"We are being governed by people who are either literally insane or megalomaniacs and on a collision course of destruction."
While it is no surprise that the Seattle Weekly would oppose any American effort to defend its citizens from the threat of Saddam Hussein's regime [No New War package, Sept. 11], it is disappointing to see the same weak, recycled arguments against military action.
No sane person wants war, but the majority of Middle Eastern nations have declared war on us. They despise our freedom, modern standard of living, and tolerance because these things threaten the oppressive nature by which they control their populations. They wage war on us through terrorism, and Iraq has the ability and motive to provide terrorists with weapons that can cause the deaths of more innocents than we lost on Sept. 11.
It would be a crime NOT to strike first.
A LIBERAL CONSERVATIVE?
Why does the Weekly and papers like it let anti-American weenie-liberals like Philip Gold write for them with their socialist view of the world [No New War, "An Anti-War Movement of One," Sept. 11]? People who feel as he does are the kind of people who allowed Germany to rise to such terrifying power in the 1930s. When will spineless liberals like Mr. Gold learn? I believe Clinton's inaction, in the face of numerous terrorist attacks on the U.S. during the 1990s, is why 3,000 souls last Sept. 11 had to perish. In the long run, not letting rogue terrorist states like Iraq be left unfettered will allow Mr. Gold (sadly) to continue writing his gibberish.
REMEMBER BROTHER DICK
Philip Gold's essay [No New War, "An Anti-War Movement of One," Sept. 11] reminds me of the stale conservative joke: What's a conservative? A liberal who's been mugged. Now we know what a liberal is: a conservative old enough to remember the last time Brother Dick's Traveling War Wagon rolled into town. Gold reminds us of the consequences of passively following events.
One problem with his criticism of the usual suspects—the anti-war faction—while the anti-war left has a tendency to rely on tired chants and tactics, he ignores the fact that a generation of demonization by the corporate media has taken its toll. Join that with Team Bush's "Free Speech Zones" at Junior's appearances, and even if there was an anti-war movement, how would we know it?
Philip Gold wrote a great article [No New War, "An Anti-War Movement of One," Sept. 11], and I couldn't agree more, but what can people do? We are not listened to—nobody cares about our vote or our opinions. It doesn't matter whether we are Republican or Democrat, we are being governed by people who are either literally insane or megalomaniacs and on a collision course of destruction. Hate rules now, hate and bigotry, and writing articles and letters to Congress seems to be where we stand. We can vote, and I will, and I hope my vote will be counted, but I cannot even count on that anymore.
NO NEW VIETNAM
Thank you for printing Philip Gold's "An Anti-War Movement of One" and for your bold front cover [No New War, Sept. 11]. I was a young, confused woman during the Vietnam War. I am no longer young or confused. This war cannot happen. It is a slippery slope into another Vietnam.
MAKING HIS CASE
On this 9/11, a year after I found out I really was a patriot all these years, even if I didn't know it, the only thing that could have angered me more than some idiot parading around with bin Laden's portrait on a sign was the cover of the Weekly with the banner reading No New War [Sept. 11].
The cover promised to lay out the case against war in Iraq. Instead, in "An Anti-War Movement of One," we get statements that would never be tolerated by someone who did not share the Weekly's prejudices, e.g., Afghanistan "isn't worth the bones of an Arkansas grenadier." Now, I am certain Afghanistan is being insulted here, and pretty sure about Arkansas, but what does he have against grenadiers?
None of the case against an attack on Iraq was laid out. Gold failed to mention that there is a strong case for Iraq's fingerprints being all over 9/11 (not just the Atta meeting in Prague, but a meeting with the head of Iraqi intelligence and bin Laden, a training facility near Baghdad where terrorists were taught to take aircraft, and the fact that Saddam Hussein—with frankly amazing honesty—did not condemn the attack but praised it). How about the fact that if Iraq is able to produce a suitcase nuke, it will likely blackmail the West with it or just go ahead and use it.
I would not like to bet the future of my country or my children and grandchildren on Hussein's restraint.
R. Roy Blake
RALLY, DON'T RUMBLE
Bravo to Geov Parrish for his article "Is the Peace Movement Dead?" [No New War, Sept. 11]. As a thirtysomething, middle-class, father of two, "mainstream protester," many points in the article hit home.
The current state of affairs is very upsetting, but I'm unaware of a constructive outlet other than discussions with friends and family and writing local papers and politicians. I don't want to show up at the next rally and have my 2-year-old gassed in the face and rubber bullets bouncing off my mother-in-law. However well intentioned, protesters looking for a street battle are damaging the opportunity for real social and political change.
MAKE PEACE ON THE WEB
Regarding Geov Parrish's "Is the Peace Movement Dead?" [ No New War, Sept. 11]: I share his impatience, and I welcome the other opinions expressed in No New War. Mr. Parrish might, however, be encouraging a defeatist posture. He says anti-war activism is "buried on the Web and in church basements and in private conversations." I haven't been in any church basements lately, but I've begun to receive e-mails and consult Web sites. This kind of activism may be more constructive now than street rallies. Those who wish to be connected with concerted efforts to raise consciousness and influence decision makers should consult www.actionforum.com and/or www.moveon.org.
ALIVE AND KICKING
Some of us in the Seattle chapter of Not in Our Name (NION) are disheartened by Geov Parrish's "Is the Peace Movement Dead?" [No New War, Sept. 11]. It was an insult to local activists.
Parrish claims there are "no local, cohesive peace groups, nationally or locally" and that protests only invite those that "love a street battle." NION has brought activist groups of several ideologies together for a large, collaborative anti-war presence, culminating in the days of mass resistance on Oct. 6 and 7 (see ">www.notinourname-seattle.net). We have been in the streets doing theater, anti-war rallies, and public speaking, all without confrontations or "street battles" with the police.
It is the media and politicians who have given protest a bad name, not the WTO protesters. When Parrish writes that "local peace activists' credibility with media and politicians was seriously damaged," he is blaming the victim—a common tactic of right-wing activists.
Most disturbing is his suggestion that we cater to police: "The Seattle Police Department . . . would never, after WTO, allow the sorts of civic disruptions that happened before and during the Gulf War." The implication is that when the police state strengthens its war on dissent, activists should acquiesce. However, it is precisely acquiescence to violent institutions that we resist.
As a prominent spokesperson for local and progressive activism, Parrish has a responsibility to promote and uplift local efforts, not undermine them.
Signed by 13 Members of Seattle Not in Our Name
Having just finished Knute Berger's article [Mossback, "Red, White, and Dissonant," Sept. 11], I can't begin to express how grateful I am that someone else is standing tall. As a former Army officer, wounded in Vietnam, I can say that there is much discontent out there with the Bush administration. Let me share this: Carmel, Calif., is a hotbed of opposition to what is now going down in D.C.
Berger's writing is well researched and so very true. He is touching many people with his in-depth articles.
SERVING UP TRASH
Make sure Knute Berger doesn't forget the part about Evil Republican Overlords raping baby seals while eating poached whale blubber on spotted-owl tongues.
What am I trying to say?
Mr. Berger's piece about the "stolen election" etc., ad nauseam is truly classic leftist trash [Mossback, "Red, White, and Dissonant," Sept. 11].
SPEAKING BRAVE WORDS
Last week's Mossback ["Red, White, and Dissonant," Sept. 11] is the best thumbnail sketch of our present moment that I have yet seen. Many people seem to be thinking and feeling this way, without having the courage to speak out. I have heard the Weekly's front page of Sept. 11 applauded more often than I can recall. As I cut out the article to mail to friends abroad, I only notice one point where conventional rhetoric overshadows social reality: "The events of 9/11 were a hideous attack on our people." Yes, it was a hideous attack, and innocent people died. But it was, plainly and obviously, an attack on the main centers of U.S. imperial power in its economic and military forms. None but the most right-wing "patriots" could identify with those powers. They are plainly opposed to the interests of ordinary people; one does not have to be a flaming radical to see that. The mainstream media have continually obscured this fact so that U.S. citizens will be filled with the fear that "they" are out to get "us."
Please use your excellent paper to bring as much clarity as possible into the present horribly confused domestic atmosphere.
THEY'LL BE SOLDIERS ONCE . . . AND OLD
Thank you for the terrific article [Mossback, "Red, White, and Dissonant," Sept. 11]. I appreciate a strong voice in what appears to be a slow, degenerate apathy and a willingness to be led into horrid times. I was thinking we should change the draft: Our first string should consist of 60- to 90-year-olds, paying particular attention to those who have never set foot on a battlefield. If your vote has been heard the longest, then you should be willing to stand behind it. If the older set can't finish it off, we send the second tier into the ring—the 40- to 60-year-olds who appear to have dedicated their days to lavish spending and golf swings. As a last resort, we pull in the young men, who are probably our only chance for survival. The boys who have never set foot in a congressional meeting, implemented policies, or put anything in motion besides the butt of a gun. It is not their job to clean up our mistakes. They were still in grade school when Iraq invaded Kuwait. It appears that Americans will only be happy if we demobilize, disarm, and corral the rest of the world onto a reservation. If we are truly a democracy, why hasn't anyone staged a coup?
WHY NOT BE PROUD?
Why is Knute Berger's sense of patriotism being tested now, of all times [Mossback, "Red, White, and Dissonant," Sept. 11]? What better time to be patriotic? One year after 9/11, the Taliban has been dismantled and bin Laden's last known action was to run. Yet because the only guilty figure our government can produce has been Martha Stewart and not the body of bin Laden—be it a corpse or deep in a cave hiding from mortar—Berger thinks we've failed.
Failed despite the growing population of Afghanistan since 9/11 and the fact that those people are pouring over the border to enjoy the same intellectual freedom, emancipation of women, and civil rights that we, the "pre-eminent advocate of democratic principle," have so callously exported in the past. What's not to be proud of?
That he ends his column by noting that a small band of fictitious rebels correctly anticipated the fall of a decadent empire betrays how lo-fi his sense of patriotism is and how out out of touch he is with the moral necessity of fighting a war against terrorism. Did these rebels stone to death women who commit adultery?
At first I thought Berger was going to explore the tension that arises when the relativity of patriotism clashes with one's political views. It became apparent, though, that he was arguing it is not possible to be patriotic while hating your country. No one needs to read an entire column called Mossback to see this non sequitur.
CHEERS, PET LADY
Dear Pet Lady: You are sorely missed. Wherever did your highly amusing column escape to? More importantly, when will it be making its long awaited comeback?
The dear Pet Lady was our former managing editor, Bethany Jean Clement. She has left the paper.—Eds.
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