Letters for October 4, 2001

In defense of Judaism
This is a time when Americans must stand together. It is no time to try to appease terrorists, who can’t be [appeased]. They live to destroy as an end in itself. It’s all they have to feel important.

The recent letter-writer to the Reno daily, who wants to throw Israel to the dogs, has no solution. Jews from Europe and Arab countries returned to a sliver of historical Palestine (minus Jordan) and have been a target for hate-mongers and dictatorships. There are more peoples in the Middle East than Arabs. There are Kurds, Berbers, Armenians, Circassians, Jews and more.

There would be no Christianity or Islam had they not come out of Judaism. There would be no great mosque in Jerusalem were it not built on the remains of the Jewish Temple. There WOULD be peace if extremists (Hamas, Islamic Jihad) like those who murdered thousands of Americans on Sept. 11 hadn’t vowed to destroy the peace process for Jews, Palestinians and the rest of the world. Nor would there be continued flow of oil, which has made Gulf nations rich, if extremists held sway.

There WILL be peace in our world when terrorism is defeated. This will happen when Americans and supporters across the globe stand together. Most of us—Christians, Muslims, Jews, everyone—will.

Michael Sion

America’s new war
The CNN tagline is “America’s New War,” as though, somehow, this is a good thing. Hold on to your hats, folks. This isn’t going to be another short, sharp engagement like you saw 10 years ago.

The Gulf War constituted an anomaly in American military history: a war for which our military was actually fairly well-prepared. Our force structure, training and doctrine emphasized heavyweight armored formations and air superiority. The U.S. military even trained in an environment that roughly duplicated the conditions and mission in the Persian Gulf.

The Taliban has been fighting a guerilla war for more than 20 years. They have no armor, no noticeable air force, no industrial base to attack and few identifiable centers of command and communication. The competence, loyalty and spirit of the Iraqi Army were suspect at best; the Taliban is committed to a political/ religious cause in the same way that America is committed to democracy. We’d do well to ask the Russians what it’s like fighting there. Somewhere around 35,000 Soviet troops didn’t come home. They lost.

Should we fight? Certainly—as should any nation with the integrity to protect her people and her principles when they are threatened. And I sincerely hope I’m wrong in my assessment of the cost and duration of the fight. But be ready, people. It’s tougher than it looks.

John Korfmacher

tank officer in the Gulf War

America’s fight will fail
America will fight terrorism, and America will fail. What we need to do is figure out why so many people around the world have come to hate us, and then make significant changes in our foreign policy designed to reverse that trend. I have often heard the 20th century described as the “American Century,” but it might be better described as the century of American imperialism. You won’t hear many people say this, but our own government brought this upon us. It’s time to change our ways.

Joe Beverly

Don’t apologize for evil nations

Re “Death By Ear Infection” (RN&R News, Sept. 20):

I really hope not one single person attended Kathy Kelly’s little show of support for Iraq and Afghanistan. I find your timing incredibly insensitive and inflammatory. Of course, you have the right to say whatever you want. The people in those nations don’t, and you are an apologist for them. Shame on you. At least the price of your newspaper is right.

Charles Eversole
via e-mail

The right to wheeled vehicles
Re “What Are My Rights?” (RN&R Guest Comment, Aug. 23):

Kevin Mack, I am glad that the world has “enlightened” people such as yourself to protect it from brutes that would tromp across “mother earth” (intentional small-case). Before you cast stones at me, consider a bumper sticker I once read: “Minds are like parachutes: They only work when open.”

Nevada has had large expanses of land designated as NEW Wilderness Areas in the last 20 years. They are not becoming “increasingly hard to find,” as you represented. In fact, think about the Black Rock conservation efforts of late.

In a Federal Wilderness Area, it is illegal to have any WHEELED vehicle inside the boundaries, and the punishment for breaking this law can be severe. I am a hunter, and I usually hunt alone. If I legally harvest a deer from a wilderness area, I have to carry it out by myself. If I roll it out on a SINGLE BICYCLE WHEEL deer carrier, I am committing a federal offense. True? Yes. Silly? Absolutely.

If you are not a hunter, this doesn’t matter to you. But I have a friend I would be happy to introduce you to who happens to be not only deaf, but a paraplegic. He also likes to go camping with his family. The more areas we close to vehicles, the less access he has.

I’m not saying let’s irresponsibly go driving across every stream, sagebrush or mountain. A reasonable compromise to allow access seems sensible.

Name withheld
Via e-mail

Ivory Towers update
Re “Yet More Grammar Frustration” (RN&R Letters, Sept. 6):

As one of your readers pointed out, there are no Ivory Towers, seeming to imply that the phrase is a mispronunciation of Ivy Towers. Actually, the phrase originated with French literary critic and poet of the early part of the 19th century Charles-Augustin Saint-Beuve. He used it in a poem in reference to fellow poet Alfred de Vigny. He was suggesting that de Vigny was sheltered from the realities of existence. The allusion was later used by Henry James as the title of a novel in 1916. The phrase became popular among the literary giants of the early 20th century, such as H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley and Ezra Pound. Since then, it has often been used in reference to people who live the perceived sheltered life of academia.

Dan Morgan
via e-mail

Deregulation needs to be complete
Re “Deregulation Without Representation” (RN&R News, Aug. 31):

When Christine Milburn, a spokesperson for Nevadans for Local Phone Competition, gave that quote juxtaposing the California electricity market with the Nevada phone service, she was way over her head. She based that statement on the mainstream media’s perception of the reasons behind California’s electricity problems, rather than on the truth.

The Libertarian Party (www.lp.org) believes that consumer advocates and politicians are falsely blaming the 1996 law, widely described as a “deregulation” law, for the problems. California’s electricity market is heavily regulated today; the transmission of electricity is managed by a government-created agency, the Independent System Operator (ISO).

What is needed for Nevada’s phone services, and what is ultimately needed for California’s electrical market, is FULL deregulation. Only then can progress happen. In Las Vegas, gas prices were outrageous. A NEW company stepped in and started offering gas for 20 cents cheaper a gallon. Other companies needed to drop their prices, and they did.

Some people can compete; some can’t. Don’t blame Nevada Bell for offering the best at the cheapest rates. If those 400 people from the NLPC put their brains, marketing skills and money together, maybe they could offer better and cheaper services.

Richard J. Adams
via e-mail

Voters only heard on Election Day
The statement “Voters are only heard on Election Day” is a statement of fact. When the petition was circulated to put the recall of Mayor Jeff Griffin on the ballot in the election of 2000, the fact that petition signers’ signatures are necessarily public information caused public arguments (right at the petition-signing stands) between husbands and wives, parents and their children, because fear existed that people who do any business with or work for the city would lose their jobs or business if their names were seen on that petition.

In the ensuing election, Toni Harsh was elected specifically on her stand that there should be NO TRENCH. After the primary, when voters’ leanings had shown, Pierre Hascheff and Dave Aiazzi called in the big bucks and did manage to retain their seats on the Council. Mr. Aiazzi did not even carry the votes in his own ward; money spent on name recognition and public relations paid off for him.

Jessica Sferrazza-Hogan’s attempt to get voters’ opinions about whether to pursue the ReTrac as it has been thrust at us might actually show yay or nay from the people who will be shouldered with its burden. If there is no such way, voters will have to wait for the 2002 election before they can be heard again and, in the meantime, the general public misinformation will have to be countered.

Beth Miramon