“Am I reading Mother Jones or am I reading Billy Graham?”

“The Fate of the Ocean”

This was an extremely pessimistic article. Is the world doomed? The constant reference to the Bush administration obscures the rest of the world’s responsibility here, and as Red Green puts it, “We are all in it together.” I can’t see what’s ahead, but reversing humanity’s adverse effects on the planet seems to be out of reach for the foreseeable future. And after that, it will be too late.

JOHN VRUGTMAN

“Net Losses”

“Net Losses,” by H. Bruce Franklin is classified as “news,” but falls to blatant editorializing in its conclusion, and neglects some significant points.

Omega’s main product may be animal feed, but a great deal of medical research has investigated the role of Omega-3 fatty acids in human health, where it plays a crucial role in fighting inflammation. According to experts in the field, there is currently no substitute for fish oil as a means to supplement the diet and possibly avert a growing health-care crisis in this country. Although flax seed can provide a source of the oil, it seems that the human body is not able to absorb it in that form. Research continues to search for alternative sources for Omega-3 fatty acids, but without breakthroughs we may face a confrontation between medicine and environmentalism over this matter in the future. Given the vast financial resources that health care has at its disposal, the outlook for menhaden does not look good in that scenario. Merely asking, as Franklin does, why we don’t just “shut down or at least downsize the fishery and plant more soybeans” misses the point in the long run and sounds naive. In short, the question is not rhetorical as it is presented. A great deal of political will is necessary to enact legislation that stands a chance to save the menhaden.

I appreciate your efforts and emphasis on environmentalism as fundamental to the human condition. However, it is action, not reaction, which lies between momentum and change. Fatalism will not win this battle, and your publication is an important step in the right direction. Whose hand will intercede if it is not our own?

Best,

MICHAEL BOUNDS

“Enemies of the Ocean”

I just saw a news report last night about sea lions swimming 100 miles up the Columbia River to catch migrating steelhead. The authorities were scratching their heads and wondering how to stop them. Some of the sea lions have been killed. Bonneville Dam is installing huge filters to help the salmon, and the sea lions are moving into tributaries like the Lewis River in WA.

There was no thought to why the sea lions are coming so far inland to feed. It was all about them taking our fish. I was going to e-mail the station that carried the piece before reading the MoJo article. We still don’t get it, that what we do to the Earth we do to ourselves. Even after Hurricane Katrina and its far reaching consequences, we are still killing ourselves and everything else along with us.

Thank you for your insights,

JULIE KIRBY
Portland, OR

“Base Crimes”

Many other dynamics are at play in the sad story of violence on military bases. Some of the best people I’ve ever known, and continue to meet, are my brothers and sisters in arms. An individual who is able to run the table, maintain a family and shoulder the burden of the military, tends to be a well-adjusted, mentally healthy, productive, and involved member of society. Historically, the military in most cultures is more than a tool to destroy things and take lives. The Roman Centurion stood as the high water mark of culture, setting the tradition of the military as a repository for the most essential virtues of Roman culture.

That said, slowly we are seeing individuals entering the military who lack the ability and potential to effectively develop into citizen-soldiers. Though plenty of good men and women still continue their commitment to government service, the fraction of unfit soldiers slowly increases over time, and with it are those whose careers end in crime or violence.

The military is not a mob of like-minded drones, all stepping to the same drum. We have everything: hippies, gays, Wiccans, Democrats, Republicans, cowboys, surfers, skaters. They’re all welcome in my military as long as when they put on those colors their attention is on the job and mission. People in the military live a life of discipline, and I would hope also have the same to know better than commit violent crimes.

It should be noted that members of the military and their families contribute tremendously to the common good, much as the Centurion of ancient times. Distaste for this or any war is acceptable. But turning a blind eye to the many positives of military life amidst this regrettable destruction, is not.

Your thoughtfulness and consideration mean a lot.

Thank you,

SGT. PAUL ROACH
Kirkuk FD Iraq.

“Dealing with Dubai Ports World”

While we’re shedding blood to bring so-called freedom to Iraq and Afghanistan, we should also ship cash via a state-owned company to an absolute dictatorship? A dictatorship that has consorted with bin Laden and laundered terrorist money?

While the American government jails and tortures hundreds, if not thousands, of people with much less evidence of wrongdoing than the government of the UAE, we should also make our ports cash cows for the latter? Does this really sound like a good deal?

The poor get poorer and die violently and, as usual, the rich get richer. Isn’t this what globalism is all about?

IRWIN WINGO
Weatherford, Texas

I read the P.J. Crowley article and could not disagree more. Had the Dubai Ports World sale been subject to the scrutiny required by the Exon-Florio Act, this deal would have been dead on arrival. The details of the sale omit the common requirements that DPW’s business records (or copies thereof) be maintained in the United States. Nor is there any requirement that the DPW identify an agent who would be the point of contact for any records requests by our governments (local, State, Federal). The purposeful lack of oversight opens up the possibility of money laundering, or more sinister actions. Additionally, ties between UAE and the Bush family are of great concern to me.

National security cannot come in second to the global economy — ever. The Constitution and Bill of Rights does not demand unquestioned loyalty to forced consumerism.

LAURA STRAND

“Praise the Lord and Pass the Petition”

Wait a minute. Right wing Jesus freaks have been screwing us liberals way too long. There is no need to allow them into our camp now, just because they claim to be leaning to the left.

It’s our way or the highway man, right? Am I reading Mother Jones, or am I reading Billy Graham?

JULIE FORD