Letters to MotherJones.com

Drug Companies Feel the Heat
Re: “Undercutting Executions”
01/17/02

We read with interest Justine Sharrock’s December 28 article describing human rights groups’ campaigns to urge pharmaceutical companies and others not to provide drugs for lethal injections. In that article, Abbott Laboratories and Baxter International, Inc. claimed that they could not be held responsible for how their product was used. Baxter spokesperson Deborah Spak stated that, “We cannot know every use of the product that we sell.”

Just as your article appeared, we received information from the Arizona Department of Corrections listing Abbott Laboratories as the provider of potassium chloride and sodium pentothal and Baxter International, Inc. as the provider of pancuronium bromide for use in that state’s lethal injections. As with other companies supplying these drugs for use in executions, we will write to Abbott Laboratories and Baxter International, Inc. to bring this use of their products to their attention. We would hope that the companies, once reminded of how their product is being used, would reconsider assisting Arizona in carrying out executions.

Alison Hughes
Human Rights Watch



Criticism is Civic Responsibility
Re: “Blaming America First”
01/17/02

I have a desire to celebrate America’s success as one of the best products of Enlightenment thinking, while being open to honestly evaluating how we affect the world. If you’re wondering why “To the left-wing fundamentalist [SIC], the only interesting or important brutality is at least indirectly the United States’ doing…. Thus, sanctions against Iraq are denounced, but the cynical mass murderer Saddam Hussein, who permits his people to die, remains an afterthought.[?]” the answer is because YOU AND I pay taxes to the government responsible for these actions. However much I may pray to God or send e-mail warnings to Saddam, I can only be held responsible for what I do, and as a citizen of this country which is my home and which I love dearly, what my government does.

You seem to be creating an image of the left as a fairy-tale one-eyed monster, that desires nothing more than to destroy, undermine, and deconstruct America. Why the left would want to do this you never convincingly explain. I can assure you that the “left” you speak of does not want to destroy this country, but rather wants to assure justice and fairness domestically and abroad not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also to ensure that we remain the most prosperous, secure, and vibrant nation on this planet.

Lee Konstantinou



Todd Gitlin’s article, “Blaming America First”, is something I’d expect to find elsewhere. It was not worthy of Mother’s tradition of standing strong for both national and international social justice commentary.

Mr Gitlin has set up a strawman left which he’s then taken to task for a flaw which is alluded to through accusations rather than fact. Not one example of the left actually discounting the lives of Americans is given. I have seen many statements of the left deploring the brutal killings of Sept. 11, including those of the Green Party, the ACLU, many of Mother Jones’s own writers, and those of other “left” or progressive publications and organizations. I’ve yet to read a statement from any American left organization concerning the Sept. 11 attacks that did not begin by both deploring them and offering sympathy for it’s victims. Just who and what organizations is he talking about?

Yes, many in the left did understand Sept. 11 in the context of the larger world geo-political situation, and called for understanding the relationship of American foreign policy in creating the hatred that underpins the motives of such terrorists. That is, however, not a call to ignore the suffering of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. To infer such a thing is to do violence to thoughtful discussion and critical analysis of the causes and possible solutions to stopping similar occurrences in the future. Any discussion of solutions to any problem must include understanding of the causes of the problem.

It so happens that American foreign policy is responsible for causing much harm and subsequent hatred of the American military (Pentagon based) and World Trade Organization which the World Trade Center symbolizes. It is worthwhile to note that the kind of gut reaction towards revenge against those responsible for Sept. 11 is the same kind of gut reaction that caused it. The hundreds of thousands of victims of the sanctions against Iraq have family, friends, folks who identify with them who feel the same human emotions about the deaths of their fellows as we Americans do about the deaths of ours. A call to understand that and to challenge the anti-humanitarian policies that cause anti-Americanism should be applauded.

John Howes

Your article was excellent in showing the left-wing double standard regarding the United States’ actions in self-defense and the anti-Americanism in the journalistic and intellectual community. In my own country, you can daily read left-wing journals that criticize constantly the US’s action and inaction. But among the people, the United States is seen, notwithstanding its occasional excesses and mistakes, as a defender of the Western world against terrorism.

Miguel Guzm&#225n-Betancourt
Tampico, México

 

High-tech runs all over California communities
Re: “Cyberselfish Redux”
12/5/00

I liked your article on Cisco. I live in Watsonville, Calif., which is not far from where they are going to build the new Cisco plant.

About 15 years ago, Seagate Technologies built a large manufacturing facility about five minutes from our house. It was given tax breaks by the city and it promised to employ local for its manufacturing. Then when it opened, nothing happened — the company said labor costs here were too expensive. It moved its manufacturing overseas, where it was cheaper to operate.

Then, about five years later, the company opened its Watsonville plant for manufacturing. It bussed people in from San Jose to work there instead of hiring locals. About three years later, the City bought the Seagate facility for $65 million and converted it into a hospital.

Richard Dixon

 

Bush and Europe
Re: “Bush’s European Blind Spot “
12/5/00

As your story implies, George Bush will be able to get away with it in the short run, but as Europe resolves its internal differences and begins to present a unified front, economically and otherwise, the US may pay a price for the haughty attitude it currently shows.

We seem to be brandishing our “big stick,” but without the humility that might make our position of prominence on the world stage tolerable to those who are biding their time.

Rudy Dalpra

 

Greenpeace
Re: “Prosecuting Protest”
12/5/00

As a Greenpeace member, I am saddened that my donations are going towards the 15 anti-missile protestors, who clearly tresspassed and broke the law. While I am a supporter of their protest, I feel their actions were not worth the $150,000 Greenpeace paid in damages of their behalf. It is possible to protest without breaking the law and costing the organization so much money that could be used for so many other important things.

S.Thayer
Bronx, NY