I have been following the continuing coverage on the terrible terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. I watch mainly foreign news because I have lost confidence in the American corporate-controlled news after the last phony presidential election.
During one news report (I believe on BBC) they showed a group of people with a huge banner that read, "America, why are you hated around the world?" That question got me to think.
Therefore, during this period of mourning, perhaps it might be wise to also ponder that question while asking ourselves the following:
1) Do we have the right to involve ourselves in other people's elections?
2) Do our corporations have the right to exploit other people's labor and plunder other people's natural resources? And
3) Do we have the right to station our soldiers on other people's soil?
Finally, during this period of hyper-patriotism, we can't lose sight of the fact that George W. Bush and his corporate special interests are still in total control of our executive branch and all its agencies and commissions. Their anti-labor, anti-consumer and anti-environmental agenda and policies haven't changed. Our society is extremely vulnerable at this time and extreme vigilance is a must. Trust but verify.
Miami Springs, Fla.
The news ... reports that "terrorism camps" are in violation of two recent UN Security Council votes.
There is, of course, a notorious terrorist camp in this country, located at School of Americas/Assassins [SOA], [recently renamed] "The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation," in Fort Benning, Ga. This "school's" graduates are involved in repression and tortures, outright murders and assassinations, and "disappearances"/murders of tens of thousands of citizens of Central and South American countries. [See 5/15/01 TPP, page 10].
My God, did it take four downed jetliners on 9/11 to come to our senses and renounce terrorism? Or is it OK if the victims aren't US World Trade Center and Pentagon employees but just poor Guatemalans, Chileans, Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, et al.?
The "SOA 26," good US citizens, who are convicted of non-violent civil disobedience at SOA, continue to languish in federal prisons. Their offense was protesting terrorism.
Like all US citizens, I am horrified at the events of Sept. 11 in New York and Washington, D.C., and like everyone else I just pretend we don't endorse the same damned activity with our "Western Hemisphere Institute."
Obviously, the terrorism we export to our Latin American neighbors is acceptable, as we taxpayers fund the Western Hemisphere Institute in Fort Benning.
It just doesn't make any sense.
Dear Mr. President,
Congratulations on a well-written speech concerning the terrorist threats to our nation and the world. I know most people support everything you propose initiating, including resolving these concerns with violence. There is a very vocal minority that would like to see justice served in a non-violent way if possible, as many of our finest youth may become casualties with the many forms of violence available to our retaliatory forces. I'd like to suggest as one non-violent approach a win-win proposal that just reeks with justice and fairness.
We know that most Afghanis hate the Taliban's bastardized version of Islam and its misogynistic treatment of women. We know the leading Islamic clerics and Osama bin Laden support this traditional oppressive behavior as they wish to control others as a dictatorship. They call for the deaths of all who oppose their reactionary plans. We can (you can) bring about justice, help ethical Islamics and aid our farmers as well as being seen as the benevolent people we are.
Any terrorist or Islamic cleric who advises, encourages or brainwashes others into suicide against innocents should be accused of negligent homicide and brought before the World Court on criminal charges. We should make it known through leafleting and radio/TV transmissions throughout the terrorists' supporting regions that for every terrorist or cleric guilty of this crime who is turned in to a policing authority, the US government will award to a village in that country $100,000 in food supplies.
For the low cost of $1 billion we could help 10,000 villages keep from starving and help our farmers feel good about themselves. This program would also make potential terrorists and clerics think twice before violating Islamic law, and put those active despots on notice that they are not safe anywhere.
With kindest regards,
Santa Rosa, Calif.
I love my country but fear the government. This is not "our" government. It has long since been bought and paid for by rich corporate sociopaths who destroy our environment while spending billions on killing. Meanwhile, our schools and teachers remain underfunded and hungry homeless people shiver in the cold because "there's not enough money" to remedy these problems (but loads of money for prisons and weapons).
To hell with the American citizens and our fellow non-human earthlings! Corporate and arms merchant's profits must be protected! Never mind the collapse of the Trade Towers and the tremendous loss of life. The economy must be saved! The corporate press bleats, "Hey everybody! Let's get back to normal and buy buy buy! Go to the mall and spend money to help America!'" (by enriching corporate sociopaths).
"Our" flag has been trampled and dragged through the mud. Its meaning was taken over by corporate sociopathic semi-humans who use it as a symbol to control us. They regard us and our miraculous planet as mere grist for their money-mill.
"Our" government (corporate sociopathic phallocracy) murdered and tortured millions of civilians in Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. It installeddictators in Chile and Iran and created the US terrorist School of the Americas where sadistic men learn to torture men, women -- and even helpless babies.
Our tax dollars at work (legalized extortion). Pay up and support the madness -- or go to jail.
According to former CIA agent John Stockwell who wrote The Praetorian Guard, "our" government killed approximately six million people, including one million in Korea, two million in Vietnam, 800,000 in Indonesia, one million in Cambodia, 20,000 in Angola, and 22,000 in Nicaragua.
"In our 200-plus year history, we have fought 15 wars. We have put our military into other countries to force them to bend to our will about 200 times, or about once a year," said Stockwell.
"Our" government also killed tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians during the Gulf Slaughter and continues to murder 5,000 Iraqi children every month as a direct result of sanctions. "Our" government also slaughtered and tortured millions of people in the US-Native Americans, black slaves and white indentured servants.
International slaughter is done in the name of American citizens. They take the heat and get killed in wars of aggression and by terrorists-while the corporate sociopaths (who greed-crazed foreign policy created global environmental catastrophe) hide like rats in their hidden gated communities while counting their blood money.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
We have too many military forces, and too few intelligence forces. Our great nation seems to have forgotten about our responsibility to be intelligent citizens. Attention should be paid not only to our homeland, but to the biggest threat in the world -- Islamic Fundamentalism. Our citizenry must arm against their religious fervor.
Our founding fathers enacted a government not based upon religion, but on the laws that work for our people. They endured years of turmoil to establish America, and we owe our freedom to these brilliant men.
So many citizens have let us down -- government workers starting with the Supreme Court, the State of Florida, the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, and the Dept. of Immigration. The media focused on their internet chats and never left Washington D.C. Airports used cronyism to give jobs to friends; capitalists cooked the books; teachers do not teach citizenship courses; we can all blame ourselves for not paying attention.
Why do we allow people to pour into our country who have no interest in becoming a citizen? Should we have a rule that if you do not become a citizen in three years you go back to your homeland?
Rise up citizens, bone up and retire our slackers, for serving your country in whatever occupation is much more important than building personal wealth. Good citizenship makes democracy work.
New York, N.Y.
Regarding Bush, a snake may shed his outer skin from time to time. But underneath it's still the same damned snake. When he uses the word "sacrifice," I shudder.
Our elderly "sacrificed" during the Great Depression, in World War II they fought, bled and died, were the "Rosie the Riveters." Now they can't heat and eat or afford medicine.
Our Viet Nam Warriors are left wandering our streets, despised, broken in body, mind and soul. One fourth of our children live at poverty level. Poor mothers are expected to keep families and homes together on minimum wage. Our working poor who are ignored he now praises to the media. They still won't get a raise in wages. Our disabled, those on SSI cannot survive on SSI. The list goes on and on. Those screaming the loudest for bloodshed aren't the ones who will have to shed it, then be cast aside like yesterday's garbage when their usefulness is at an end. When they come home in body bags nobody will give a damn. The rich won't be in those bags, it will be the sons and daughters from the working class as always. The wealthy will be safe in college dorms (or in bunkers, like sewer rats).
We are outraged at foreign "terrorism," while our children are gunned down in our streets by the thousands and it doesn't even make the evening news.
We find it abhorrent to see children from another country celebrating the attack on our people, while our own home grown terrorists dress their children in hooded sheets or teach them too the same. The Nazi Party is alive and well in the USA. We call it freedom of speech and expression.
This war will be fought for the same reason we fight any war, the "Almighty" Dollar, our one true God.
Human life means nothing in the US, unless those lives belong to the wealthy. The rest of us are expendable. Too many poor? Start a war, it's one hell of an effective form of birth control!
Cape Girardeau, Mo.
I am consoled by you and the Washington Spectator. The nation and the world should be holding its collective breath to see what the present hole-in-the-wall gang administration is going to do to us. War in Asia? W looks like a raccoon on the highway at night, normally, but lately seems totally out of his depth. Like Reagan, but he never took acting lessons. God help America. President Cheney (Oil can! Get the oil can!)/Powell may save us ... ?
When I subscribed to a liberal magazine like yours, I never dreamt I would reach such anti-Semitic nonsense as your Wayne O'Leary dispenses. [See "Flawed foreign policy and its consequences," 10/15/01 TPP.]
He holds the US and Israel responsible for activating the Moslems to kill 6,000 New Yorkers even if no Palestinians are involved.
According to O'Leary, Israel didn't belong there in the first place and are responsible for any turmoil there. I assume he includes the hundreds of Israelites murdered by suicide bombers.
I have read and greatly enjoyed several pieces by Margot Ford McMillen (Rural Routes).
I work fulltime on reforming the hog industry for Waterkeeper Alliance, a nonprofit environmental group, and I have found her writings to be thoughtful and helpful to creating a greater public understanding of the misguided forces driving the corporatization of agriculture. It is imperative that people be informed of the fact that this reshaping of agriculture is NOT an inevitable evolution over which they have no control.
I hope to see more from her in the future.
White Plains, N.Y.
Concerning the events of Sept. 11, Ted Ralls writes in the 10/15/01 issue that "It may have seemed meaningless at the time, but now we know why more than 6,000 people sacrificed their lives -- so that we'd all forget how Bush stole a presidential election." Huh? This kind of unthinking and insensitive remark not only does grave dishonor to those men, women, and children who were "sacrificed" in the attacks on our country, but it also provides a good example of why the progressive press is so often ignored these days. Come on folks -- can't we do better than this?
R. SCOTT OGILBY
North Little Rock Ark.
I trust everyone who writes a letter to a liberal publication like The Progressive Populist also writes his local home-town paper. The right wingers appear in the media far too often. Where are the liberals and the environmentalists? Do it now.
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