is also true that our allies, the Northern Alliance, lack exactly the same compunction and are considered among many in Afghanistan to be actually worse than the Taliban.
I hope the subject Guzy teaches is not history. Any competent history teacher must know that it has been US military policy since World War 11 to target civilians. Of course, it's not called "slaughtering unarmed non-combatants;" it's euphemized with such terms as "strategic bombing," "soft target," "counterinsurgency," and the like. Former President Clinton achieved a new Orwellian low in this regard when he referred to his carpet-bombing of Yugoslavia (and, oops, Bulgaria and the Adriatic Sea) as "humanitarian bombings."
People like Guzy talk as if the US had been pursuing some sort of pacifist foreign policy, when exactly the opposite is true. And the peace movement has come under attack, as if the government actually listened to what peace mongers had to say! But as Dr. Michio Kaku, eminent physicist from the City University of New York, has pointed out, it wasn't the peace movement that supplied the mujahideen of Afghanistan with lavish amounts of money, arms and training in the 1980s. It was the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
It's time real justice was tried, but real justice will require real sacrifices, like the sacrifice of cheap" oil and US hegemony. Or we can continue with the barbaric old tactic of warfare, but let's not be too surprised at the next Ground Zero that will be the inevitable result.
M.W. Guzy agonizes over the difficulty of providing security since we can't know the terrorist's next move ["Measuring the Cost of Security," 12/1/01 PP]. He does, however end up with a solution. He recommends Israel's El Al airline and their heavy profiling of passengers. He also seems to be recommending Israel's counter terrorism "a process of bringing terror to the terrorist" bringing assassins to murder suspected terrorists even tho they occasionally kill the wrong guy. Maybe this is one of the problems of having an ex-cop for a columnist. Israel, for all its vaunted profiling and assassinations still has an incredibly high number of terrorist attacks. Perhaps a deeper look at Israel's situation might reveal the reasons for the enormous number of terrorist attacks that get worse each year rather than getting better. That might better help guide us to a policy of how to prevent future terrorist attacks.
In solidarity with European and Middle Eastern leaders in their opposition to any future military action against Iraq, please consider:
* President Bush has made menacing, if somewhat cryptic comments suggesting he will punish Iraq for rejecting calls for international weapons inspection.
* Pursuing military action against Iraq would almost certainly alienate US allies in the Middle East, at a time when it needs their cooperation more than ever.
* The long-term efficacy of the War on Terrorism will depend on intelligence gathering and effectively freezing terrorist assets in the Muslim world.
If the US tries to topple Iraq it risks losing its grip on terrorist activity elsewhere.
PHILIP H. COE
HR 2931 by US Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.) would allow churches to spend 25% of annual revenue for lobbying and 5% for donations to political candidates. HR 2357, the "Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act," introduced by US Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) would amend the tax code "to permit churches and other houses of worship to engage in political campaigns."
Both bills may come before Congress soon, possibly with no debate. Rich corporations, sheltered from taxes by their status as "churches," already fail to pay their fair share of the expense of police and fire protection and basic services: roads, schools, and courts. They want the power to influence public policy, a status forbidden to other nonprofit organizations. "Christian Voters' Guides" and influencing elections continue, even though that is illegal under current law. What excesses will they engage in if these two bills are made law?
"Compassionate Conservatives" in the US Congress want to grab our Social Security "lock box" money and the surplus carefully managed by eight years of the previous administration. All to pay for a vague "war against terrorism" which a previous administration had been able to deal with by diplomacy specifically ignored by the early Bush administration. Taliban Muslim extremists remind me so much of Our own religious extremists like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who blame the Sept. 11 attacks on a vengeful God, punishing America for allowing cultural diversity,
Tell your representatives to oppose these bills. KEEP CHURCH AND STATE SEPARATE!
Europe, America, and Japan have a combined population of 1.2 billion people or 20% of the world's population. They are known as the developed world or the industrialized world. That leaves 4.8 billion people in the Third World or the undeveloped world. Recently we talked to these 4.8 billion people and they all wanted to have living standards like ours. The people who think they know about these things say that if all the world had living standards like the 20% richies have then the planet would support three billion or half the present population. So the problem becomes how do you get the Third World to cut their populations in half. As long as boys come with hormones I doubt that it is possible.
Some aspiring people think that the only way for them to get to the top is by stepping on the dead bodies of timid people. A very few have learned that they can rise and bring the hands with them. If all of America is part of the world's top 20% cream then our own top 20% ruling class must be the whipping cream. If we recognize that we are part of the human race and would like to help other members of the human race then we could start by helping the Third World with their excessive birth rates. Instead our whipping cream encourages the Third World to smoke cigarettes to help our tobacco industry and to breed more to produce more unwanted children. With this help from us looks like they don't really need any enemies.
It's time to state once and forever that, to my knowledge, no dissident of George W. Bush's war has ever suggested that the Sept. 11 tragedy was justifiable retaliation for our past miserable foreign policy.
The antiwar activists have always insisted that there has never been good reason for killing the innocent, be they in New York, Washington, Pennsylvania or Afghanistan. Just as there is no valid rationale for one-person road-rage death, there is no valid rationale for wholesale slaughter whether induced by a hijacked commercial plane or by a sophisticated high-altitude American bomber.
What truth could be more clear that that? Instead, our moral standards have been twisted and branded to make a shell-shocked nation believe otherwise.
We have simply been the longtime messengers warning that American-induced terrorism cloaked in the guise of "national interest" and coupled with the "collateral damage" dismissal would someday return to haunt us.
Back in 1994, I wrote a letter to my local Watertown, N.Y., Daily Times listing seven of the many examples of our terrorist policy and ended by letter with this: "In these days of easy access, America has to learn this lesson fast: Do not use your own brand of terrorism for political or economic gain in the false belief that so-called 'acceptable' terrorism will remain a one-way street."
For my effort, I got the usual response from readers offering (again?) a one-way ticket to Libya, or Panama, or Cuba -- and more recently, of course, one-way to Afghanistan.
Guffin Bay, N.Y.
This morning I watched a little of the President's Council on Cancer on C-Span. I was struck by how much this little briefing contrasted with, for one, the national coverage of the president attending the Army-Navy football game. It is obvious which of the two this administration is more concerned with. The message is painfully clear. Ball games are very important; cancer is not so important. A previous Republican president told us that he had declared "War on Cancer." That was more than 25 years and countless individual and family stories of pain and suffering ago. Where are we now, two years to the day that my little brother Jay withered away, his tortured and shortened life to be marked only by a lonely headstone in a country cemetery? Why?
CHRIS LANE GRAY
Let's stop the "War Games" against "Terrorism," against Afghanistan! The "War" is a ploy of Bush and his American people, in particular those forces behind him fashioning his rhetoric, pulling his strings.
The distinguished American, Lewis Mumford, in Vol. 2 of The Myth of the Machine: The Pentagon of Power, 1964, warned, pp 126 ff: "We face a new predicament derived from this very economy of abundance; that of deprivation by surfeit."
We hoard and throw away; we flaunt our world trade practices. We covet and throw away our freedoms; in brief, as Pogo said: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
CHARLES T. GENAUX
You have to be struck by the veteran and fellow Teamster's appeal. "I fought for my country. Now I'm fighting for my job," on his home-made sign at the intersection of Dodge Street and Devon Drive in Dubuque, as their strike enters its third month.
There is a poignancy in this plea; it certainly begets thoughts of "why?" Why is this veteran and fellow Teamster in this sorry situation of this lengthy strike against Leath Furniture?
These Teamsters aren't asking for the moon, just a living wage for a job well done.
One questions our veterans fighting in past wars and our engagement in this one if the end result is American working people being treated like Third World peasants at contract negotiations. Many times have I heard the question, "Who won that war?" Any war?
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