Letters to the Editor:

War for All the Wrong Reasons


There is little question that the portrait US citizens have of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is highly political and propagandized. It is not just the lack of visual “portraits” taken by responsible photo-journalists; it is also the lack of honest appraisals on the editorial and op-ed pages as well as the wire service reports of the mainstream press and broadcast media.

Photos from Vietnam helped bring that conflict to a belated climax, and the words of returning veterans spoke a kind of truth that broke through the official smokescreen. Whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsburg enabled citizens to penetrate behind the walls of secrecy and obfuscation. Even necessary wars, or ones for a “just cause” have unintended and unpleasant consequences. Our present war in Iraq for all the wrong reasons--oil and empire; globalization and cultural hegemony; arrogance and hubris--is more unambiguously without moral justification.

Hamid Karzai, as Westernized and corporate friendly a leader as we are likely to find again, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times on the subject of the abuse of Afghan prisoners by American jailers: “it is only one or two individuals who are bad.....no operations inside Afghanistan should take place without the consultation of the Afghan government.” On the one hand he is excusing the torture for his American overlords; on the other, he decries it for his Pashtun audience.

It is far more than one or two bad apples, and the world knows this. We put unstable, ill-trained, untested raw recruits with little learning and limited life experiences in situations where all they can revert to is clan loyalty, displaying total confusion as to how they are to behave to please their ranking leaders.

In Vietnam it led to a considerable outbreak of “fragging”--the unauthorized elimination of leaders who, themselves might have been pushed over the edge mentally.

Karzai’s other plea for “consultation” is typical of an occupied country with a caretaker, puppet regime nominally in charge. Of course, it is only in Kabul that central government functions at all, thanks to full-time bodyguards provided by American security firms. Karzai may be able to consult on torture techniques the same way Democrats can consult on judicial nominees, but in the end it is the seat of empire (otherwise known as the White House) that calls the shots. You can either cooperate or “compromise” and retain some semblance of dignity, or you can fight it and lose everything. The Iraqis are also in the process of learning this the hard way.

America is not yet fully awake to the greater threat.

J. Russell Tyldesley
Catonsville, Md.
Finally! British Memo makes it into US Media--16 days late!


Finally! The British Memo that was exposed in the London Sunday Times on May 1--over two weeks ago!--made it into the Mainstream US Media! This explosive memo proved without a doubt (despite Whitehouse spokesman Mc Clellan's tepid denials) that, even as Bush was emphatically announcing to Americans that he had no intention of rushing to war with Iraq without all other options examined first, ("I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary") and BEFORE having ever consulted Congress, he was in fact already planning the war with Prime Minister Blair. Not only that, there was the understanding that they would have to tailor a "just cause" to fit their warmongering plans. The memo makes clear that Bush had already decided on the war and intelligence facts were "being fixed around the policy."

Why did this explosive story take so long to make it into the American media? I myself wrote to many major news sources alerting them of this Memo back on May 9, after waiting and wondering what had happened to the story that so many of us on the Internet had been discussing for days already! Who knows how long this story would have stayed submerged without the Internet!?

So, here we are, fellow Americans: how much more evidence do we need of this administration's criminal collusion in deceiving us into an illegal and immoral war, and all the attendant Crimes on Humanity, destruction and death, moral and monetary bankruptcy it has engendered?

Here is our lying Secretary of State, Condeleeza Rice, just this Sunday in Iraq, still brazenly talking as if none of these revelations about NO WMD's and NO Iraqi involvement in 9/11 weren't accepted FACT by now! "This war CAME TO US," she mouthed ernestly, adding the familiar rhetoric about 9/11 and terrorism--all still implicating Iraq's involvement--that she so often parrotted with Bush et al while they were busy selling us this MESS we're in now! We Americans should be demanding, with the rest of the world, that they ALL be brought up on criminal charges for lying about the most serious of all governmental actions, starting an unprovoked WAR!

Impeachment is entirely too mild a response to such agregious crimes, committed not just by one errant leader/figurehead, by by the entire serpentine Neocon Cabal that has hijacked this country.

Bia Winter
Ms. Winter writes from Maine.
Let's Starve the Beast


When Republicans talked of "Starving the Beast" they meant our national entitlement system of services to the public; everything from public schools and medicare, to welfare for the poor. According to party bigwig Grover Norquist, their plan is to starve it until it was the size that they could "drown in a bathtub" (the proverbial throwing the baby out with the bathwater). The spending bill just passed by the Republican-controlled Congress certainly reflects this, as does their plan to further indemnify our future so they can privatize Social Security and continue tax breaks for the rich.

The "Beast" we really need to starve is this brutal Right-wing Hegemony of relentless Greed and Power that has already gripped this nation and drowned our Democracy in the process, sending our youth to bloody wars of Empire and squandering our nation's wealth to enrich the powerful few. This Beast will suck the working people of this country dry, even of our last shred of self-respect as a Species, just before sending us all down the drain! They would rather open our borders to aliens than raise the minimum wage. In their grip, we will be swept helplessly from one war to another, as the privileged get richer and the rest become cannon fodder....

The time to stand against this is long overdue. We must shun everything that feeds the Beast. Its fuel is Money and Fear; we must learn to spend less, especially at Big Box stores run by big corporations, like WalMart, that buy mostly overseas and pay their workers so poorly they can hardly afford to shop elsewhere. Barter goods and services from your neighbors whenever possible, Make your own holiday gifts or buy locally, even if it's a few dollars more. Buy good used items instead of new ones from China. Sell your gas-guzzling SUV and drive something cheaper to run, then drive less. Do not let fear silence you in demanding a more just and caring government. Use the Rights guaranteed in the Constitution or they will wither. Demand Election Reform, Universal Health Care, and a Living Wage. Speak out against war. Withhold taxes. Starve the Beast, before WE become his ultimate Banquet!

Bia Winter
Ms. Winter, a graduate of Baltimore's Maryland Institute College of Art, resides in Maine.
Giuliani in 2008?


The Bush administration wants to get the matter of the Kerik nomination behind them as quickly as possible--“Federal background check on Kerik turns up a secret third marriage” (Sun 12/14). They want to “move on.” They don’t want a person heading security who is himself a security risk.

We are used to the boundless incompetence of the Bush administration, so nominating a man who was able to keep a five-year marriage secret, even in his own autobiography, would seem, on the surface, to be exactly the kind of person that would fit in with the current staple of miscreants. However, it was a nanny problem, and not a bigamy problem, that did him in, and White House spokesperson Scott McClelland would rather not dwell on such matters, what with an illegal war to fight etc. Better to give “Freedom” medals to war criminals, as a classic misdirection strategy.

Anyway, lost in all this is that Kerik was Giuliani’s boy and highly recommended by him for the position of Homeland Security Secretary. Is everyone asleep at the switch? Is Giuliani incompetent enough to qualify as President, or do we need more proof?

J. Russell Tyldesley

Catonsville, Md.


What's that around our necks?

An old farmer I once knew had a dog that used to kill chickens. He found a way to break his dog of that habit. The method was to take one of the chickens the dog had killed and wire the corpse around the dog's neck, good and strong. Leave it until that dead chicken stinks so bad the dog won't be able to stand himself. Leave it on there until the last bit of flesh rots off and that dog will not kill another chicken.

The Bush administration and the Republican ogres in Congress are going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. If the Democratic party is fool enough to face the Republicans with waffling doormats like Senators Kerry and Daschle, we'll be blessed with many more years of privatizing social security, permanent tax cuts for the rich, abolition of the estate tax, removing women's right to choose, tearing down the wall separating church and state, trashing environment and sending our precious youth off to kill and die for corporate profits.

Kerry let his supporters down in his concession speech; he told us to cave in to Bush and his henchmen. He said: “in the days ahead, we must find common cause, we must join in the common effort, without anger or rancor.”

Without anger or rancor?

Common cause with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Wolfowitz?

No sale!

We progressives will not sulk, give in to depression or leave the country. We will fight the odious policies of this administration, recalling the line from Pablo Neruda: “America, I do not call your name without hope.”

Gerald Ben Shargel
RE: Did Bush Lose the Election?

Thanks for publishing what many of us that worked the lines in battleground states have felt since the "results" were provided to the country Nov. 2. There is now a growing and substantial list of suspicious activity, bizarre results, and documented disenfranchisements surrounding the elections. In each case I have seen documented of "vote irregularities," they have always shifted to Bush--which alone is extraordinary.

But, even more extraordinary has been the media's silence on even raising the legitimate questions on the disparity between the normally deadly accurate exit polls and the "official results." And, now, in the Ukraine, these same types of recently discredited exit polls (except for, ironically, the core issue of moral values, where the same polls were spot-on correct) are being brandished as proof of fraud. This may be the most bizarre twist yet, of what seems sure to be an increasingly unsettling post-election season. Staying tuned....


Joseph Finn
Las Vegas
Media Lockdown on Voter Fraud

Let's remember that there is a REASON that the founding fathers put the "freedom of the press" in the First Amendment...because they realized that our nation RELIED on a "free press" to make the nation work as a Democracy. In other words, the nation fails if the "free press" fails...

Apparently this is exactly what is happening. I got a notice on Friday, 11/12, that a Media Lockdown appeared to have been ordered about the massive Voter Fraud being discovered and tabulated by mathematicians--a STORY, if ever there was one, that all the rest of the world has been talking about for over a week now!

The tip came from a person who works as a producer for news programs on CBS, who said journalists are horrified, and worried about their jobs and reputations. One anchor, Keith Oberman of MSNBC, brought it up on his show Friday night, and immediately the axe came down!

At this point the only way that the "real news" was going to be known is if the people started talking about it and made a big enough stink about it to our elected officials, the FEC, and "noise" to the international media, that our own media won't have any choice but to cover it. The only place you'll see this talked about in the US right now is on the internet and on AirAmericaRadio, the producer said.

What we're seeing here is the classic run-up to the Fascism, folks! They've got a lock on our media and have hijacked our democracy, the very same one our soldiers (and countless--because they refuse to count them or let us know--Iraqi civilians) are DYING for over there, as they're spending our national wealth like a bunch of power-drunk sailors!

Significant evidence suggests this election was rigged, with a capital R, and the people of OHIO know it, have been storming the state house, giving depositions, naming names, but getting no press because, folks, the media no longer belongs to, works for, or cares about, the people. (Pretty much just like Bush's government!) Forget the truth: they have been instructed to shut up ..and maybe all the questions about this crooked election will go away!

Why is it, for instance, that in every "swing" state where races were close, the Exit Polls, which have historically been amazingly accurate (If someone asked who you voted for, would you tell them the opposite? Most people are pretty much proud of how they voted), all went to Kerry, while tabulations favored Bush? This happened in Ohio despite the defective machines, "spoiled" and thrown-out ballots, illegal culling of registrants before the vote, and many other methods including voter intimidation.

People need to demand a full accounting, if not a RE-counting, and maybe a whole new election for the states where fraud is proven. Don't wait for the media, which urgently needs to address this, unless they want to be licking our new rulers' boots for the rest of their careers! Call or write your Congresspeople-- it's their job to listen to you! Voting is our biggest say in the government that rules us, taxes us, and sends our children to war. They tell us We the People own it (and we will surely be judged by history accordingly!), so let's start acting like we do and demand that we get the voting and the counting right!< p> After all, "democracy" that does not reflect the true will of the people is worthless. Before we let them shove it down the throats of others in the world, in our name, we'd better get it right at home first, or we may also be choking on Bush's "Freedom."

Bia Winter
Mt.Vernon, Maine
Copyright © 2004 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on November 23, 2004.