The March 26 cover is a knockout. How in the world did you get former ER star Julianna Margulies to put on a green shawl and pose in prayer? Is she already starring in the inevitable TV movieIraqattaq?
Just a quick thank you to the Weekly for continually speaking out against the war in Iraq and our administration's current policies. Please don't stop. Columns by Knute Berger and Geov Parrish, along with a select few others (Jonathan Raban's article last week, "Letter From Seattle," was fabulous), give me hope that smart, thinking people know what's really going on, and they're not afraid to speak out. There are too many voices spouting the administration's rhetoric that haven't done their homework and perpetuate the propaganda. I'm also grateful that Philip Dawdy told the real story of what happened at the Saturday protest ["Crowd Control," March 26]. Our mayor and his police chief should be ashamed of themselves for the intimidating practices they executed and the amount of taxpayer dollars they spent to do so.
Thanks for a thought-provoking issue [March 26]. The special anti-war, pro-Iraq status quo, anti-Iraq liberation, pro-peace, anti-Bushwell, you get the ideaissue got me to thinking how the left might actually come to embrace the war. Here's how: PETA endorses the war after the Iraqi military slaughters U.S. Navy dolphins as they help clear mines; the ACLU gets on board as Saddam's executions of Iraqi civilians and soldiers refusing to fight the allies accelerate; the Sierra Club declares the war just since the regime blatantly flaunts international air-pollution treaties by lighting oil fires in trenches; NOW agrees war is the only way to stop a regime where rape squads are a tool of terror; GLAAD jumps on the bandwagon after learning being openly gay in Iraq means death (the group agrees that being dead is the ultimate form of discrimination and intolerance); and so on.
I wish these groups, and others, would stop with their simplistic Nickelodeon diplomacy peace arguments, which have all the intellectual firepower and coherence of a chirping bird.
RABAN & DEAN IN '04?
Thank you for running Jonathan Raban's excellent "Letter From Seattle" [March 26]. So little gives me hope these days on the political front, but Raban's article did. It gave me hope that the Guardian's readers in the U.K. would see that not all Americans are complicit supporters of the Bush administration and its chilling doctrine of pre-emption and misguided war in Iraq. Most of the people I know feel more closely aligned to Paris than D.C. these days. Raban's article made me proud of my hometown and intrigued by the prospect of Howard Dean's candidacy and the possibility of a kinder, gentler, and wiser U.S. president in the near future.
THE BACKWARD EAST
Thanks for reprinting "Letter From Seattle" [March 26]. As a regular reader of the Guardian on the Net, I have long thought that we can learn a lot from how others see us. Seattle is different from the East Coast. Our national politics and news media are all Eastern based. Listening to our politicians and watching or reading the news paints a picture of our country that is at odds with how local people see it.
Jonathan Raban confirms that it's not us who are nuts. It's the East Coast image, still suffering from post-traumatic syndrome following 9/11, that is out of whack.
RED DAWN REMEMBERED
I love Knute Berger's analogy to American actions in the movie Red Dawn [Mossback, "The Empire Falls Down," March 26]. I was a Navy intelligence specialist assigned to a Marine Expeditionary Unit in 1983-86. They showed that movie nonstop on board the Tarawa, and the Marines ate it up. I don't know why we (Americans) have such a difficult time looking at things from the other person's perspective. I served eight years in the Navy, under Reagan and Bush I. I disliked both men and despised their policies. However, I would never have considered throwing down my weapon (I didn't usually carry a weapon, but metaphorically speaking) and supporting a force invading the U.S. Saddam is the Iraqis' problem, and I'm sure they feel that they are best equipped to deal with it in their own way on their own timeline. Just as Bush II is our problem and we will deal with him on our own terms. This pervasive ignorance about the world around us, and the belief that we are morally superior, sets the stage for repeated tragedies such as the one we will watch unfold in Iraq.
The thesis of "Puget Sound's Conflict" [March 26] is that the Puget Sound depends on military spending. First, it would be much more useful to put the amount in contextlike $X of $Y was estimated to be war-related in 2002, or something like that. There is nothing worse than a sensational claim that doesn't put the numbers in context. Absolute numbers can look startling, but it's their context or ratio to other numbers that's relevant. Second, and more vexing, is the fact that Rick Anderson mentions Microsoft in the leadoff in this context: "Microsoft software [is used] to bomb and attack Iraqi troops and civilians." (Are they throwing the software boxes and discs at them?) I find it inexcusable that the article has no facts to back this up, either in specific software used or increased sales for Microsoft in units of product sold to the military. Rumsfeld and his posse surely use No. 2 pencils to sketch their world domination planwould Anderson write a similar article about No. 2 pencils in the hometown paper of the pencil company?
PARTY POOPER PARRISH
Geov Parrish berates the Seattle anti-war movement for summoning the "local faithful" to hear the "same tired speeches and the usual music" ["Ends and Means," March 26]. He suggests that nothing original occurred during the seven-day emergency response vigil, and that demonstrators left "the message-sending to the police." This doesn't jibe with what I saw.
There were creative signs and costumes. Veterans spoke movingly of their combat experiences. Young people brought vibrant energy, testimony, dancing, and drumming to the sterile Federal Building plaza. People met, shared food, built community, and discussed the next steps for the anti-war movement. Although the turnout wasn't huge, it was consistent, and a significant presence was maintained despite often-foul weather.
Sure, there's room for improvement, particularly in the realm of diversity, and we'd all like to see tens of thousands in the streets. But rather than dissing the efforts of others, why not work together to ensure that every anti-war action is as large, united, and effective as possible?
I hope that in the future Parrish will use his voice to support and encourage the anti-war movement, not to divide and demoralize it.
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