"I'm sick of the phony, ethnically contrived SODO MOJO guise everybody here sports like it's the latest fucking fashion."

TRADE IDEALISM FOR REALISM, PLEASE

As always, Geov Parrish raises important points in his article ["Peace Trouble," Oct. 11], including some that no other journalists will touch. This is a time for anger, fear, and hope. But sadly, it's also the end of the road for idealism. Geov's idealistic approach to the problems of this war, while undoubtably noble, are also hopelessly naive and misplaced. Our enemies are not trying to bargain with us, influence popular opinion, or achieve some political end. The radical Muslims of Central Asia are seeking the destruction of America, and are using mass murder to achieve this end. Demanding that "all governments act in ways that promote . . . freedom, democracy, economic opportunity, and religious tolerance" may seem possible from the perspective of a left-leaning American tabloid. But it simply won't wash with millions of isolated people for whom government has failed and whose realm of experience is so narrow and brutal that murder is the only form of political expression.

Likewise with Geov's notion that the U.N. or World Court could try the culprits in a court of international law. The trend toward institutionalizing war-crimes tribunals has done as little to stop war crimes as the Geneva Convention has to stop the atrocities of the Iraqi, Serbian, or Cambodian militaries.

Tragically, the situation in the Islamic world has deteriorated to a point where liberal internationalism is useless, no matter how well intentioned. The only policy we can rely on now is balance-of-power, achieved through the ugly means of fear and intimidation. If America is to stop the killing of our citizens and reclaim our precious security, we must be serious about it—serious enough to use deadly force.

Joshua Okrent

Seattle

SORRY 'BOUT THE CIGS

I must thank Predrag Dragosavac for enlightening us on how unpleasant it was for the liberal opposition in Serbia to endure the 1999 NATO bombing campaign ["Under the Bombs," Oct. 11]. Just think, they had to face the risk of arrest and the draft—all without the aid of gasoline, cigarettes or showers!

So what were we doing bombing poor little Serbia, anyway? Oh yeah, the Serbian government was killing thousands of ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo and forcing hundreds of thousands more to flee for their lives. The U.S. put its own soldiers at risk in order to save innocent lives. But you wouldn't know that from Predrag's trenchant analysis. Nowhere do the inhabitants of Kosovo even rate a mention. Apparently they were less worthy of note than the fact that the wartime sex in Belgrade was great.

When he claims the bombing failed to achieve its goals, Predrag does not even consider whether stopping ethnic cleansing and saving innumerable lives in Kovoso [was] worth depriving him of electricity for a few weeks. Today Slobodan Milosevic sits in prison at the Hague. Predrag thinks Milosevic's fall had nothing to do with the sanctions and military actions [but was] about Milosevic "losing his sense of reality" (like he ever had one?) and the courage of opposition Serbs in finally [voting] for someone else. Never mind that the opposition had been unable to oust Milosevic through 12 years of brutal misrule, until the NATO campaign forced Serbs to face the consequences of his aggression.

The humanitarian intervention in Kosovo was one of this country's finest hours. By stopping that genocide, we did more to advance the cause of peace than a thousand self-satisfied articles on the "horrors" of war.

Dean Falvy

Seattle

DAFFY FOR DOWNEY!

I enjoyed Roger Downey's "In-sufi-cient" [Oct. 11] for its sharp wit and terrific prose. However, as someone who writes about poetry and publishing, I especially appreciated Downey's insight. I don't know if it's the maniacal Beowulf-o-mania launched by Seamus Heaney's best-selling translation or what, but the hasty repackaging of poets such as Rumi in mediocre or even fraudulent translations, as Downey describes, is a growing worry in a business gone daffy with capitalism and on constant alert for an unplumbed niche. The work of Rumi, which has grown wildy popular amongst college students lately, has proven particularly susceptible to this shoddy treatment; a new generation is getting to know an important poet via copies that have been Xeroxed once too often. Downey is to be commended for letting them know.

Dennis Loy Johnson

Editor, MobyLives.com

New York

SPREADING SOUL

In his review of The Soul of Rumi ["In-sufi-cient," Oct 11], Roger Downey seems to imply that Coleman Barks is an opportunist cashing in on the Rumi craze.

Barks was charged with bringing Rumi to a wider audience by the late Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a prominent spiritual teacher. In some circles, this kind of assignment is not taken lightly. Whether or not one "likes" Mr. Barks' translations (or Rumi's poetry at all, for that matter), one must concede that Mr. Barks has succeeded. Rumi has something important to say to us today, and we can thank Coleman Barks for shining a little light on him.

One thing that can be apprehended in the translations of Rumi is the personality and predisposition of the translator/ interpreter. Even so, an authentic voice that is always Rumi never fails to shine through, however brightly or dimly. Perhaps this is because Rumi wasn't laboring to be a great writer or to impress an audience. Rather he was struggling in a thousand ways to say one thing so simple that it can take a lifetime to say, or a lifetime to hear.

Michael R. Bristow

Seattle

ENOUGH ALREADY!

I have a simple answer for Richard A. Martin as to why the rest of the baseball-loving world gives absolutely no respect to the Seattle Mariners ["World Series or Bust?" Oct. 11]. They haven't earned it. Not yet.

Before this winning season, the Mariners were known as the team to choke at the 11th hour, when it really counts. Everybody in the sports industry pretty much figures, same ole story this time.

Even me.

There's a more shallow reason I am rooting for the Mariners' downfall. I'm sick of the phony, ethnically contrived SODO MOJO guise everybody here sports like it's the latest fucking fashion. All of a sudden it's hip to be a Mariners fan, not because you like baseball, but because:

A) The team's winning! Nobody likes a loser.

B) Everybody else is a Mariners fan.

C) Wouldn't wanna be left out of the latest trend, right?

Worst of all, local TV news anchors and reporters act like cheerleaders instead of professionals, fairly coming all over themselves with glee or agony, depending on the score of the current Mariners game. Um, excuse me for being a stickler to journalistic integrity, but aren't the sports updates usually at the tail end of the half-hour news, not peppered in the beginning, middle, end, and in promos prior to?! How about covering the full impact of the recent anthrax discoveries in Microsoft's Reno subsidiary [or] giving a more detailed blow-by-blow of the peace and pro-American rallies set in downtown Seattle? Instead, they skim over much of this in favor of minutiae about the Mariners: what underwear Ichiro is wearing, when the next bob-head baseball doll will be passed out, what are the chances for a no-hitter in the next round of games, blah blah blah blah.

So yeah. FUCK THE MARINERS and all their phony horseshit. Maybe if they tank in the end, the media here will concentrate on more important issues in a more timely manner. Not that they ever did before, but. . . .

Carol Banks Weber

Lynnwood

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