Letters for March 29, 2007

Others live because of the dead

Re “The dead” (SN&R Feature Story, March 15):

Enlightening article. Now, why don’t you do one called “The living” and chronicle all of the people who have regained their lives and freedom because of this war and the ultimate sacrifice of our soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen.

It is the nature of war that a few good men and women must die for the freedom of many. That has been so since day one and it will be so until day last. Sometimes war is necessary, but necessary does not always mean palatable. I doubt that there is enough newsprint available in all the state should you choose to do “The living” issue.

God bless them all: the ones now living in freedom and the courageous dead and wounded who made it happen.

Dennis Johnson

More numbers …

Re “The war in numbers” by Scott Thomas Anderson and Kel Munger (SN&R News, March 15):

Three-thousand two-hundred and nine American soldiers have been sacrificed in this U.S.-led illegal invasion and occupation. The Iraqis, on the other hand, paid the ultimate price: they lost their country and identity.

Iraq has suffered through the worst four years in living memory. In addition to the 654,965 civilian deaths (as reported in the Lancet, a British Medical Journal, in October 2006), violence resulting from collapse in security forced Iraqis to flee their homes. According to Newsweek (March 17), 2.3 million Iraqis have fled the country and an additional 1.7 million are displaced within Iraq.

Such an exodus has hollowed out Iraq’s most skilled and educated. Baghdad was one of the most educated populaces in the Middle East. By the late ’70s the literacy rate for both men and women was higher than 90 percent, according to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram. Presently, due to lack of security, schools and universities are being bombed and students are staying home out of fear. This is affecting more women than men. The director of the Human Rights Watch reports that women and girls today in Baghdad are scared and many are not going to schools or jobs for lack of security in the streets—a truly deplorable situation, considering that women stood equal to men prior to the invasion.

According to a former director of the U.N. Population Division, the nation’s health has deteriorated to a level not seen since the 1950s, while prior to the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq was at the forefront. The once highly diversified economy has collapsed, the unemployment rate is at 60 percent, the rate of inflation at 70 percent and nearly 5.6 million Iraqis are living below poverty level.

Samira Al-Qazzaz

… more often

Re “The dead” and “The war in numbers” by Scott Thomas Anderson and Kel Munger (SN&R Feature Story, March 15; SN&R News, March 15):

Thank you for this. We need to remember the human cost—although it certainly doesn’t hurt to point out the cost in dollars, either.

Now, can we have a weekly list of the dead? Or some sort of regular update on the lives lost? If SN&R doesn’t do it, who will?

Mitchell Sharp
Fair Oaks

Who’s profiting on that $8.4 billion?

Re “$8.4 billion” and “The war in numbers” by Scott Thomas Anderson and Kel Munger (SN&R News, March 15):

Thank you for giving the war a face.

I was wondering who gets the interest on the $8.4 billion a month? Wasn’t it President Reagan who started the Republican Party on building up a national debt? Isn’t it the Republicans who have the money to invest in buying bonds?

Let’s see a pie chart on who gets the interest.

Ruth Chambers

Courageous Bites

Re “P for propaganda” (SN&R Bites, March 15):

Bites, you have more courage than 99 percent of the American media. Discussing Israeli government policy toward the Palestinians and what used to be their land is just not done in this country. The people who try, like Professor Finkelstein, President Carter, Noam Chomsky and a few other courageous souls, are trashed by the mainstream media and our hack politicians. And people who happen to be Jewish, like Finkelstein and Chomsky, are labeled “self-hating Jews.”

The truly odd thing is that we Americans did not even realize, until the last few years, that there was a coordinated attempt to smother a real, open discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. We Americans were always told by our media that the evil Palestinians were the problem and not the Israeli “settlements” on Palestinian land or the third class treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government. At last, we are starting to hear what the other side, that the rest of the world, including Israelis, have discussed for decades.

Your comment about KVIE is right on. This pathetic “public” station is so afraid of controversy that it’s turned into a boring and irrelevant media. Does anyone watch it anymore? Of course I understand that PBS has been attacked for the last 30 years by the more conservative organs in our country and therefore it has become afraid to stand up for what’s right. But I think it had better learn to stand up, or it will die and no one will notice.

Thanks, Bites!

Tom Barcus
Cameron Park

Justified rage against Israelis

Re “P for propaganda” (SN&R Bites, March 15):

I wholeheartedly agree that the TV program Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence is propaganda. I expressed my objections to KVIE in a letter to general manager Hosley. I wrote, in part:

“As you no doubt understand, the program is basically designed to demonize Arabs. Clearly, as the program demonstrates in sumptuous detail, there are manifestations of classic anti-Semitic images and rhetoric to be found in Arab lands. But there is a difference between classic anti-Semitism, which led but I think no longer leads to persecution of innocent and defenseless Jews, and the Arab anti-Semitism which the program documents. The latter is not self-generated, as earlier anti-Semitisms were, but rather is a direct product of the barbarous treatment that, first, Zionist colonists and, later, Zionist Israel have meted out to Palestinian Arabs for the better part of a century (aggression, official terrorism, land expropriation, ethnic cleansing, housing demolition, destruction of orchards, incarceration, discrimination, stealing of water rights, etc.). Israel’s behavior has kindled measureless but largely helpless rage among Arabs that is entirely understandable. That that measureless, helpless rage sometimes spills over into the use of classic anti-Semitic motifs cannot be condoned but is not surprising.”

Thank you for your courageous column!

Karl Jaensch

Where’s Bites’ brain?

Re “P for Propaganda” (SN&R Bites, March 15):

Look, Bites, you’re right—but only sort of. Yes, the policies of the state of Israel can rightly be criticized. Yes, the treatment of the Palestinians has been abysmal—if not outright attempted genocide. Yes, the mainstream press is swayed by the pro-Israel lobby, not to mention the radical-fundamentalist Christian plans for Israel to play its part in their imagined end-times scenario.

But you might also want to take a look at the knee-jerk anti-Israel attitudes in the progressive press and you might want to think about what happens when you use phrases like “Israel über alles.” That’s not just criticism. You’re pushing a very traumatized, sensitive button and I can’t believe you’re not smart enough to realize it. That particular juxtaposition of words is offensive on so many levels.

Bites, you’ve got a brain. Use it.

Jan Klein

Loves Joey, not war

Re “The war on love” by Joey Garcia (SN&R Ask Joey, March 15):

I keep reading Joey’s wonderful column every week! I am especially captivated by “The war on love.” It’s awesome! I’ve cut it out and will be taping it to my bathroom mirror so I can read it every day as I ready myself for giving love and, with a hopeful heart, receiving love.

Thanks to Joey and SN&R for this beautiful piece.

Roxane Fidler

Save pets by spaying

Re “Making the cut” by Nicholas Miller (SN&R News, March 8):

Assembly Bill 1634 will break patterns that kill millions of cats and dogs at exorbitant economic and social costs to our communities. Irresponsible pet owners are akin to scofflaws everywhere, but we don’t let them slide just because the problem is difficult.

Actual costs to round up strays, pay veterinarians and then kill unwanted pets take scarce economic resources away from other legitimate animal issues. Children learn that pets are expendable—just trivial “throw aways.” Most tragic of all is the loyal pet (millions of them every year) that is abandoned or not adopted, cared for and loved at least during their short stay at the shelter and then killed in grief by Animal Control staff, whose turnover is predictably high.

We have irresponsible, uncaring animal owners causing a major problem. Assemblyman Levine’s AB 1634 is a step toward a solution. Breeders (backyard, hobby, professional or unintended) need to take full responsibility for the part they play in this tragedy. How many litters produce no champions, yet the gamble is repeated litter after litter? When breeders produce litters, they either make money and can afford the fees, or they’re producing “throw aways” and contributing to the problem.

Katie Cather