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Letters 12/4/03

Various - December 4th, 2003
The fight for freedom

This is in response to Jim Norgaard‘s 11/13 letter stating “the war on terrorism as it is being waged today will fail“ because “you cannot ultimately win through force and violence.“ I hear people repeating this sentiment over and over as if repetition will make it true. How do you explain that the force and violence in World War II followed by an enlightened reconstruction effort changed two of the most miltaristic societies in history into pacifistic democracies? You may also want to examine the little-publicized steps that many middle eastern despots are suddenly taking to show more respect for their citizens‘ input and opinions, now that the United States has taken action to free an enslaved people.
As far as the Bush administration needing to rely on “real“ and “equitable“ negotiations, I refer you to Charles Krauthammer‘s opinion piece in the Nov. 17 issue of Time Magazine. “Bill Clinton was the most accommodating, sensitive, multilateralist President one can imagine, and yet we know that al-Qaeda began planning for Sept. 11 precisely during his presidency... Bin Laden issued his Declaration of War on America in 1996 -- at the height of the Clinton Administration‘s hyperapologetic, good-citizen internationalism.“
And let‘s not forget the level of success achieved by Clinton‘s agreement with the North Koreans. How naive do you have to be to believe “real“ and “equitable“ negotiations will achieve anything with liars and tyrants?
It is correct that “violence brings only temporary victories.“ Every generation or two it becomes necessary to fight again against those who would take away our freedom and impose some foreign anti-democratic ideology on our country. No infantile mantra of “violance never works“ will change that, no matter how often repeated or how much sophistry used to defend it.

Nancy Brimhall • Alden

Need tuned-in journalists

In his article “Reinventing the Newspaper“ (Northern Express Weekly,
11/13), Robert Downes suggests that one way for daily newspapers
to hold onto readers is by printing compelling stories, getting “back to
being a good read.“ While gut instinct, as Downes recommends, may be
one source of such stories, so too are tuned-in journalists who have
learned to hang out and ask the difficult questions, thought about what
the purpose of their writing is beyond merely reporting the obvious, and
developed the language, temerity, and discipline necessary to tell
stories greater than 750 words.
If daily newspapers want to attract younger readers while avoiding the “McPaper“ syndrome, they need to employ, cultivate, and give space to younger journalists who can tell, in their own voice, the specific, local stories of their generation to
broad audiences from street level.
What would be more interesting than a 3,000 word article in the Sunday edition of the Traverse City Record-Eagle than a well written, insightful account of how some of our region‘s young families are dealing with the rising costs of health
care? And what about a story, told from a young journalist‘s
perspective, that investigates the political workings of northern
Michigan‘s towns and organizations, some of which still resemble the
“‘Main Street‘ novels of Sinclair Lewis, where a small clique of good
old boys steered the course of Anytown, USA,“ to quote Downes?

Mark Livengood • Leland

Patriotic questions

After 40 years of plain questions that went unasked about the Kennedy assasinations (like how Oswald could have shot Kennedy in the forehead from behind), I would like to know why it is that not once in two years has anyone asked the current president directly to his face, “Mr. President, why did you okay the exodus of Osama bin Laden‘s entire family out of the United States without questioning them, within two weeks of the destruction of the Twin Towers, and do you believe any of them might have had useful information about his whereabouts?“
Simple question... plain talk. The president likes plain talk. Americans like plain talk. Then I would ask a follow-up. It would be either “has the Bush oil business ever had dealings with the Bin Laden oil business?“ or “Who arranged the September 2001 Bin Laden family flights back to Saudi Arabia?“ The man or woman who asked this would not be unpatriotic. The questions carry no bias... they carry no hatred... Just plain talk. Two years and two wars later, still no one has asked him. Someone give me a press pass. I will ask.

David Singelyn • Warner Springs Ca

Blind intelligence

In response to George Foster‘s thoughtless propaganda regarding the Bush administration position on pre-Sept. 11 2001 actions (Random Thoughts, 11/20).
Let me say there will be a bank robbery today, there will be murder today, there will be a rape today, there will hundreds of bad things happen today and we know they will happen but without specific intelligence telling you when and where these things are going to happen there is little to nothing you, I, or anyone else can do about it.
A simple provable fact is that the Clinton administration passed laws to prevent the CIA, FBI, and DIA from using their normal intelligence-gathering mechanisms. Because Clinton blinded our intelligence community, we simply knew that there were plans to attack the U.S. but we did not have the intelligence necessary to stop a specific attack.
How far back would you like for me to go to place the blame? This could have been stopped years ago, back when SENATOR AL GORE was questioning Colonel Ollie North during a committee meeting, on the record in transcripts you can look-up, Colonel North explained to Senator Al Gore exactly how dangerous Osama Bin Laden was to the United States. Senator Al Gore made fun Colonel North and disregarded the colonel‘s allegations regarding Osma Bin Laden.
I just retired as a U.S. Army Special Operations soldier who has fought in Panama, Iraq, Kuwait, and participated in the counterdrug operations in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela, and served in many other operations that you have never heard of while you slept safely in your bed. I have been around the world several times and I am familiar with how U.S. intelligence systems work and didn‘t work under the Clinton administration.
When I see articles such as yours, I see the babbling of an uninformed coward hiding in the country I defend, using the freedom of speech I provided, to stick a knife in the back of the system I am a part of.
And lastly, when you say. “We, American citizens,“ you are not speaking for me and every real American like me, you are speaking for worthless babbling cowards. What I am saying is, don‘t make blanket statements, they could cause you legal problems.

Rex Crouch • via email

40 years, what a difference

Are we better off today than we were 40 years ago?
Forty years ago, the President of the United States could drive down a city street in an open-top motorcade. Forty years ago, the assassination of our President made partisanship stop and the whole world mourn. Forty years ago, a president dared to challenge science, crime and tyranny, and was a soldier and a scholar.
Forty years later, world leaders need extra security when visiting an ally. Forty years later, the assassination of our president would probably be met with relief and cheering worldwide. Forty years later, most leaders are neither scholars nor soldiers, but businessmen.
In 40 years, America has gone from a land of dreamers to a land of Scrooges. In 40 years, we have achieved riots and wars and hate and division and a culture of greed and arrogance and simpleton partisanship and witless immorality. Forty years is a long time.
Leaders can no longer walk the streets of their own nations. The American people have changed, the world has changed, and our presidents reflect that change.
November 22, 1963, marks the day when fear began anew its feud with courage. Fear and terror are now embraced worldwide.
We need to hold our core beliefs and behaviors up to a mirror. What do we see? Is it the profile of fear, or a profile of courage? Peace requires courage.

Steve Consilvio • Auburn, MA

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