Letters to the Editor

Blame Powell

I would like to add to Sidney Blumenthal s otherwise very detailed account of Bush administration knowledge of no Iraqi WMDs prior to its invasion of Iraq [ Bush knew Saddam had no WMDs,  10/1/07 TPP].

Blumenthal seems to let Colin Powell off the hook in the Bush/Cheney scheme to invade Iraq no matter what. But Powell, according to his own intelligence analyst, was as implicated in the lies as Bush. Greg Thielmann, in a 60 Minutes II interview in October 2003, told CBS correspondent Scott Pelley that he had informed his boss, Powell, that Iraq did not pose an imminent threat to the US or even its neighbors  and this was before Powell s infamous testimony at the UN on Feb. 5, 2003. Thielmann was shocked to hear Powell talk about tubes for a centrifuge to enrich uranium when he, Thielmann, had already determined that those tubes were all wrong for a bomb program. 

Powell also showed the UN a photo of trucks that he said were for cleaning up chemical spills. But Theilmann says that the trucks were just ordinary fire trucks. Other trucks that Powell showed from satellite imagery were not, as Powell said, being used for biological weapons but trucks that had no incriminating evidence in them, and they had cobwebs on them from disuse.

Colin Powell may have been the good soldier to his president, but he was and remains a man who dishonored his country for not having the courage to stand up for truth. He should forever hold his head down, especially as he now claims that he was misinformed before his UN speech. He had to know he was lying to the UN, and that knowledge, along with the knowledge that his lies helped cause the misery that both Iraqis and American soldiers are suffering today, should forever haunt him.

Loretta Van Coppenolle
San Antonio, Texas


Don't Give Up

Regarding Beverly Rice's "Shame on the Dems" letter and Shelly Wallman's "Break from Dems" letter [10/1/07 TPP]: The Democratic majority in Congress is not large enough to close a filibuster or override a veto. I know my congressional representative, the Hon. William Lacy Clay, is absolutely not half-assed and I would resent anyone calling him that.

This would probably be the second term of President Al Gore if Ralph Nader had not siphoned off progressive populist votes. Libertarian Republicans are not progressive populists who know that government must be involved to protect the common good.

Contact your congressional representative and two senators to support your views on any issue. That is what America is all about.

Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
St. Louis, Mo.


Vote Progressive

Bravo Beverly Rice! ("Shame on the Dems," Letter, 10/1/07 TPP) I was getting ready to pen my response to TPP editorial of 9/15/07 when I read her letter. She said much of what I would say, and no doubt said it better. And I was ecstatic, to say the least, when I read Glenn Smith's "The Trouble with the DLC" [9/15/07 TPP], as he said, again better, more authoritatively and completely than I do, what I have known to be true for at least the last 10 years. But I would like to add a few observations of my own along the same lines. I wrote the following to another "Progressive" publication in response to a letter shaming me for supporting Nader should the Dems, once again, produce another corporate shill as their standard bearer. To wit:

How do we get a truly progressive agenda incorporated into the laws enacted and the policies pursued by our elected officials? My answer is rather simple: by voting for progressive candidates, no matter what decal they wear on their shirts. We can march 'til our shoes wear out, write 'til our pens run dry, call 'til our tongues crack and our ears fall off, but in the end, if we do not vote for the progressive candidate, we will be like the farmer who spends all day milking the cows and then kicks the bucket over.

I find it rather frustrating that instead of focusing on the real reasons that caused Gore's downfall -- and any informed progressive knows what they are -- some folks still insist on invoking the most specious and blame Nader. Instead of putting blame where it is due, some still choose to castigate one of the best and most progressive public servants of our time. But ask yourself whose purpose is best served by belittling, dismissing or otherwise denigrating truly progressive candidates. ...

Susan P. Hammond
North Syracuse, N.Y.
(corrected 10/18/07)


Blast Barbour

At last TPP headlined the burial-while-still-alive Gulf Coast in the story by Tim Shorrock ["Hurricane Recovery for the Rich," 10/1/07 TPP], along with the continuing coverage of New Orleans by Greg Palast (my favorite among your contributors).

But ... But!

Gov. Haley Barbour slipped out $600 million from aid to the devastated to dredge and expand the deepwater port at Gulfport.

Barbour is the favorite of the news media hereabouts but, too late, it made mention of the closing of the comment period. The public didn't know of it until just before the closing date. ...

Barbour is a shoo-in over [Democrat John Arthur] Eaves for another term and it shouldn't happen!

Tim Shorrock is up on it, I'm sure, and I wish Greg Palast could be as well.

Emily Hughes
Pascagoula, Miss.


Push Katrina Reconstruction

After reading the articles in your last issue on reconstruction after Katrina and hearing other interviews on TV and NPR, I called the offices of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Gov. Blanco (D-La.) and asked why they are not bringing pressure to bear by putting a public spotlight on what is happening there? That is, that the many homes were not even close to the water and had virtually no damage are padlocked and guarded by mercenary policemen (Blackwater), with no utilities and yet the owners are not allowed back in. The owners are always in these cases black. I asked why they were not demanding that these people be allowed back in.

In both cases the aides stated that they are "trying their best to get something done" and along those lines.

Maybe if more of us brought the spotlight on this by phoning and writing letters, our outrage might force them to put the spotlight on this terrible situation and get the utilities back on and these people back into their homes. Otherwise this will turn into the rich man s Republican district that the Administration is really after.

Evelyn Krueger
Forest Park, Ill.


GOP Regrets

For those who read only the criticisms of the current administration, the war, etc. in the pages of TPP and other liberal publications written by those with whom we agree, and indeed for all concerned citizens, I strongly urge you to read Invasion of the Party Snatchers: How the Holy Rollers and the Neo-Cons destroyed the GOP, written by Victor Gold, who served as deputy press secretary to Barry Goldwater, press secretary to Agnew and senior adviser to George H.W. Bush. A real insider, who worked with the Cheneys, etc., he completely eviscerates all those connected to the present administration. His outrage is palpable in every word, yet is written with a degree of sardonic wit.

His words have a punch that are more devastating because of what his basic beliefs and background are.

Whether you beg, borrow, or buy this book, read it. You won't be disappointed. He also takes some swipes at Democrats, all well-founded, in my opinion, but they are a very small part of the totality of the book.

Burt Newbry
Mesa, Ariz.


Petraeus No Hero

In the Iraq war disaster, the generals, who have come and gone, can always say in their defense that they carried out the order of the Commander in Chief but unfortunately, Gen. Petraeus, you cannot say this. You had the ball in your court when you could have told the Congress the truth, "that it is no longer advantageous for us to continue with the war," but you chose to avoid saying this. President Bush had publicly announced that he would decide his future action depending on your recommendation thereby cleverly putting all the blame on you in the event of failure. Sadly you fell for this because you wanted to go down in history as a successful author of a "counterinsurgency manual." Was it that important to test out your counterinsurgency theory knowing very well that it would not be done in a science laboratory but on the battlefield with thousands of human lives at stake? You are so fixated ("focused" in your parlance) with this "counterinsurgency" plan of yours that you have not even considered the big picture as to whether this troop surge will help to keep America more safe (Sen. John Warner's question). General, are you part of Bush's plan to hand over this mess to the next administration and this counterinsurgency business is just a "ruse" to extend the war? If yes, then you have betrayed the US Congress, the US citizens and the US soldiers.

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.


Pay to Play

Can someone tell me why the Democrats do not vote for a war funding bill with a proviso that the cost be paid for by a tax on those earning more than $200,000 a year? We have to makeÝBush choose between two things: higher taxes or being a hypocrite about shared sacrifices.

Bill Elwell
Rochester, N.Y.



The recent disquieting news that 6 nuclear warheads were flown over America by accident is a grim reminder that the threat of nuclear holocaust still hangs over the world like Damocles's sword at the banquet. In a system that is supposed to make such breakdown impossible, the weapons were unguarded for over 9 hours. The nuclear arsenals of at least a few other nuclear-armed nations are probably even less secure.

The Bush administration uses fear of terrorism to gain support of its repressive, go-it-alone polices. Yet it ignores greater threats, such as that posed by the continued existence of 20,000 nuclear weapons. Many are on hair-trigger alert, perhaps even ready to launch on warning.

Recently our government has ditched arms-control treaties, preferring unilateral actions that have made us globally loathed and rekindled the nuclear arms race. It has promoted an unworkable missile shield in Eastern Europe and used threats instead of diplomacy in dealing with North Korea and Iran. Bush pushes for a new generation of bunker-busting nuclear weapons even while pronouncing that "free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction" (Oct. 3, 2003).

If only a fraction of the money being poured into Iraq -- now about $720 million per day -- were spent on diplomacy and arms control, we'd be a lot safer.

Gene Clifford
Blairstown, N.J.


Sign of Something?

In the Bible there is a passage where Jesus suggests that you can tell something is coming by a certain sign just as you can tell spring is coming when the trees start budding. Well, I was in south Jersey in mid-September at a family gathering, and two separate "signs" popped us as different people told their story.

One was from a teacher (for 29 years) who, incidentally, does signing for deaf children as part of her teaching skill. She was told suddenly this semester she would be teaching science to regular junior high kids. She has never taught junior high and science is nowhere in her background or teaching skills. This would be a tough assignment

The other story was from someone telling of his brother, a policeman, who had worked his way up from patrolman to desk job after some 31 years. Now, suddenly, he is told he is going to be back, permanently, on the street patrol (on foot) in the town. Both of these people are within a year of two of retirement.

Is this the latest executive strategy to save retirement funds by giving the person late in their career an impossible assignment so they have to "be relieved of duty" because they can't do it? Wouldn't be surprising in today's profit motivated culture. And, if so, you can bet these won't be the only two.

Tom Orlando
Altoona, Pa.


Illusion of Democracy

Is democracy an illusion? Our founders thought that democracy was the worst form of government possible, thus they formed a republic instead and as Ben Franklin warned after the first constitutional convention: "you have a republic" if you can keep it." We never did have a democracy in this country, and at the rate we are going we probably never will. Some of the founders even said that "you can have either a republic or an empire, but you cannot have both."

So what do we have -- empire! All the while we are brainwashed into believing that empire is democracy, which is and always has been an illusion, pap for the masses, nothing less. As if that was not enough, now we are led to believe that we owe our allegiance to the Pentagon and the flag, not to we the people nor the Constitution. So, sleep well, folks. It is not over until it is over.

Just a little wake up call.

Jim Reine
International Falls, Minn.


Thank God for Bush?

In just 6 short years, since the 9/11 attack, President Bush has vanquished the Talibans in Afghanistan and the Saddamists in Iraq. They will never be able to hire another group of 19 mercenaries, (mostly comprised of Saudi Arabians and Yeminis) in order to attack us as they did on 9/11/01. Thanks to Bush they are no more in power and running for their lives and as Bush recently told someone in Australia "we are kicking ass." It may have cost a few dollars and a few lives but he has made us safe from any future attacks "sponsored" by the Talibans and or the Saddamist. Rudy Giuliani, the antiterrorist expert, knows what he is talking about when he says "Thank God Bush was in the White House on 9/11."

M. Askarian
New York, N.Y.

From The Progressive Populist, November 1, 2007

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