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Letters from April 2004 to the present:

Older letters (July 2002-March 2004)
-Even newer letters Non Sum Dignus

The Hartford Courant
July, 7 2004
(Published; link gone.)

End The Occupation

I disagree with The Courant [editorial, July 2, "When Should We Leave Iraq?"] when it states: "Whether it was right or wrong to invade Iraq is a secondary issue at this stage." Doubtless, for those who volunteered us for this disastrous mess, getting that question off the table as quickly as possible is the main objective. But it is precisely because of the "deaths and injuries of thousands of Americans and Iraqis and the spending of more than $200 billion" that we need to hold our leaders, the press and TV talk-show pundits, who convinced us this was the right thing to do, accountable for their misrepresentations. We're now "committed to nation-building in Iraq." Our leaders never told us this was the mission in Iraq. Are we supposed to just sit back and watch U.S. troops die at the rate of one to three a day until the end of 2005, when U.S. troops might be able to leave? Bring them home now and let the Iraqis take care of themselves. They created civilization about 3,000 years ago, so they ought to be able to handle elections without any more American blood having to be spilled in the deserts of Babylon.

To the Philadelphia Inquirer:
June 29 2004

It should be noted that the majority of the pessimistic “pre-intervention evaluations” John C. Bersia speaks of were made by experts at the CIA, State Department and other agencies with the resources and knowledge of the region to know the potential disaster we were getting ourselves into and were by no means extreme in retrospect, judging from the horrible situation we find ourselves in today. The only extremists in the debate were the pentagon hawks promising a replay of the liberation of Paris with minimal casualties and flowing oil money to pay the cost. These optimists, unlike their more sober detractors; were informed only by their rosy scenarios and ideological bias. After losing 800 U.S. soldiers and many thousands more without arms and legs, we really ought to expect more for this terrible cost in human life and treasure than what Mr. Bersia is willing to call victory, which is in years to come recalling “what Americans now witness in Afghanistan.” He may be “glad to see Kabul free from the Taliban-al-Qaeda grip and a Saddamless Baghdad,” but I doubt the families of those who have lost sons and daughters would trade them for a puppet regime whose rule doesn’t reach beyond its city limits.

To the Philadelphia Inquirer:
June 24 2004

Tad Daly writes, “It's now clear that the Iranian government is intent on developing nuclear weapons, lying about it, and continuing both.” [From Iraq a lingering threat, Commentary, June 24] Iran was not the first country to embark on “the road to a darker destination” of arming themselves with nuclear weapons. For 40 years Israel has possessed weapons of mass destruction and has been lying about them all along, even to their best friend in the world, the United States! Much more of a looming threat to Iran, and potentially to the rest of the world, must be seen as coming from the Jewish state It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand Iran’s leaders justify their need to arm themselves to the teeth for their own defense based on Israel’s overwhelming superiority in nuclear weapons. It is doubtful Israel would ever allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Either, they will prevent it themselves, or they will ask us to do it for them. On February 17th 2003, US Under Secretary of State John Bolton said in meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that after attacking Iraq it would “be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea.” Currently, four U.S. Aircraft Carriers are headed toward the Persian Gulf region They were hurredly dispatched and reportedly undermanned. Is it really that difficult to envision the “U.S. president launching another unilateral preemptive” war?

To the Chicago Tribune:
June 21 2004

The Tribune cheats its readers by obscuring the consequences of our problematic involvement in the Middle East by invoking incendiary rhetoric to describe the beheading of Paul M. Johnson Jr. as for “no other reason than he was an American.” This is clearly an issue that requires a more nuanced approach, but the editorial instead aims for a simplistic approach that appeals more to the lowest common denominator. Clearly, the brutal, fanatically religious, Al-Saud regime bares no resemblance to the "free world" any American "reacting with stomach-churning disgust" to Mr. Johnson's beheading would recognize as worth defending with our blood or treasure. According to Amnesty International "torture" by the Saudi regime "is endemic...foreign workers are most in danger from executions, usually beheadings" normally "carried out in public after Friday prayer." Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda are products of a brutal society nurtured and supported for decades by our need for crude. The chickens have come home to roost for our Saudi clients and Amercan contractors, who have enjoyed high wages and a semi-kingly lifestyle in exchange for providing the know how to retain the royal family in comfortable control, are now in the line of fire. Coming to grips with this reality is essential to understanding the reasons behind the death of Mr. Johnson.

To NPR's Morning Edition:
June 18 2004

Dear Morning Edition, On Morning Edition today Steve Inskeep's interview of Arab-Ame said to me more about NPR than about Al-Jazeera. For years people have been criticizing the Arab media as being nothing more than mouthpieces for their respective governments. Now, there is an independent voice in the Middle East and some people and some governments don't like what the Arabs are saying. Neither, apparently, does Inskeep, who kept pounding away at the "coloring" the coverage angle and expressing shock at some of the topics Al-Jazeera allows on their talk shows. Has Mr. Inskeep ever heard what goes on every day on the average right wing talk show? Give Mike Savage a listen and then criticize Al-Jazeera. Inskeep asked, 'Why waste the time on views like the ones that blame Jews for everything in the world' etc.? Mr. Arab-Ame's answer was 'it's a talk show, these opinions are out there, we don’t sweep them under the rug.' Perhaps NPR could benefit from that type of attitude. There's much too much sweeping going on at NPR and there are a lot opinions out there that are never going to be heard on the rarified airwaves of NPR. (And I don't mean anti-Semitic one's. That was the example he used.) Their time is too precious to be wasted on anything other than the latest line emanating from the AIE and the obligatory interview with the shill from the Weekly Standard, who will, no doubt insist there is still evidence of WMD and the moon is made of green cheese and then...on to NPR’s business update

To the Philadelphia Inquirer:
June 18 2004

President Bush attemps to define the meaning of "is" with the denial that his administration ever "said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al-Qaeda." ["Bush denies linking Hussein to 9/11," Front Page, June 18] Sounds like "Slick Willy" and his smooth lawyer talk, to me. There's a reason "polls found large majorities of Americans believed the deposed dictator was involved in the Sept. 11 plot;" Bush and his senior officals implied it every which way but up, month after month, day after day and there's no denying that. How could so many people have been so wrong? Either we're all stupid, which is what the administraioin is basically saying, since they can't explain why there's such a major diconnect between fact and fiction, or we were all lied to. It's a pretty black and white case. Feeling stupid?

To the Seattle Times:
June 10 2004

Collin Levey says the economic policies of Ronald Reagan were responsible for an "economic boom through the '80s and '90s."(Que spit-take.) This is an outrageous mis-statement of established fact. No matter how much the Reagan lovers might wish it to be; it is not true. Reagan oversaw the worst economy since the 1930s. And, gasp, during the nineties, Bill Clinton and Robert Rubin pursued economic policies that helped to clean up the mess Ronnie and George H.W. Bush left us with. Levey says he was only 5 when Reagan came to office; so it would appear he is also the product of the Gipper's educational budget cuts. How else to explain his inclination to parrot the nonsensical ramblings of Rush Limbaugh's recollection of the era, as opposed to actually picking up a book and learning about the hard realities of the disaster the "amiable dunce" wrought upon the American people in the nineteen eighties? Those of us who were actually trying to find work back then know better. No amount of revisionist history is going to change the realities of the devastating effects "voodoo economics" had on all of us. Kind old grandpa Ronnie though, was more than happy to blame the moral failings of the victims of his knucke headed policies for their plight, rather than admit the very same government that had helped him and his mother during the depression had any role to play. People suffered terribly during Mr. Reagan's presidency and I can't forget the heartless indifference he displayed. Mr. Levey's problem with the cult of personality notwithstanding, Ronald Reagan was the worst president in history. Luckily for him, though, Geroge "W" Bush came along and is giving him a run for his money.

To the San Francisco Chronicle:
June 10 2004

According to author James W. Loewen ("Lies My Teacher Told Me") Ronald Reagan "surely ranks no higher than as the third-best Republican president of the 20th century, well below Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, and perhaps below William Howard Taft." This, of course, is anathema to the likes of Grover Norguist and his Reagan Legacy Project that is busy trying to get a monument built to him on the National Mall. Norquist’s group says as of 2002 there were 50 "dedications" to Reagan, 47 in the United States and three internationally. Having lived in Florida, I’d have to say naming the state turnpike after him was the most bizarre. What did he ever do for Florida? But this is beside the point for those obsessed with renaming everything in sight for a man who is hardly beloved of all Americans and who could not be less deserving of the craven adulation he is now receiving from a media feeding frenzy not seen since the days of the Clinton/Lewinsky affair. However “unseemly” the “obvious partisanship behind the move” to put Reagan on the $20 bill may be, there is little doubt Norquist will find plenty of congress members willing to go along with a slam dunk like this.

To the Boston Globe:
June 10 2004

Besides going way over the top on the Ronald Reagan deification scale, Jeff Jacoby’s rewriting of history is interesting in a reading fiction sort of way, but just the same, makes me slightly nauseous. He laughingly attempts to convince his readers that Ronald Reagan “is now acknowledged as a courageous visionary, an apostle of decency and liberty who left the world far better than he found it.” If what he means by “visionary” is Reagan’s wondering aloud about alien invasions, perhaps one might agree. As far as leaving a better world behind; we’re lucky he didn’t blow it all to smithereens. As he told California state senator James Mills in 1971, “Everything is falling into place. It can't be long now… fire and brimstone will be rained upon the enemies of God's people… that must mean that they'Il be destroyed by nuclear weapons." Jacoby praise's the Gipper's “willingness to call evil by its name.” This might not necessarily have been such a good thing, considering the man took Ezekiel literally and had his finger on the button

To the Palm Beach Post:
June 9 2004

Regarding: "Change Padilla venue," [Editorial, June, 9th] “Ashcroft: No torture for Al-Qaeda,” [Main news, June, 9] Many Americans have the incorrect idea that Hitler and the Nazis took power in Germany by violence or illegal means in 1933. In fact, the Nazis were democratically elected by a slim margin, not enough for Hitler to take total control. Until that is, a national tragedy occurred… the burning of the Reichstag. (The German parliament building.) Although, after the war it was proved the fire was the work of Hitler’s henchmen, the shock of the fire, blamed at the time on communists, was reason enough to declare a state of emergency which Hitler took full advantage of by promulgating laws, already written and waiting, giving the state security apparatus carte blanc to round up the leadership of the communists, who were the bigger winners standing in the way of Nazi dominance, and anyone else who opposed the take over of the government. Sound familiar; fellow patriots? When John Ashcroft directly defies the senate, not even bothering to give a reason, just simply refusing to produce documents, which reportedly tell the president he can do whatever he feels like doing, regardless of existing laws to the contrary, including the constitution, the only reason being, we’re at war; people who love liberty and their country should recall the lessons of history. Every American, regardless of party affiliation, should be very worried about an administration that shows such arrogant disrespect for the most the fundamental tenets of our system of checks and balances. The Post asks a crucially important question regarding the case of Jose Padilla, “how it is possible to imprison a U.S. citizen indefinitely -- incommunicado, without charges, hearing before a judge, or access to lawyers and family -- simply because the president says it's necessary?” Is this the country we grew up in? First they came for my neighbor and I did nothing…

To NPR's All Things Considered:
June 9 2004

Dear ATC---- Thank you again for the coverage of the Reagan funeral preparations. Please, could you do more interviews with people who loved president Reagan? It is possible there might be a few people, crack-pots mainly, who disliked the amiable actor turned president/world leader, but there isn't any need to cover them or ask them why they feel he was a disaster for our country, is there? Besides being of no interest at all to your listeners, it might tend to bring into question the wall to wall, 'round the clock,' coverage you all are filling your valuable airtime with. All I, or anyone else, needs to hear is the opinions of Reagan button wearing tourists from Indiana expressing their love for the man who probably put their father out of work in the 80s as they make their way down to clog up the Metro. Thank you again for the coverage I can't hear or see or read anywhere else. P.S. Could I hear some more Haynes Johnson with maybe a Michael Beschloss chaser? ( And Liane Hansen sobbing?)

Dear ATC---

I'm waiting breathlessly for the arrival Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president in the history of the world. Please, keep me updated on every foot of his journey to the Capital. Can I get more information about the bier he'll be laying on? What type of wood was it again? Please, please, please, tell me Liane Hansen will be sobbing uncontrollably during the whole thing. What would make it all just perfect, though, is more insightful commentary by Haynes Johnson. ( With Liane Hansen sobbing in the background.) Thank you for the in depth coverage of the death of president Reagan. I just couldn't get this type of professional journalism anywhere else. Do you know, not one other media outlet is carrying the story?

To the Philadelphia Inquier:
Jnue 8 2004

As commendable as it is that “Nancy Reagan boldly spoke out in favor of research using human embryonic stem cells,” one wishes her husband the “powerful leader” had used his “great communicator” skills to bring a similar amount of attention to the “dreadful illness” called AIDS. An average of nine Americans died every day of his presidency and he said not a word on the subject. Reagan’s Surgeon General C.Everett Koop recalled he was shut out from policy discussions because according to him, "...transmission of AIDS was understood primarily in the homosexual population and in those who abused intravenous drugs, the advisors to the president, took the stand, they are only getting what they justly deserve.” As Ronald Reagan is eulogized this week it would be instructive to keep in mind that the same type of willful ignorance, based on religious or moral considerations rather than on sound scientific merit, is being displayed again today by a president more concerned about unborn children and his political base than he is about saving potentially thousands of people who are going to suffer the same fate of Nancy Reagan and her family. It is truly unconscionable.

To All Things Considered:
June 8 2004

Dear ATC--- In the last hour, the news program "The World" hardly mentioned the legacy of Ronald Wilson Regan at all. I'm hoping ATC is going to get back on the horse and dispense with all this "news" and force feed us some more happy speak on the "Great Communicator." After all, it's only since Saturaday afternoon that NPR starting covering the death of Ronald Wilson Reagan around the clock and I really don't think we've had enough of Haynes Johnson and David Gergan waxing poetic on the accompliishments of "The Man."

To The Daily Star (Beirut)
June 7 2004

Davis Ignatius asks us to “imagine for the moment that the United States" is "a sensible nation.” Unfortunately, that’s where his whole argument falls apart. More specifically, the U.S. government is not sensible and the American people allow themselves to be lied to because it’s easier to keep driving their SUVs rather than think about the connection between their comfort zone, 80 ft. above the road and the poor soldiers driving around Iraq in their similarly armored Humvees with targets on their backs. Iraq is for us a massive aircraft carrier situated in the heart of the Middle East, which serves as an important hedge against a sudden cutoff of crude from Saudi Arabia either, through a coup, or a due to bottle neck created by a terrorist attack at the Ras Tanura refinery. Yes, China and India are sucking up more and more oil and Bush and Co. know it. That’s why we’re not leaving Iraq no matter how fuel-efficient our cars get. Gas guzzling is a win-win proposition for our politicians; it keeps the public happy and it helps retains our leverage over the rest of the world. China, in particular, will think twice about pulling a fast one in Taiwan as long as we control the spigot.

To Morning Edition:
June 7 2004

Dear NPR-- At the top of this hour's news, it seems to me I heard only four references to HIS most holy, meteoric, divine present, Ronald Wilson Reagan. Not good enough. If you don't want a boycott launched against you, I would suggest dropping the Iraq crap and just going strait to the news on Ronald Wilson Reagan. Here are several other things you can do to make those who are mourning, MOURNING, the loss of the Gipper a little happier and less likely to write more angry letters. ---NPR should immediately change its name to RWRR. (Ronald Wilson Reagan Radio) ---RWRR should immediately call for John Kerry to suspend his campaign until after president Bush has won the election in honor of Ronald Wilson Reagan. ---All references to the fact that Ronald (6) Wilson (6) Reagan (6) is 666 will end this minute. ---And RWRR should make it abundantly clear to the listening public that the greatest president from the greatest generation was right when he said, "80 percent of air pollution comes not from chimneys and auto exhaust pipes, but from plants and trees." Thank you for your time Sincerely, someone who loves the former president P.S. change your e-mail address to mourning@npr.org

To the Washington Post and Times:
June 6 2004

To the Editor, I would like to propose, in light of the death of the greatest American ever to live; the one man who saved us from the Martians and the Russians; the renaming of the “Ronald Reagan National Airport,” to the much more appropiate “Ronald Reagan/Ronald Reagan National Reagan Airport.” In order to show the proper respect for the magnitude of the MAN; the size of the letters would have to be increased to perhaps 6 ft. in front of the airport. Naturally, the Metro signs would have to reflect the change. And there will be no fooling around this time! It might be necessary to build another station adjacent to the present one to accommodate the size of the letters that would be required. All Metro stations, in fact, might need to be renamed “Ronald Reagan/Ronald Reagan Memorial Station# 1, 2, 3, “ etc., in order to avoid confusion as the letters on each Metro map and guide post would have to be increased substantially to fit the achievements of the GIPPER. The Lincoln memorial and the Washington memorial might also need a face-lift to show proper respect for the GREAT UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR TESTER, but I’ll leave that to Grover Norguist.

To the Miami Herald:
June 5 2004

To the Editor, According to Alex Penelas says he's “been a loyal and dedicated Democrat for a long time.'' He could have fooled me. I voted a strait Democratic ticket in Miami-Dade county from 1982, when I turned 18, until I left Florida in 2001; and Mr. Penelas you are no Democrat. I’m appalled the party would even give such a crass opportunist the time of day. I seem to remember the good mayor standing in front of the news cameras pledging to resist the federal government when it dared enforce the law, which he took an oath to uphold, if it interfered with his shameless pandering to one particular segment of the community during the Elián González crisis. When he should have been trying to exhibit some leadership to sooth the acrimony that resulted from the aftermath of that dark episode, he instead was complicit with the parties involved in dividing the community. His encore was to stab the leader of his party in the back during the most important presidential election in a generation. Even Judas would blush at the unmitigated gall of this man!

To the Boston Globe:
6/5/04

Though it may be true “a spate of terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia has finally sprung the monarchy from a state of denial,” it is too little, too late. Hopefully, U.S. policy makers aren’t deluding themselves when it comes to the “princes' confidence that they can count on popular support,” in their fight against militants, because there is little evidence they can. The rigidity and brutality of the regime hardly inspires allegiance from the average, less than royal citizen. Unemployment is high and Islamic fervor is offering an alternative to the highly unpopular support the government recieves from the U.S. Despite the dubious claim of the mass arrests of terrorists, doubtless being conducted by Claude Rains, the fact is; the Saudis are either unable or unwilling to prevent Al-Quaeda from operating with near impunity within the kingdom

To the Philadelphia Inquirer:
6/3/04

The Inquirer says, “What Bush must not do is use the new government and the June 30 handover as cover to abandon Iraq.” That is precisely what he’s done in Afghanistan; our proxy does, after all, rule all of Kabul. It wouldn’t be a great surprise if Bush and Co. decided to cut their loses and move on to Iran or Syria, but that would mean possibly giving up the second largest known reserve of oil in the world and we all know the Exxon administration isn’t about to do that. There’s little reason to believe “unpredictable events” will suddenly cease after this “sovereign” Iraqi government takes over. Whether the Iraqis themselves consider this newly concocted version of democracy as legitimate is yet to be seen. Our troops, however, will still be there and as long as they are they’ll have targets on their backs.

To the Philadelphia Inquirer:
5/30/04

It is reported Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan called the attacks and hostage taking in Khobar Saudi Arabia "a cowardly and despicable act of murder." (This is the same Prince Bandar--“Bandar-Bush” to the president’s family--who reportedly promised Mr. Bush lower oil prices for the election.) It’s good to see the Saudis finally owning up to their fellow countrymen’s serial killing. It perhaps would have been to their benefit, a while back, to start getting serious about the Madrassas they fund around the world which graduate hundreds of recruits for Osama Bin Laden every year. Putting an end to the money laundering which supports the very people attacking them and us might also have been a wise measure. It seems, though, until their oil was at risk, 3000 dead Americans was a reasonable price to pay for a $25 barrel of crude.

To the Boston Globe
(They're very annoying, too. Elitist bastards!)
5/30/04

If any “body politic” desperately needs therapy right now, it is ours. I think it’s a little late, however, to be “reminded that wielders of great power operating behind a curtain of secrecy can do great harm.” The horse is out of the barn and half way to Syria. It’s painfully obvious now, “in its zeal for secrecy,” this administration has been much more destructive than the Nixon administration could have ever dreamed of being. Our credibility around the world and our civil liberties at home, have suffered a blow they may never recover from. President Bush, who never admits mistakes, only listens to his advisors and can justify lying to the American people on every conceivable subject because he’s doing God’s work, like Nixon “is manifestly unfit to have at his disposal the tremendous powers of the presidency,” but makes me think, I might buy that used car from Tricky Dick after all.

To the San Francisco Chronicle:
5/28/04

It is clear this administration has a massive credibility problem. The fact that the first impression many had to the recent terror alert by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft was one of deep skepticism highlights the pitfalls of lying on such a grand scale and on almost every conceivable issue as this president and his men have done. One would be hard pressed to find a more corrupt and dishonest presidency in U.S. history. However, if we are to know for sure if there really is a threat, look for the telltale signs. The president had surface to air missiles on the roof of the mansion he slept in the day before 9/11. Top leaders of the government were told Sept. 10th to start taking Cipro. John Ashcroft stopped taking civilian flights a month before the attacks. Look for similar strange behavior this summer. If large numbers of Saudis start heading home all of a sudden, duck and cover!

New York Daily News:
5/26/04

Michael Goodwin asks a very important question; "Where's the evidence that a majority (Of Iraqis) shares our ideals and values?" Perhaps they might, but so far the only example they have to go by cannot be very reassuring to the average Iraqi. Kicking down doors in the middle of the night, shooting up cars that don't stop for check-points, torturing detainees at Saddams' most notorious prison and propping up Iraqi Quislings who are robbing the country blind, would all tend to make our protestations of bringing liberation ring hollow to any reasonable person suffering under occupation. The president and his advisor's have "blundered, big-time" there is no doubt, but what is truly "horrifying" is that they were so easily conned by Ahmad Chalabi and his Iranian handlers.

To the Inquirer (again):
5/24/04

The chickens are coming home to roost over our mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq. When North Korea, of all countries, can say our military "committed shuddering atrocities without hesitation" and the Chinese lecture us on our "double standard" on human rights that has "severely undermined the image of the United States," we begin to see just the tip of the iceberg, that could not only erode our credibility as a protector of human rights, but also undermine our ability to project an image to our friends that the U.S. government knows what it's doing. By leading us into this war of choice, president Bush and his band of incompetents have made us a weaker nation and given aid and comfort to our enemies.

To the Philadelphia Inquirer:
5/23/04

According to the Editorial "9/11 Hearings: hard lessons learned." [May, 23] "Nearly 32 months after 9/11, there are still many lessons to be learned - and acted upon." I would ask, what lessons have we learned? Why has it taken so long to figure out how terrorists were allowed to high-jack four passenger jets and destroy the World Trade Center on orders from a man who travels by donkey and lives in a cave? How did a small group of fanatics overcome the combined intelligence apparatus of the United States, and most importantly; who was responsible for this monumental screw up? So far, no one it appears. Where were the fighter jets to intercept these planes? If they had been scrambled in time, would they have prevented the terrorists crashing into their targets without authorization from the president, who at the time was at a photo-op reading a book about a pet goat? Of course, we won't learn any lessons about what the president was doing because his testimony was taken behind closed doors, and conveniently, wasn't recorded either. There are many who regard this investigation with deep suspicion and won't be satisfied until someone is held accountable and these basic questions are answered.

To NPR:
5/21/04

On the Saturday evening ATC in a story about Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), the focus seemed to focus only on whether he was anti-Semitic or not. I would have hoped for a more balanced discussion on this important issue rather than just repeating the accusations made against him by an intensely partisan pressure group. The fact is there are many voices in the U.S. and around the world questioning our apparent inability to ever criticize Israeli policy and wondering about the real motivations behind the invasion of Iraq; not all of them are anti-Semitic. The executive director of the 9/11 Commission Philip Zelikow said in 2002 "Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat [is] and actually has been since 1990 - it's the threat against Israel." [http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/FC31Aa01.html] Here is a former top advisor to the president saying the reason for going to war in Iraq was to protect Israel but "the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell." The opinion that war for Israel is not a “popular sell” dovetails with Mr. Moran’s statement that, “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this." Despite the critisism, this is the mainstream view according to 58% of Americans in a Newsweek poll conducted shortly after 9/11 who said America's ties to Israel and its policies towards Palestinians were 'a major motivation behind the attacks on New York and Washington' and America should 'consider changing its Middle East policies to reduce the violent backlash against it.' (Middle East International, 9 November 2001) I doubt all of the respondents to that particular poll were anti-Semites. So why aren’t the opinions of a majority of Americans being reflected in the reporting on this subject? I would urge you to do your homework and present a more objective and informed report rather than using rehashed talking points from AIPAC as real news. Your listeners expect and deserve better than what they received in today’s edition of ATC.

To the Chicago Tribune:
5/21/04

The Tribune repeats the myth that in the 2000 election the "people of Florida proved beyond debate that sun and orange juice make you stupid as a paving brick." ["Meanwhile in Florida…" Editorial, May 21, 2004] This is nonsense. Don’t blame a few elderly people in Palm Beach County (On the east coast of Florida, not the blessed west coast, where the superior retirees from Chicago go to run out the clock) when it should be clear to anyone who looks at it honestly, Governor Bush, the candidate’s brother, and Katherine Harris, the state’s election supervisor and Bush’s campaign manager, cooked the voting rolls. Some 98,000 Floridians, mostly African-American, were illegally prevented by Harris and Co. from voting in an election that should have been an easy win for Al Gore. Ralph Nader wasn’t even in the ballpark. I was a Florida voter in 2000, so it doesn’t take a genius to figure out we got robbed. One wonders what’s in the water cooler at the Tribune. Orange juice anyone?

To the Seattle Times:
5/19/04

It is painfully clear, we have created a cycle of violence in Iraq we can only break by pulling out. Certainly, we cannot win the peace by killing dozens of wedding party participants as we are accused of doing today. The fact that the military made the same error in 2002 in Afghanistan, causing the deaths of 48 Afghans and wounding 117, shows we don’t really care enough about the culture of the countries we invade to even understand that people shooting guns in the air is a traditional celebration in that part of the world, though to our credit, we know enough about the culture to dress Muslim men in women’s underwear to blackmail them into giving us information.If we have “smart” bombs that can fly through windows why can’t we distinguish between insurgents and a bride and groom? Incidents similiar to this will continue and the more they do the deeper will be the hole we dig ourselves into. It's time to leave.

To the Philadelphia Inquirer:
5/17/04

(Can you believe after all this they still haven't printed one of my letters?) I applaud Leonard Pitts Jr. putting into words what I’ve been feeling about the puzzling attitude of some folks who would ape the behavior of terrorist and call it patriotism. If a squad of Marines had killed civilians in Fallujah in retaliation for the attack on the civilian contractors, no doubt, Rush Limbaugh would be calling them heroes. That type of loose thinking is shameful and profoundly disturbing, especially when you consider Limbaugh probably doesn’t even believe it himself, but is only appealing to the lowest common denominator to pump up ratings. He and his “ditto-heads” do not represent the thinking of the majority of Americans and they should be ashamed of themselves. Our brave service people are not S.S. storm troopers and those who ordered the tortures at Abu Ghraib, and those who carried them out, are a stain on our national spirit which dishonors us all.

To the Seattle Times:
5/17/04

Charles Krauthammer asks “how do the actions of a few depraved soldiers among 135,000 negate the moral purpose of the entire enterprise?” Of course, it is politically expedient to blame a few “bad apples” and he and his ilk continue to push the party line, but it has become impossible to believe a few kids from Maryland and West Virginia perpetrated these acts by themselves. There is now overwhelming evidence from the release of secret documents that there was a concerted effort by officials at the pentagon to skirt the Geneva Convention which set the stage for the abuses that have shocked the world and damaged, perhaps irreparably, our moral authority. Yes Mr. Krauthammer, the architect of such a disastrous policy failure “must take ultimate responsibility for what happens on his watch.” It is not just an “Interesting idea;” in the case of possible war crimes condoned by officials at the highest levels of the government, it is a necessity. To the Chicago Tribune: 5/16/04 Senator Joseph Biden is stating the obvious when he said the prisoner abuse scandal goes "much higher." The pentagon's version of the story that a small number of MPs took these gruesome photos as souvenirs for the folks back home ("Hi Mom!), that no one at a higher level knew anything about it is ludicrous. Semour Hersh's contention that these soldiers were ordered to pose in the photos in an attempt to illicit intelligence from Iraqis by threatening to show the pictures to their families and neighbors, for a Muslim male a virtual death sentence, begins to lift the veil on what was really going on at Abu Ghraib. The defense department's characterization of Hersh's charges as ""filled with error and anonymous conjecture" sounds more like a description of the "evidence" of the still missing WMD. Perhaps the White House counsel Alberto Gonzales also advised the president the terrorism fight renders some provisions of the constitutional separation of powers and congressional oversight "quaint," as well. We have a right to know.

To the Philadelphia Inquirer:
5/16/04

Seymour M. Hersh's latest New Yorker article on the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison has blown this scandal wide open. ["Rumsfeld OK'd prison plan, report says," May, 16] The accusations that defense secretary Rumsfeld OK'd the policy of "Grab whom you must, do what you want" in Iraq is, as Rumsfeld might put it, "radioactive." The pentagon's characterization of the Hersh's charges as "outlandish, conspiratorial, and filled with anonymous conjecture," might more accurately describe the manufactured "evidence" of Saddam Hussein's WMD, which got us into this mess in the first place. If even half of the allegations are true, however, the president cannot possibly continue to support the current civilian leadership at the defense department and expect to retain the credibility and integrity of the institution. Because of this inexcusable dereliction of duty by their top leaders, all the service members fighting and dying for our country are the the ultimate losers.

To the San Francisco Chronicle
5/13/04

Secretary Rumsfeld said on his stealthly, heavily defended, visit to the scene of the crime on Thursday, "The garbage that you keep reading -- about cover-up and the Pentagon doing something to keep some information from people -- is unfair, inaccurate and wrong" I'm sure he'd just love to get all the evidence out, but those damn lawyers tell him "releasing such materials would violate a Geneva Convention stricture against presenting images of prisoners that could be construed as degrading." Now, they're concerned about the Geneva Convention. Now, they're worried about the degrading treatment of prisoners. The horse is out of the barn and down the road Mr. secretary. Is there anyone over the age of five who is buying this "garbage

To the Philadelphia Inquirer:
5/12/04

To the Editor, The only realistic option we now have for obverting disaster in Iraq is to move up, as early as possible, the planned January elections. I agree it's the "the only way to convince angry Iraqis that America really has benign intentions." Assuming there is any decent way out of this fiasco besides inglorious withdrawal. Whether we will be able to convince Iraqis America really has benign intentions toward them will probably hinge on president Bush and the architects of this war being thrown out of office. This administration has not one iota of credibility in the Middle East. Rumsfled and Co. cannot be the overseer of any election and have it be considered legitimate. Doubtless, the administration would not recognize any Iraqi government that asked the U.S. to get out in any case. Democracy in Iraq begins with regime change at home.

To the Chicago Tribune:
5/11/04

I seriously doubt it is "an understandable gut impulse of shame" or the combined "fear of the possible fallout--domestically and abroad " that will cause the Bush administration to favor "keeping this evidence away from the public, " of the hundreds, if not thousands, more photos of abuses in Iraq committed by U.S. soldiers. More to the point, I’m sure, is the "horror stories from Iraq may indeed soften popular support for Bush and for the war in Iraq." This is why the Bush administration will fight to prevent the evidence of further horrors perpetrated by us, including rape and murder of men and women, from being released. President Bush has proved again and again he doesn't care much about world opinion. He leaves critics of his policies by domestic foes to his "smear and defend" apparatus. When it comes to getting re-elected,though, he and his defenders have no shame. Truth is what the winners say it is.

To the Philadelphia Inquirer:
5/11/04

Incredibly, according to a new poll reported by the Inquirer, "Rumsfled gets another show of support," [Front Page, May 11] "Most Americans don't believe Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld should resign after revelations of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers." How on earth can this be? I'm sure anyone of those who had taken the poll would have been fired if they had done such an incompetent job. (The American people are very forgiving, it appears.) Remember the WMD? He knew exactly where they were. Remember the Al-Quaeda links? Not! Cakewalk ring any bells, the 760 soldiers dead? (ding, ding, ding.) Mr. Rumsfeld is employing the typical CEO's ploy of acting like he knows nothing and everyone below him is at fault, for what he knows is his responsibly. Ignoring the man behind the curtain this time is foolhardy, considering he’s the one in charge of defending us.

To the Boston Globe:
5/10/04

Cathy Young is correct to point out “One truly shameful aspect of the scandal is that some pro-war pundits have tried to minimize or excuse the abuse,” at Abu Ghraib prison. Rush Limbaugh’s disgusting and repulsive remarks equating the tortures there as nothing more than a few soldiers blowing off some steam should be condemned. Though he is “in a minority among conservatives,” he does have a very large following of fanatically devoted listeners who whole-heartedly agree with him and are seeking to blame the victims to deflect responsibility for war crimes committed in our name. Such rationalizations any “good German” would understand. Weren’t the French resistance fighters terrorists after all? Excusing war crimes committed by our soldiers and dehumanizing the enemy are all staples of a pattern made all too clear by the Nazis in World War II. We as good Americans have an obligation to resist those who would condone torture and even encourage it in the name of national security or, even worse, revenge.

To the NY Times:
5/9/04

The editorial “Rumsfeld Should Stay,” [Editorial, May, 9] says it doesn’t “make strategic sense to remove a war leader in the vain hope of appeasing critics of the war.” This couldn’t be further from the point. The issue is not “scapegoating” Donald Rumsfeld to please his critics. The entire Iraqi war has been a massive blunder engineered by the secretary of defense and this Abu Ghraib fiasco is the straw that broke the camel’s back. We are far more vulnerable to attack after Iraq then we were before it. Our army is on the brink of collapse being so dangerously overstretched. We have no arrows left in our bow for crisis ‘X” which is coming sooner or later. It makes no strategic sense to hold on to such an incompetent “war leader” just to appease president Bush’s partisans.

To the Seattle Times:
5/08/04

Ellen Goodman is surely correct in saying “A propagandist couldn't have done us more harm” [“A bad week for liberty,” May, 8] than what we’ve done to ourselves in the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal. While it’s true the rest of the world has had all their worst fears about us confirmed, the over 145 U.S. soldiers and 600 Fallujans killed last month barely caused a ripple in the American psyche. So what’s the big deal about a little torture? If the prisoners had been clothed and there hadn’t been any overt sexual content, if it had been just a story about run of the mill torture, would we have cared? This country loses its cornflakes over a “costume malfunction” at the Super Bowl and praises one dead solder as a hero for weeks on end (while ignoring the 750 other dead non-heros) because he gave up a million dollar football contract. What’s wrong with this picture and when are we going to wake up?

To the Chicago Tribune:
5/8/04

The contention by Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers that they had not seen “a complete set of the photos” of the tortures at Abu Ghraib prison until the night before their testimony in the Senate strains credulity. They were “informed of the content of the photos as far back as January,” yet couldn’t manage to actually get hold of any. This is reminiscent of the FBI not being able to get lists of student pilots before 9/11 because they didn’t have Internet access. These are the people responsible for our national defense and they can’t leap a few bureaucratic hurtles to get some lousy pictures? The dog ate my homework excuse doesn't wash. Mr. Rumsfeld has zero credibility after this latest blunder and clearly can no longer be an effective secretary of defense. He must resign for the good of the nation's security.

To the AJC:
5/07/04

“War’s realities make support a necessity,” [ May, 7] By saying, ” In every 1,000 troops there will be a few weak or bad apples,” the column seeks to minimize and excuse the torture committed by U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib. Yes, there are always “bad apples,” in any group, but the military in particular strongly discourages free agents and its very culture demands obedience, which is drilled into every privet’s head from the first day of boot camp. Where were the officers? Could it be no one thought they were doing anything wrong because their leaders were looking the other way, or even worse, actually encouraged it? Of course, “we should remember who is doing the dirty and dangerous work in Iraq,” no one would disagree. Why these abuses are so damaging is the very reason that they make the average GI’s life that much more dangerous and difficult.

To the Sun Sentinel:
5/03/04

The Sentinel is correct to urge a discussion of the possibility of a draft. Saying talk of a military draft is "so far…just that: talk," however, might not be quite true. Ralph Nader is quoted recently as saying, "the Pentagon is quietly recruiting new members to fill local draft boards;" which, if true, rather accelerates the urgency of a real dialogue on the subject. Besides all the excellent questions brought up in the editorial, though, the most important question was left out. If it's true "since the Sept. 11 assaults, a new era of warfare has dawned, this one against an unseen enemy on a global front," why then are we in Iraq in the first place, which had no link to global terrorism and no WMD? The only reason the draft is being discussed at all is because we've damaged our national defense to such an extent in this war of choice that we’ve painted ourselves into a corner with no other option but to begin conscription.

To the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel:
4/30/04

The Sentinel hits the issue, of hiding returning coffins, on the head when it says pundits think the, "Pentagon's motive has more to do with concerns that such coverage will impact public opinion." [Cloak of secrecy not respectful, April, 30] This outrageous policy has been done one better by a media company called Sinclair broadcasting (Executives of which have given $59,000 to the Bush/Cheney campaign) which will censor ABC's Nightline's showing the faces of all 720 GIs killed in Iraq, in many cities around the U.S. It is obvious partisans of the president are terrified the American people will begin to get a real idea of how steep the price being paid for Mr. Bush's war of choice truly is. I am sickened and angry about how this president has mislead and disrespected the soldiers fighting and dying in Iraq and am continually dumbfounded at how far this administration and its supporters will go to stay in power.

To the Palm Beach post:
4/29/04

I agree with the Post when it says “A crisis greater than terrorism would be the legal precedent that an administration can define justice to suit its needs.” [“Abuse of police power won’t defeat terrorism.” Editorial, April, 27] It is notable that until recent times the “terror” was usually regarded as a tactic waged by governments against their own citizens. (“The Terror” of the French revolution comes to mind.) Whatever the modern definition, however, terror is just a tactic, not something one fights a global war against. The larger context of this worldwide problem is political and no matter how many people the president locks up there will be no solution, until the issues of poverty, ignorance and religious intolerance are resolved. No doubt, if Robespeirre were alive today he’d be having secret consultations with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as well.

To the AJC:
4/28/04

I'm afraid James Silver's prediction of the draft's return, "unless the two leading presidential candidates change their views on what should be done in Iraq," will prove depressingly correct. ["Draft's return tough to fight." Forum, April, 28] Soon we're all going to be wondering how we got to this point so quick. It just seems like yesterday we were hearing Rumsfeld and Co. predicting cakewalks and Iraqi oil money paying for everything with a total cost to the taxpayer of only 1.7 billion dollars. Those were the days! Blood flows red regardless of party affiliation; is the spilling of it in Iraq for years to come really worth it? On such a crucial question as sending countless more young American men and women to die with no apparent end in sight, it is essential for both Mr.'s Kerry and Bush fess up and give it to us straight before the election.

To the Baltimore Sun:
4/28/04

Secrecy obsession offends democracy. It would be nice if the Pentagon would "come to its senses and relent" on the policy of suppressing photos of returning coffins from Iraq, but that is probably wishful thinking considering the level of paranoia and obsession with secrecy this administration displays on almost every matter pertaining to the people's business ("Downloaded," editorial, April 25). Hiding the tragic consequences of this wrongheaded war in Iraq from the American people is just another reminder that President Bush and his cabal of right-wing ideologues have no respect for our democratic institutions or for the sacrifice of some 700 brave soldiers to preserve those institutions.

To the Seattle Times:
4/26/04

Charles Krauthammer says, “Americans may be unsure whether Bush has a plan for success in Iraq. But they sure as hell know that going to U.N. headquarters, visiting foreign capitals and promising lots of jaw-jaw is no plan at all.” [“Kerry can’t be serious,” Commentary, April, 26] That makes sense. Let’s stick with the Bush plan to continue losing American troops every day and draining the treasury for as far as the eye can see. John Kerry might propose formally rejoining, “the community of nations and turn over a proud new chapter in America's relationship with the world," but the right course it to keep thumbing our noses at the world and insult the French. “What does Kerry think France will do for us?” He’s right. Let’s kick them out of Afghanistan, Haiti, Kosovo and Bosnia. We can handle all those tasks ourselves, we don’t need no stinkin’ French. “Americans are a serious people, war is a serious business,” this is why we need a serious policy, which is what the Bush administration does not have after a year of trying.

To the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
4/26/04

I agree with the AJC that “The two U.S. citizens being held with no charges and no trial present an even clearer case” of why the President must be prevented from trampling the Constitution. I cannot think of a more frightening development than the government being allowed to arrest and hold indefinably any American for as long as it wants without a lawyer or any charges ever being brought. Indeed, if the President, “ has the power to detain indefinitely prisoners of war and U.S. citizens and deny them basic human rights, then there is little difference between the U.S. president and any petty tyrant.” Fidel Castro cannot but relish the irony of that notion!

To the Chicago Tribune:
4/25/04
(I actually got a call on this one but they didn't publish it.)

Stanley Kuttler's Op-Ed "Powell's choice of action." [Opinion, April, 25] presents an excellent case when he says secretary of state Colin Powell should "resign now because he has been badly used, even ignored, by the administration," rather than continuing on to be paraded as the "Good Soldier." Mr. Powell ought to seriously consider resigning as his steadfast loyalty to this administration only undermines his reputation for honesty and integrity while lending a patina of credibility to policies he neither believes in nor supports.

To the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
: 4/25/04

In "Creeping takeover is mullahs strategy in Iraq." [Op-Ed, April, 24] Nassar Rahidi correctly warns of Iranian interference in the politics of Iraq. However, he ignores the fact that the United States overthrew a democratically elected Iranian government and installed a brutal dictatorship which eventually lead to its overthrow and the Islamic revolution, the consequences of which we are continuing to deal with today in both Iran and in Iraq.. No wonder then that, " The leaders of the Islamic Republic regime have another goal and that is to influence the U.S. elections." The overthrow of two regimes in countries on their eastern and western borders has put the mullah's back to the wall and they're reacting accordingly. Change in Iran must come from the Iranians themselves and threatening "regime change" by military force will only undermine the reformer's ability to convince their people they're not tools of the Bush administration.

To the San Francisco Chronicle:
4/25/04

G. Pascal Zachary says President "Bush may have credibility with American voters, but he has little or none with world leaders." This fact will not change while Mr. Bush remains president which will continue to prevent any solution in Iraq. If John Kerry is elected he will inherit an almost impossible situation that will require international credibility to try and solve. Ironically, while Mr. Kerry will no doubt have a much better relationship with world leaders ( It can't get any worse.) he might find support for his policies in Iraq undermined at home by a republican congress and a right wing media machine bent on revenge for his ousting of Mr. Bush. John Kerry's real quagmire might be right here in the U.S., not in Iraq.

To the Seattle Times:
4/24/04

Regarding "Israeli disengagement: a new step toward peace" [Op-ED, April ,23] Yossi Amrani claims, "Lacking a partner for negotiations does not mean that we have to endure more violence." Perhaps the lack of a negotiation partner might have something to do with Israel killing or incapacitating every Palestinian leader? To the Israelis "negotiating" is always through the barrel of a gun and one sided. Until a pliant puppet comes along who will accede to every demand of Israel there will be no peace in the Middle East. The only thing Israel is disengaging from is the fiction of the peace process.

To the Chicago Tribune:
4/24/04

Regarding the Editorial: "An athlete and a soldier" [April, 24] It is indeed very sad to hear about the recent passing of Pat Tillman. The coverage being given to this one soldier however is inappropriate considering there are over 800 families grieving also for loved ones lost in Afghanistan and Iraq.. The Tribune hits the nail on the head when it says, "Many Americans have put their normal lives on hold and then died in service to their country. If Tillman is looking on from the next world, he's probably annoyed to be getting so much attention." From what I've read of the man this is probably true. The quiet honor of Pat Tillman is in stark contrast to the "bring 'em on" bravado of the man who sent him to war.

To the San Francisco Chronicle:
4/24/04

On front pages all over the country and at the beginning of every news broadcast the story goes something like this, "two years ago, in the wake of Sept. 11, (Pat) Tillman turned away from fame and wealth, quitting the NFL to join the U.S. Army." [Pat Tillman face of sacrifice, April, 24] When is the last time any of the tens of thousands of reservists who have sacrificed jobs, larger salaries, a life with their spouses and children or ultimately their lives have been on the front page? Until this week there weren't even pictures of their coffins coming home. There's something wrong with a country that gives special attention to a soldier's death just because he was an athlete/entertainer. Five more GIs were killed today in Iraq, who were they and were their lives any less important or worthy of notoriety?

To the Boston Globe:
4/23/04

In "Oval office failure" [April, 23] Scot LeHigh says Saddam Hussein, "had a secret WMD program in the 1990s, a program which the 1995 defection of Hussein Kamel, the Saddam son-in-law in charge of that effort, helped reveal." In actuality what Kamel revealed was an elaborate effort to conceal the fact that there were no weapons programs after 1991. "All weapons--biological, chemical, missile, nuclear, were destroyed." Barton Gellman of the Washington Post has uncovered a secret memo sent to Qusay Hussein by the head of Iraq's National Monitoring Directorate, the liaison to the U.N. inspectors, laying this fact out in detail. The U.N. inspectors who interviewed Kemal and the CIA both discounted his account as being too unbelievable. Well before the Bush administration there was ample evidence supplied by the person responsible for the programs that Iraq had destroyed all of its banned weapons in 1991. Sometimes the absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

To the SF Chronicle:
4/23/04

Deputy Undersecretary of defense John Molino says of the policy to ban photos of flag-draped coffins, "Quite frankly, we don't want the remains of our service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice to be the subject of any kind of attention that is unwarranted or undignified." [Pentagon angered by release of photos of flag-draped coffins from mortuary, news story, April, 23] Perhaps this also explains why the "bring'em on" President hasn't been able to bring himself to attend not one of the over 700 funerals that have taken place since he started the Iraq war. What is really undignified is a leader who hides the consequences of his decisions from the people and himself.

To the Boston Globe:
4/22/04

Regarding the Editorial “Detainee’s Rights.” [April, 22] Of our Navy base in Cuba the Globe says, “Guantanamo is controlled by the United States under a perpetual lease, and Cuban law does not apply there.” Isn’t it ironic that these detainees would probably fair better under Cuban law than they are likely to under the U.S. Constitution.

To the New York Times:
4/21/04

It is telling that, as you report, "Mr. Bush told Mr. Woodward that he did not ask the secretary's opinion on whether to go to war because he thought he knew what that opinion would be: `no' " ("Airing of Powell's Misgivings Tests Cabinet Ties," front page, April 19). The idea that the president would keep the decision to go to war from the secretary of state while at the same time allowing the Saudi ambassador to know about the plan for invasion is shocking. What are we to think when the president of the United States trusts an official from a country that provided the majority of the 9/11 terrorists more than one of his own cabinet members?

To the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
4/21/04

According to expert witnesses before a Senate committee “U.S. troop levels and spending in Iraq will remain high for three to five years after Iraq becomes self-governing.” [Witnesses: No quick end to Iraq burdens, April, 21] When Iraq will become “self-governing” is anyone’s guess as the administration has yet to say whom exactly will be governing on June 30 or how they will govern when they do. Richard Perle, a fervent advocate for overthrowing Saddam Hussein since the 1990’s, said of our burden in Iraq, "If we could only get others to share it, it would significantly diminish the burden we have to carry. I think as a practical matter, that's highly unlikely." That’s rich coming from him now as one of the main architects of this disaster. Everything the American people were told about what was going to happen in Iraq has turned out to be totally false. With over 700 U.S. soldiers dead and many thousands more injured, an ongoing and continually escalating insurgency; the American people deserve a straight answer finally from President Bush: You got us into this mess, how are you getting us out?

To SF Chronicle:
4/21/04

In "Hurting our Arab friends" [Editorial, April, 21] the Chronicle is correct to say, King "Abdullah is not the only friendly Arab leader dismayed by Bush's abandonment of his "honest broker" role to court pro-Israel votes in his re- election campaign." Hosni Mubarak has also been put into an impossible position, trying to honor the pledge of peace with Israel while at the same time keeping a lid on the righteous anger of his long suffering people. Richard Perle, one of the masterminds behind the democratic domino theory in the Middle East, once said Mubarak was no great shakes either when it came to dictators in the region. If he didn't play along he might be next. King Abdullah and Hosni Mubarak are two reasons we're not watching Armageddon on CNN right now and it is extremely reckless to think we can do without their combined steady hand during the current self-inflicted crisis in the Arab world. Pehaps, we're missing the point, though. This has been part of President Bush's "Father's guiding hand" strategy for winning votes from American evangelicals and the Ayatollahs of Israel's religious right all along. Give them what they want. Who cares what history has to say? We'll all be dead anyway.

To the SF Chronicle:
4/20/04

The Chronicle has highlighted an enormously important point brought out by Bob Woodward’s new book questioning the propriety of secretly “diverting $700 million, allocated by Congress for operations in Afghanistan, to build pipelines and runways in Kuwait in preparation for an invasion of Iraq.” No matter how partisan this republican dominated congress may be, no administration, regardless of party affiliation, can be allowed to deliberately divert funds, specifically allocated to fighting one war, to prepare for a future war surreptitiously and get away with it. Our entire constitutional system, the most fundamental part being the separation of powers, will be irrevocably undermined, with the most dire consequences, if congress allows the Bush administration to get away this; without even as much as an investigation. (If not a call for impeachment.)

To the NY Times:
4/20/04

Regarding “Saudis Deny Hatching Secret Oil Deal With U.S.” [April 20] Bob Woodward says the Saudis had pledged to President Bush that “over the summer or as we get closer to the election, they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly." This shocking allegation added to the controversy over Saudi Prince Bandar getting a secret briefing on the invasion of Iraq even before the Secretary of State, the investigations into Saudi money laundering at Riggs bank and the Saudi airlift two days after 9/11 should all lead to a demand for a serious accounting by the Bush administration of how much of a role the Saudi influence plays on our policies related to our fight on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq. A good start would be to release the redacted 28 pages of the congressional 9/11 report on the Saudi connection to the attackers.

To the Boston Globe:
4/19/04

Regarding the news story “Rice disputes book on Iraq war.” [April, 19] Condoleezza Rice says Bob Woodward is wrong that the President decided to go to war in January of 2003; “He said, 'Now, I think we probably are going to have to go to war, we're going to have to go to war,' But that "was not a decision to go to war," she continued.” I fail to see the distinction. Condi Rice is really giving Bill Clinton a run for his money when it comes to legalistic hairsplitting. She truly is the queen of double-speak and dissembling.

To the AJC:
4/19/04

The article “Arab Media show no sign of being objective” [April, 19] is correct to point out that “Israelis have used enormous, even excessive force in dealing with the Palestinians.” Because the American media almost always omits this fact doesn’t make it any more objective. No doubt, there are many cases of the Arab media going overboard with their reporting, but I suspect much of the criticism leveled at it is more of a “shoot the messenger” reaction. Actually covering the third most powerful army in the world crushing a futile insurgency on a daily basis will not reflect well on the occupier no matter how it’s spun.

To Haaretz:
4/19/04

Regarding the article "A clear divide between good and evil" [April, 19] Stuart Cohen comments "In the past four years, the strategic cooperation between Israel and the United States has become the most stable factor on the Middle Eastern political map." Ironically, this "stable" relationship between Washington and Israel has proved to be enormously destabilizing for the rest of the Middle East. Since President Bush decided to back Israel no matter what, we have lost all credibility in the Islamic world. We now tend to be viewed as a mere puppet of that great "man of peace" Ariel Sharon. Gilad Atzmon has said America is "About to lose its sovereignty...becoming a remote colony of an apparently far greater state," the Jewish state. Phillip Zelikow, the executive director of our 9/11 commission and a top adviser to President Bush said in 2002 Iraq was no threat to the U.S. but that, "I'll tell you what I think the real threat [is] and actually has been since 1990 - it's the threat against Israel." What is good for Israel is not necessarily good for the U.S. Waging a war on the basis of good and evil is an incredibly simplistic and dangerous policy in the age of nuclear weapons. American has neither the resources nor the manpower to add all of Israel's enemies to ours. Until the United States adopts a more reasonable policy toward Israel, that at least gives the appearance of some backbone when it comes to standing up to Sharon, America will be allowing another country to dictate its foreign policy to its detriment.

To the Chicago Tribune:
4/19/04

Regarding the news story “Rice denies Iraq decision made early.” [April, 19] Condoleezza Rice when asked if Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia knew of the decision to go to war with Iraq before Secretary of State Colin Powell , answered, "I certainly knew, and I suspect that Colin would not have been surprised…” doesn’t exactly answer the question. When the vice President is giving the top-secret battle plan to a Saudi official and at the same time keeping the Secretary of State out of the loop on such an important issue, one has to wonder who is running our government.

To NY Times:
4/17/04

Regarding the news story "Copter Attack Kills Rantisi and Two Others in Gaza" [April, 17] The U.S.says no green light was given to Israel for the assassination of the Hamas leader Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi. It is also clear no red light was given either. Until the Bush administration starts threatening a cut off aid or insists that Israel honor the Arms Export Control Act, which doesn't authorize extra-judicial killings, the credibility of our "honest broker" status in the Middle East peace process will suffer. To the Atlanta Journal Constitution: 4/15/04 “Toll of Young Victims Grows” [April, 15] is an interesting look into the possible future of our occupation of Iraq. During the last three years of the present Intifada many hundreds of children have been killed and maimed by Israel, our staunch ally the Middle East, without much regard by the American people. Much like the Israeli public’s blindness to this horrible war on children we will no doubt somehow justify similar carnage in Iraq as a necessary cost of fighting terror and so too reap the whirlwind.

To the Boston Globe:
4/14/04

The Globe says "President Bush will need to exercise both firmness and subtlety when he receives Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today at the White House." [Limits on Bush, Sharon, Opinion, April, 14] This, of course, is a doubtful scenario considering Mr. Bush has never been able to display either ability when it comes to Mr. Sharon. Eventhough it is true "The territory that Sharon wants Bush to guarantee that Israel will never have to cede to a Palestinian state does not belong to the United States;" this is beside the point. The United States has attacked and occupied another nation without provocation, just as Israel did in 1967. Who are we now to tell the "Man of Peace" he cannot do what he wishes with his "facts on the ground?" In 1957 Dwight D, Eisenhower said of Israel's invasion of the Sinai, "Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory in face of United Nations disapproval be allowed to impose the conditions of its withdrawal? If we agree, then I fear we will have turned back the clock of international order." We are well beyond the days of any international order and no longer in control of our own foreign policy when it comes to Israel.

To the NY Times::
4/10/04

Today President Bush is at his ranch again in Crawford TX. while the most serious crisis in Iraq since the invasion rages. In August of 2001 Mr. Bush spent an entire month on vacation at his ranch, even after he was told of, "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks." [“Pre-9/11 secret briefing said that Quaeda was active in U.S,” April, 11] It is truly mind boggling that this administration could have been so lackadaisical in the face of such a serious threat from a group that had already shown its willingness and ability attack us in the past. Condoleezza Rice’s contention that "I don't remember the Al Qaeda cells as being something that we were told we needed to do something about," defies both credulity and common sense. A President who has spent forty percent of his presidency away from the White House and a National Security Advisor who can’t remember crucial details about the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, hardly lends itself to the impression of an engaged administration willing to move heaven and earth to prevent Sept. 11.

To the Detroit Free Press:
4/09/04

Regarding the editorial “Hopes for smooth transition ambushed by reality: ”[April, 9] No doubt, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld hopes the fighters battling US troops “remain a small minority of Iraqis.” Whether this is actually true or not is yet to be seen. Certainly, the plan to retain in Iraq an extra 25,000 GIs who were previously departing belies that assertion. With every passing hour it becomes more apparent open warfare, if not entirely consuming the country yet, has commenced and we are in a heap of trouble over there. Both the Bush administration’s arrogance and ignorance is breathtaking in its scope. From the moment Saddam Hussein’s government fell, there has been an endless parade of errors and missteps that boggles the imagination. “Our intelligence sources who promised weapons of mass destruction,” mainly Ahmad Chilabi and his Iraqi National Congress band of charlatans and misfits, will go down as the biggest con men in history and Rumsfeld and CO. as the world's biggest suckers.

To the NY Times:
4/09/04

Not only was Condoleezza Rice "utterly unconvincing when she tried to portray Al Qaeda as anything approaching a top concern for the White House [Editorial, "The Rice Version," April, 9] but she also left many questions unanswered about what she knew regarding planes being used as missiles. She stated in her testimony that the August 6th briefing item relating to terrorists hijacking planes was "not prompted by any specific threat information. And it did not raise the possibility that terrorists might use airplanes as missiles." This may be true as far as that particular briefing is concerned, but along with numerous similar warnings discovered by the commission, there was also a specific threat to kill the President by crashing a plane into the July 2001 summit of the Group of 8 nations prompting Italian authorites to close the airspace over Genoa and ring the meeting with anti-aircraft guns. This could have not gone unnoticed by the National Security Advisor at the time and it raises questions about why she said in 2002 "I don't think anybody could have predicted that...they would try to use an airplane as a missile." She has since told the commission she "misspoke" regarding that statement but has not explained what prompted her to say it in the first place if she knew it wasn't true. This crucial inconsistency in the Rice Version was not adequately pursued by the commission and brings into doubt not only Ms. Rice's credibility but also how thorough the final report on Sept.11 will be.

To the New York Times:
4/07/04

To the Editor, In his Op-Ed “Two Front Insurgency” [April, 7] William Safire displays a profoundly uninformed misreading of the situation now occurring in Iraq. Using “Whatever military force is required” is not an answer to the incredibly complex problem now facing us. So far our heavy-handed tactics have garnered sympathy for the insurgency and condemnation from our Shiite allies. A perfect prescription for a regional wide disaster, however, would be to act on his suggestion to give Kirkuk to the Kurds as their regional capital, their “Jerusalem,” and then ask Turkey to help us with the fight against the insurgency. Mr. Safire’s strange assertion that the Kurds have patched up their differences with Ankara defies reality. Well before the invasion, Turkish generals were threatening to enter Iraq with, or without, U.S. approval to prevent the Kurds from declaring Kirkuk their capital. This has been the long-standing national security policy of Turkey. It has not changed. Safire assures us though, the Kurds will “withdraw their ill-considered earlier objection” to 10,000 Turkish troops entering Iraq. Based on what, I would ask? No Iraqi Shiite or Sunni and particularly no Kurd, would tolerate Turkey reentering Iraq under any circumstances. If the idea is to unite the Iraqi people against us, I can think of no better way. Such a scenario would almost assuredly also bring in Iran and Syria, which could only end in a conflagration of biblical proportions. This is the same type of ignorance of the realities on the ground in Iraq that got us into this mess in the first place.

To the Boston Globe:
4/07/04

To the Editor, Thomas Oliphant says “President Bush's oil-soaked administration easily qualifies as the most flagrant bunch of petroleum business shills.” [Blatant Bush tilt toward big oil, Op-ED, April, 6] When your daddy has done business with the Bin Ladens, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. is so close to the family he’s nicknamed “Bandar-Bush,” your National Security Adviser had an oil tanker named after her, and your vice-President was the CEO of an oil services company that just happened to get a gigantic non-bid contract in Iraq, a country with the second largest supply of petroleum in the world… Yes, I’d say Mr. Oliphant might have a point. All you SUV lovers out there, put two and two together. Bush plus Saud; equals over $2 a gallon. To the New York Times: 4/6/04 To the Editor, Regarding the Editorial: "Terror in Tashkent" [April, 5] The Times is correct to say Washington should "Push the government in Tashkent to keep its promises of democratic reforms." Being a partner in the global war on terror should not allow Islam Karimov to flaunt international human rights standards. However, it will take more than preventing abuses in Uzbekistan to convince the people of the region our avowed mission to spread democracy is genuine. Rather than Deputy under-Secretary of State Richard Armitage congratulating Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan for his “strong showing” in an election that was condemned by international observers as rigged, Aliyev should be pushed to release his political opponents and hold free and fair elections. Leaders of the region will not have missed the significance of the U.S. looking the other way as General Perves Musharraf in Pakistan solidified his coup and proliferated nuclear and missile technology around the world, all the while vowing to fight terror. Vladimir Putin in Russia has been playing the “war on terrorism” card in Chechnya since Sept. 11 with hardly a peep from the Bush administration. Ultimately, until the invasion of Iraq starts looking less like an occupation and more like the shining example of democracy in the Middle East, American’s credibility around the world will continue to suffer for lack of a consistent policy.

To the Los Angeles Times:
4/5/04
(Published, link gone.)

To the Editor, Regarding the Editorial “Tripoli Can Show the Way:” [April, 5] The Times is correct in saying, “Neither Britain nor the U.S. can forget that it was Libya that killed 270 people by blowing up a Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988." However, it might be more accurate to say Moammar Kadafi killed 270 people. (Osama Bin Laden killed 3000 Americans, Afghanistan didn’t.) Rather than Kadafi giving up his WMDs though, U.S. firms lining up to do business with him and Royal Dutch/Shell's plans for his liquefied gas would tend to explain better the sudden willingness of Bush and Blair (the great haters of dictators and terrorists) to let bygones be bygones.

To the Miami Herald:
4/5/04

Regarding the Op-ED "Serving the Country Admirably." [April,5] David S. Broder writes the commission investigating the Sept.11 attacks, "Is proving to be everything one could hope for in this delicate but critical role." Everyone certainly hopes this is the case. However, the Executive Director of the body, Peter Zelikow, has made some startling statements about the invasion of Iraq that might call this premise into question. While a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) in 2002 he made a speech at the University of Virginia in which he said, "Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat [is] and actually has been since 1990 - it's the threat against Israel," This he said, "Is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don't care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell," These statements raise serious concerns about his impartiality in this inquiry. At a time when questions are being asked about what the President did and did not know about Iraq's WMDs and pre-9/11 intelligence, Mr. Zelikow should resign from this critically important investigation and explain what he did and did not know about the reasons for going to war in Iraq.

To the New York Times:
4/5/04

Regarding "Uneven Response Seen On Terror in Summer 2001" [Front Page, April 4] It is noted "The White House's impulse to deal more forcefully with terrorist threats within the United States peaked July 5 and then leveled off until Sept. 11." Perhaps, part of the explanation for this leveling off was the intervening 30-day August vacation the President took in Crawford TX. No doubt, after a long seven months in office of un-signing Kyoto, preparing to renounce the ABM treaty and uncrating what used to be an EP-3 spy plane from China, among other successes, the President felt he deserved a month off. Unfortunately, at the same time Mohamed Atta was drinking beer on Hollywood Beach, Florida, finalizing plans for death and destruction from the air.

To the Washington Times:
4/03/04

To the Editor, The Times Editorial “The Mailed Fist…Where Necessary” [April, 2] claims, ”As agents of order and justice,” we must apply, “The mailed fist…in cold blood,” as part of a “measured response” to the attacks last week in Falluja. Lest we forget, the United States attacked Iraq without provocation and now occupies it; a brutal, cold blooded act in itself. What order and justice are we agents for if we flaunt international law by invading a sovereign nation? The analogy of a mailed fist is apt only if we are speaking of medieval retribution and not liberating the people of Iraq, which is what we were all told this war was all about. (Never mind those missing WMDs)

To the New York Times:
4/01/04

Regarding the Article, "Feeling Grief Half a World Away:" [ April,1] The attack in Falluja on the civilian contractors from Blackwater Security Consulting is described as, "One of the most brutal anti-American demonstrations seen since the war in Iraq began." Similar incidents are a daily occurrence all over Iraq, although most don't come with the graphic camera shots and not all are on Americans. This will come as no surprise to the average Iraqi who has suffered since March 2003 through itchy-fingered GIs at road blocks, car bombs, drive-by shootings, and the targeted assassinations of suspected collaborators with the American occupation. No matter how the 600 American GIs or the thousands of Iraqi civilians have died, their deaths were all brutal and barbaric. Lest we forget, there is still a war going on over there. Now might be a good time for the families of those who have died in Iraq to ask President Bush when all our people will be coming home.