9/11 Backlash: Your Letters
We want to hear from our readers. Please submit all letters to the editor through our feedback form , and remember to specify which article your letter is in response to. Letters may be edited for length.
This week you're responding to 9/11 conspiracies, what we lost after 9/11, Howie Rich's friends, Bush's canned rhetoric, California's universal health care, the false "war on terror", the effects of the Child Custody Protection Act, and both the folly and the wisdom of exporting democracy.
I think it's a very good summary, except that you don't sufficiently emphasize Dubya's indifference to terrorists before it became politically expedient. In fact, I'd say that the most likely form of “smoking gun” would be an explicit pre-9/11 discussion within Cheney's office about priorities that included terrorism. It's not just that Cheney (with possible concurrence of Rove) gave it low priority, but the possible reasons: "A terrorist attack could only help us politically, so we don't have to worry about it."
— — —
Finally, a dose of reality, re: the continued fascination of too many progressives/leftists/liberals with 9/11 conspiracy theories. When we lack power, as is currently all too obviously the case, it is tempting to attribute total power to others, to turn history itself into a conspiracy. I think this actually undercuts our ability to do what we should be doing, using our energies and our analyses to change (make) a different history.
I feel that almost all of the articles about responding to 9/11 miss the point completely regarding the most important fact.
The question is always whether attack on Osama or Iraq is the best method to use against global terror. This article goes a bit farther, but again leaves out the most important fact. Our country supports the wrong side in almost every uprising for a better life. We wring our hands about Darfur yet have spent billions building roads that are useless to the country in which they're built. Roads that serve only to truck the (insert product here&mdashcopper, oil, sugar, etc.) from the inland to the coast. We stomp all over the little fellow who works for pennies making Nikes. We give billions to regimes that murder their own citizens and that have not a shred of "democracy." Our history is made up of hundreds of such incidents, yet we never hear a peep out of the media. Little is written even in such "progressive" sites as TomPaine, TruthOut, Alternet , etc. Although I do really like getting info on certain topics from these sites, the terrorism coverage is empty without speaking of the elephant in the room.
Terrorism may not be stopped when everyone has health care and a job that will support his/her family. It'd be a great experiment to see if it would be. I'd bet that it would certainly make terrorism so much less powerful.
I understand that certain wealthy interests support Prop 90 in CA—that it may benefit them. However, here in Ohio, I would support such a law. A number of middleclass neighborhoods have been threatened or destroyed through imminent domain. Local governments wanted to "develop" areas that had lake frontage or some other prime real estate area as "economic incentive zones." Needless to say, it was wealthy companies that were going to benefit from government appropriations. These are laws we need.
Perhaps most telling, and disturbing, is Cheney's insistence on Sunday that if they had to do all over again they would do it exactly the same way. In other words, they have learned precisely nothing, and, in my view, never will.
Democratizing = White Man's Burden
"The Folly Of Exporting Democracy," by Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman, appeared to take the Bush administration's policy of "democratizing" the Middle East seriously, thereby giving a shabby tactic some credence. Perhaps a more realistic view is that Bush's 21st century "democratizing" is just another synonym for 18th/19th century British "civilizing," and for even earlier Spanish/Portuguese "spreading the true faith"; phrases that glorified the squalid act of conquering lands for the raw materials they harbored.
I am old enough to remember when Republicans were not focused solely on embryos.
I can recall when Catholics had their opinions about abortion and us Protestants (a quaint religion that was very popular during and after World War II) really didn't focus much on the issue at all.
When it did come up we usually defended the life of a mother over that of an embryo or early trimester unborn fetus.
We could not imagine that a woman would abort except for the most serious reason(s).
Abortion was illegal and messy—often causing the loss of life of the mother. Our hearts went out to the poor woman who could barely keep a roof over her head, who did the bidding of an alcoholic or abusive husband, and in desperation subjected her body to the perils of an illegal abortion.
We pitied the little 12 year old who was raped by her stepfather while her confused, ignorant mother denied that her husband could possibly impregnate her daughter. Those were bad times. With the decision of Roe v. Wade we believed that we were entering an enlightened era.
Now we know that we are regressing to a less enlightened time. The Republicans have used this issue to win election after election. Because of an ignorant electorate that cannot focus on the serious issues of our times, we are becoming more like post war Romania instead of the enlightened leader of the free world.
— — —
Thank you for your article. Although I consider an unborn child a person, I don't find it reasonable that I should insist everyone to consider the same. I think it is far more important to offer nurture and protection to mothers and children—something which our "every man for himself" society is notoriously bad at. While that would not eliminate all abortions, certainly, it would certainly prevent some and positively impact our culture as a whole.
What I disagree with, however, is your closing statement that it leaves all who would have helped helpless. It doesn't, really. It leaves us vulnerable to legal prosecution, of course, just as the Fugitive Slave Act punished those who actually risked themselves to aid a fellow human being. But we need to take a cold hard look at how easy it is for those of us who grew up in a setting that was mostly fair and safe and realize that injustice can always be addressed—if we develop the courage to be willing to pay whatever price is demanded. Justice, democracy, freedom itself requires us to act with courage.
Re: Stop Saying 'Single Payer'
How inspiring—let's stop using the term “single-payer.” What a plan! Trouble is, the plan doesn't work, since it’s been about 14 years (when was Clinton elected?) that most establishment Democratic pols did stop saying “single-payer,” and look where we've gotten. Indeed, they not only stopped using the term they stopped supporting a single-payer system. The bill that would establish such a system has 60 or so Democratic sponsors in the House and none(!)—not even Kennedy—in the Senate. When a pol says he/she supports single-payer they automatically get my support. But if they don't say the magic words, I know there's some weaseling going on.
— — —
The best way to get single-payer in the U.S. is to get Big Business and small businesses behind it.
It is the best thing that could happen to GM/Ford, airlines etc. Health care costs are one of the items making U.S. businesses less "competitive." Single-payer would REDUCE costs.
I expect Democrats to oppose this around 2010-2014, be greatly derided for it, business will eventually get behind it and then Republicans will do it in 2020 or 2024.
The moral position is to stay the hell out of other countries' governments! To "take a side" on the type of government is no better than taking a side in a "democratic" election. We don’t want China funding the Republican Party, we shouldn’t have the CIA picking the winner in votes all over the world but we do. We like democratic elections in part because we think we can control them even if we don’t say so and we do in small countries all over the world. No matter what U.S. statesmen say, they want their friends in power in foreign governments. If you don’t believe me, look at the fuss over who came to power in the Middle East. Do you think we aren’t working like mad to put our kind of guy in power in every country there?
The really stupid idea is that they are going to vote our way on their own. When we “help them” vote our favorite guy in, do you think that’s democracy?
This “the right government will save us" stuff is BS. The thing that will stop the bombers is what works everywhere: other opportunities. When Middle Eastern young men have a place to work and raise a family, you’ll see no more bombers. Democracy is not automatically going to usher in that opportunity.
I am a retired CIA operations officer, have lived most of my life overseas, speak several languages, and have better than room temperature IQ.
Your writing is offensive if not abrasive because you are unable to avoid 'attacking' rather than analyzing every subject you discuss. You write as if everything was either black of white when, in reality, there's a lot of grey out there. You oversimplify complicated issues and hand out solutions like antibiotics.
I will read your Iraq On The Brink and see if you managed to temper your vitriol in an earlier work. Sadly, your reputation precedes you although I approached your piece with an open mind; before I knew it I was clobbered with sarcastic, partisan remarks and snippy phrases as you knocked down those with whom you disagree like tenpins.
— — —
If the Democrats cannot use the material in this issue to defeat the Republicans, they are not trying.
— — —
The reason the Democrats can't mount any argument against the Bush wars is that they generally reflect the values of at least half the American public, namely, stupidity, functional illiteracy and vacuous gullibility.