Letters for January 6, 2005

We prioritize war
The Indonesian tsunamis are an incredible natural human and environmental disaster, approaching the magnitude of the unnatural devastation of Iraq and Afghanistan, where the killed and wounded are estimated to be 80 percent women and children.

Meanwhile our finest young service people continue to be slaughtered on the Altar of Texas Oil, while their families suffer despair and deprivation.

Our $350 million Indonesian aid represents less than a thousandth of the $417.4 billion of U.S. military spending in 2003, 47.5 percent of the world’s total.

Walden & Betty Joura

Pray for truth
Re “Pray for guns” (RN&R, Right hook, Dec. 30):

Mike Lafferty’s criticism of peace activism is quite laughable. He categorizes most activists as “people with too much time on their hands.” Perhaps Benjamin Franklin, the Christian Coalition and Martin Luther King Jr. all needed better hobbies. By definition, an activist is one who takes action to achieve a political or social end. By committing hundreds of millions of dollars and more than a thousand American lives, I’d say W. Bush is the mother of all activists.

The Iraq Invasion would never have occurred if Iraq didn’t have oil. There are hundreds of better and easier candidates for invasion and nation-building in the world. The Tutsis of Rwanda probably wondered where this great American super-fun-good-freedom army was when they needed it. Having a large portion of the world’s oil controlled by an anti-American dictator is an untenable national security situation in need of some serious military mitigation. Having most of the world’s oil controlled by friendly dictators who murder and torture their own pro-democracy freedom fighters is okey-dokey. War is a necessary and valid expression of political will; however, when it’s sold as freedom-fighting instead of hegemonic self-interest, it’s a farce.

Ed Park

Pray for Mike
Re “Pray for guns” (RN&R, Right hook, Dec. 30):

On a weekly basis, Mike Lafferty provides us all with the valuable service of peering into the minds of the hypocrites in our population. His latest column, “Pray for Guns,” was no exception. He starts out by snidely looking down on the peace activist on the Federal Building steps who are expressing a righteous outrage over this War for Oil. The war wasn’t for WMDs, a Saddam-Al Qaida connection or Iraqi freedom. If it really was for Iraqi freedom, they would have full control over their own oil, and we wouldn’t be torturing them.

Then he had the nerve to assert that Article 2 of the Constitution gives the President the right to declare war. If so, why did Bush even go to Congress for a resolution to go to Iraq? Is Lafferty even remotely aware of the limitations on the executive branch under the War Powers Act of 1973? Perhaps in the minds of hypocrites, the War Powers Act only applies to Democratic presidents.

The one part of his column I agree with was, “A change in our policy was required.” Our sanctions on Iraq during 12 years after the Gulf War killed 500,000 Iraqi children. Do Lafferty and other war hawks honestly think that is easily forgotten? If the positions were reversed, would they forget about lethal sanctions if our children were the ones affected?

Mike Lafferty is the one in need of a history lesson, not the Anti-War Coalition. If he bothered to crack a history book, he wouldn’t idolize Al Capone and think his attitude worth emulating.

Russell G. Davis

Equal makeup under the law
Re “Court refuses makeup challenge” (RN&R, News, Dec. 30):

The issue in Jespersen vs. Harrah’s wasn’t sexual discrimination per se; rather, it imposes a sexual demand on women that they pretty up. Equal grooming is not at issue unless you go down the list—hair, nails, neat grooming—and apply those characteristics equally.

At issue in the Jesperson case is the economic inequality of having to purchase makeup, and, more importantly, that makeup implies a falsification of personality.

Men are not similarly required, and thus, for the federal judge to uphold Harrah’s Entertainment’s decision to fire Jespersen is prejudicial.

Further, if makeup were an across-the-board necessity of grooming, then perhaps Harrah’s could demand it of its employees, but it isn’t, and fashion trends have illustrated this fact repeatedly.

The case should have been heard by a jury, for it would be more likely that a woman would be present, and she could have addressed both the benefits and the liabilities of makeup from the point of view of someone being made to wear it.

Why must managers cause workers undue pain with irrational impositions, especially when work itself is imperative to survival?

Mario Savioni
Walnut Creek, Calif.