Letters to the Editor
Rocky Road to Peace
A friend asks if I
share his enthusiasm for the Bush “road-map” for
Israeli-Palestinian peace. There seems to be no other game in town, but I
can take little encouragement from it. Here’s why.
The road-map’s main provision holds that the
Palestinian Authority (PA), now under the leadership of Prime Minister Abu
Mazen Mahmoud Abbas, must suppress Palestinian terrorist groups. This
proposition presupposes that the Abu Mazen is able to muster the will and
the popular Palestinian support to do so. All other provisions are
subordinated to this one provision, and the presupposition upon which it
This proposition raises three fundamental questions:
1. Is the new PA
able to suppress Hamas; Palestine Islamic Jihad; the Aqsa Martyrs’
Brigade, and the various other secular rejectionist parties and
factions?....I’d guess the answer is “no.” Everyone wants
peace, or course, but on acceptable terms. I see a good bit of evidence to
suggest that most Palestinians believe (to my mind wrongly, but firmly)
that nothing but continued, armed pressure will bring Israel to concede
what Palestinians must have.
2. Will the
Palestinian terrorist groups have the will and the strength to mount
serious resistance to an attack by the PA? I’d guess the answer is
“yes,” at least for a substantial period of time—with a
substantial cost of life, limb and property. They have proven their
capacity to continue operations against an Israel much stronger than the PA
can ever be, and the leaders of the above-mentioned organizations have
stated, both publicly and often, that any PA attempt to disarm them will
lead to Palestinian civil war. Many Palestinian commentators believe it
will. (Let us not forget that right-wing Israeli groups also state that
attempts to dismantle the settlements and disarm the settlers will lead to
Israeli civil war.)
3. How would the US
and Israeli respond to a Palestinian civil war? I’d guess the US
would wring its hands and bewail the situation, but do nothing. I’d
guess the Sharon government would be delighted and might even join in.
Many Arab commentators today suggest that the
“road-map” is a calculated plot to instigate a Palestinian
civil war, just as the US instigated Iraq’s war with Iran and the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. If the Palestinians decimate themselves, they
say, Sharon will be able to achieve Ben Gurion’s dream of a Greater
Israel without further cost to Israel. And, George Bush knows it.
I tend not to be a conspiracy buff. But, calculated or
not, a Palestinian civil war could well be a way station on the road-map to
an ugly Mid-East peace, whether the terminus is a Greater Israel or
Peter D. Molan, Ph.D.
A USDOD Middle East Analyst (retired), Dr. Molan is a
member of Veterans for Peace, Baltimore.
Questions for Press
You make a good point
on the Embedded “In Bed With” Journalists [May issue]. In my
view, the only real journalist in Iraq got fired and sent home.
Here are some more questions for the mainstream press:
Where is the body count in Iraq?
Where is the list of wounded and crippled?
Where is the former Iraqi Army?
Here is a guesswork estimate based on some known (or
From Armed Forces
We dropped 29,000 bombs
We Fired 700 Cruise missiles
We fired at least 30,000 rounds of artillery
We fired estimated 12,000 copter rockets
We fired a millions small arms rounds
If each high explosive killed only one person, where
are the reports?....For each killed, how many wounded? Probably triple the
number that were killed. Where are they? Where is the bodycount for the
machine gun and rifle fire, or the count on those wounded by these small
arms? 100,000? 200,000?
Why no reporting on this carnage? The only reports are
100 or so Americans killed and a couple hundred wounded—most by
friendly fire or accidents.
....These are just a few questions I think someone
needs to answer. Why not ask one of the “In Bed With”
Keep probing. The American public needs to know about
this. Just how much in lives and dismemberment did the Iraqi people pay for
their right to live in chaos and horror?
Battle Creek, Mich.
It’s So Absurd
What a theatre of the
absurd! We are treated to the spectacle of Bush’s flashy
Hollywood-style entrance onto the aircraft carrier staged to look like it
was out on the open sea instead of a few miles from the San Diego
shore—this, from a man who shirked his duty and went AWOL for about a
year while others died in Viet Nam!
All sham, like his recent speech trying to convince us
that he’s not really trying to give the store away to the rich, where
those standing behind him were asked to take off their ties so they’d
look more like “ordinary guys”—with all appearances in
front of select audiences: only those willing to bark and clap like trained
seals may apply! And did anyone else notice that backwards flag, with the
field of stars in the upper right? I’ve seen it a few times now, including on this
appearance. Goodness, do you suppose there’s some sort of subliminal
Then Tom Delay, “the Hammer,” tries to
mis-use the Homeland Security forces to track down the Texas Dems who, in
protest of his gerrymandering scheme, left the state....
And now this obscene tax-cut giveaway to the rich
narrowly passes, with our oily vice Prez leaping out of the limousine to further embellish
his ignoble role in
history with this infamous tie-breaking vote in the
Senate—with some pathetic turncoat Democrat, and it wasn’t even
...Will the outrages never cease? What kind of
sicko B-grade movie are we living in these days!?
Ms. Winter, formerly of Baltimore and a grad of
Maryland Institute College of Art, now resides in Maine.
Treatment in Iraq
If you’ve heard
or read any of the stories about how the civilian wounded in Iraq were
“treated,” you’ll know the survivors are envying the dead
Legs and arms amputated without anesthetic.
Limbs thrown onto piles to be dealt with later.
Weeks later still no morphine for pain.
No medical equipment or supplies.
Daily temperatures over 100 degrees.
No air conditioning.
And what would it take to airlift a few of the
operating rooms sitting in our military warehouses, all boxed up and ready
How difficult would it be to deliver adequate morphine
to at least relieve the suffering? Hell, even our drug companies would be
in favor of that one.
But Empire can’t be bothered.
And we are comfortable.
But—what about taking a page from the
military’s own psy-ops warfare manual? How about an audio clip of
people crying out in pain?? Run it on a tape loop and play it over and over
again outside every local congressional office in the land.
Let these people at least hear what they’ve done.
Or something more graphic? It’s time to break out
the blood and body parts and dump a few buckets in those offices.
For background, Mr. Ferner refers readers to this story
in the Christian Science Monitor: http:
Neo-Con Chop Shop
The neo-con chop shop:
They’re carjacking America and stripping her for parts.
Every morning when we turn on the hot
water and it actually comes out of the tap, let’s be really grateful.
And when we flip a switch in the kitchen and the light actually comes on,
let’s be all appreciative and pleased.
Then let’s all go out and kiss our
SUVs, admire our schools and take one last loving look at our freeways,
hospitals and parks.
Why? Because we may not have these
luxuries much longer. America is being systematically stripped by the
neo-cons as surely as if it were a Beemer left overnight in a bad part of
It is sad enough that America’s
infrastructure is being picked clean by corporate malfeasants—but the
truly sad part is that Americans are actually helping these crooks out. We
are leaving our keys in the ignition, our car doors open and our purses
sitting on the front seat.
We need to start paying closer attention here, America.
Declare War on War
We might as well face
up to it, war doesn’t seem to work. Long ago we had
the War to End All Wars, and it didn’t. Then
there was World War II, the sequel. Didn’t seem to fix things either,
nor did others too numerous to mention.
And apart from military conflicts, we have also had a
number of civilian wars. We have had the War on Crime, but we still have
crime. We have had the War on Poverty, and we still have poverty. Also the
War on Drugs, and we still have drugs. And now we have the War on
Terrorism, and I suspect that long after I have left this world, there will
still be terrorism.
Perhaps it’s time for a new approach. Suppose we
declared War on War, and insisted our leaders find ways to cooperate and
work together instead of sending their young people out to kill each other?
We could even set up a worldwide organization to facilitate that, and give
it the same level of financial and moral support we have given to our wars.
Who knows? It might just work.
Mr. Jedrick writes from Ellicott City, MD.
Iraq: What Next?
Prior to the US war in
Iraq, few people harbored any illusions about the behavior and intentions
of the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein. Nonetheless, President
Bush’s rushed initiative tragically undermines the theory of a just
war and will lead to a proliferation of war and other acts of aggression.
Already this prediction is beginning to unfold. Buoyed
by their apparent success in Iraq, the US is now issuing subtle threats
against Syria, Iran and other so-called rogue regimes like Sudan and Libya.
While the Iraqi people have been freed from the
oppression of Saddam Hussein, they continue to suffer, now at the hands of
US expropriation. It is, for example, no secret how America’s
formidable military machine was able to quickly seize control of all the
Iraqi oil wells and the Ministry of Oil Building in Bagdad but were unable
to protect—despite being forewarned—the irreplaceable heritage
of a proud Iraqi people housed in the Iraq National Museum. It is now known
that American troops were among those allowed to ransack museums, burn
archives, and pillage libraries.
It is likely that the US will be in Iraq for many
years—even decades. History shows that the development of democracy
is a gradual, evolutionary process. In fact, since the fall of the Ottoman
empire and after the period of colonialism—when the Arab states were
created—there has been a continuous and difficult search for the
proper balance between politics and religion in Arab countries. A
nation’s people cannot just change its attitudes and mentality
Adding to the growing consensus of US dominance in the
region is the reluctance on the part of the US to allow the United Nations
to take the lead in rebuilding Iraq. To counteract such suspicions, the US
will likely establish a legitimate government in the weeks ahead that will
attempt to conceal in the world’s eyes the reality of an American
military presence. The Arab nations, however, are bracing themselves. Due
to growing anti-American sentiment, extremist groups are said to be
Lost in the shuffle—a thorn in the side of the US
as an altruistic liberator—is the fact that throughout the world, in
over 30 countries, millions of lives are being lost through armed conflict.
Since 1998 there have been over 3 million lives lost as a result of
fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone.
Evidence continues to mount, then, in the war’s
aftermath, that America’s primary objective in Iraq was to gain
control of the oil as well as the Middle East region.
Do other nations really want the US to be the
world’s lone enforcer? Is this not a time to revisit the concept of a
You talk of supporting our troops. I don’t know
anyone who doesn’t pray for the well-being and safe return of our
troops. But what will they come back to:
Loss of jobs, budget cuts that force the states to cut
education for their children, cuts in the budget on the environment and
ecology controls—so that their children are more apt to suffer from
asthma and toxins in their water and food, cuts in the health care they
will need (Bush has even cut funds to veterans hospitals). and a huge
deficit to cover the revenue lost in tax rebates to the ultra-rich
(including the corporations that have moved their financial documents to
tax havens—and put the financial burden of supporting our troops on
the returning troops and their children).
Bush has lied to us every time he has proposed a
program. Even as he proclaims our benefits, he has in mind the budget cuts
for the funds needed to implement those programs. He took those troops from
their homes and families to protect us from Hussein’s
‘biological and nuclear weapons’. He and Rumsfeld had
‘absolute proof’ of their existence. But now that we have
complete access to all of Iraq—where are the weapons? Did he
fabricate the “evidence?!”
America, the administration is deceiving you and
manipulating your will and, in the process, rescinding your civil
liberties. Wake up before you become comatose!
Mr. Perril writes from Northwest Baltimore. He
identifies himself as a member of Veterans for Peace, Baltimore.
For the third year in
a row, the Maryland State Board of Education is attempting to insert
“sexual orientation” somewhere in the public schools’
Last year the Board tried adding “sexual
orientation” to the schools’ multicultural regulations, but
minorities didn’t buy the argument that sexual preference is
equivalent to race.
So now the Board will vote on whether to add
“sexual orientation” to the schools’ safety standards
regulation. But the regulations already provide for the safety of
“all students in Maryland’s public schools without
exception.” (See COMAR School Safety 13A.04.05.05-1.) So why the
We wish the Board’s unrelenting zeal to add gays
to our children’s education regulations would also extend to ex-gays.
Ms. Griggs is executive director of PFOX—Parents
& Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays, based in Fort Belvoir VA.
When Bush wanted to
invade Iraq, he yelled, “Weapons of mass Destruction!” When he
wanted to give the rich a tax break, he hollered, “To create more
jobs!” Now that he wants to cut down the forests, he shouts,
“To save the forests!”
Where are you, America?
Mr. Kielian writes from San Francisco, Ca.
Daisy Chain of Death
In a recent Sun article,
“Unending unemployment” (5/19/03), a professor argues for a
more realistic rate of unemployment being pegged at 10.1%. I agree, but it
is still a statistic that masks an underlying “employment”
problem of far greater magnitude.
We have 6 million working age people collecting
disability, and we have another several million in the penal system either
incarcerated or on supervised probation.
Then, without even considering the outright horror of
minimum wage jobs, and dangerous and/or polluting industries that are
ultimately unsustainable, we have to consider the military/security
component of the workforce. With 2 million uniformed soldiers and a cottage
industry of outsourced, privatized training, consulting and security
companies, and the huge defense contracting firms and all the
sub-contractors and vendors that depend on military spending, a strong
argument can be made that we need wars, terrorism and threats of same in
order for our economy to survive.
We essentially export the instruments of war only to
destroy them later in combat. It is the daisy chain of death that ended the
Great Depression with the jobs created by WWII. When unemployment
approaches 20%, most third world nations tend towards revolution. In the
US, we have a buffer with unemployment insurance and accumulated wealth to
J. Russell Tyldesley
Mr. Tyldesley, a business executive, resides in
Catonsville, Md. He recently published a book, A
Democratic Manifesto: 95 Theses for Radical Reformation of Democratic
Look at Root Causes
With a record large
number of bankruptcies being filed in the United States, it is time to
address the root causes. Soon after the age of 18, many young adults begin
to receive unsolicited credit card applications. These are offers of credit
with absolutely no determination of the person’s ability (or desire)
to pay back the debt. Most high school curriculums do not contain courses
on financial management and media advertising is quick to promote immediate
gratification. Consequently, a large number of young adults start down the
path of credit card reliance which ultimately leads to bankruptcy.
The primary reason working adults use credit cards is
because it is convenient and/or serves as a means of spending future
earnings. But if one loses their job or is unable to work because of
illness or injury, bankruptcy becomes the alternative.
Consumer credit counseling agencies have now become the
last line of defense before someone files bankruptcy. Consumers are
informed by these agencies that if they agree to funnel a
“reduced” payment through them, all the debt enrolled in the
program will be paid off in five years. This is because the credit card
companies are mailed a “proposal” outlining the person’s
present financial condition including their ability to pay back the debt.
The credit card company then “accepts” the proposal and begins
receiving payments at a lower interest rate. This works well for those
consumers who are less than 90 days delinquent, as the creditors will
“re-age” the account and soon begin reporting it “paid as
However, the situation changes dramatically if the
account is more than 90 days delinquent (or “charged off”).
Once the credit card company charges off a delinquent debt, they can write
it off their corporate tax returns so as to minimize the loss. The
consumer, however, must contend with this serious delinquent mark on their
credit report for at least seven years...
It is amazing how gruelling the process can be to
qualify for a secured loan and yet how easy it is to obtain unsecured
credit. The US Congress needs to begin requiring credit card companies to
utilize more stringent underwriting guidelines before granting consumers
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This story was published on June 7, 2003.