Readers praise, question DU article

Depleted Uranium: The Invisible Threat

Dear Editors,

I would like to congratulate you on being one of the very few who reported on the major issue of DU ammunition. It has just amazed me how few articles have been written on this horrific ecological and human catastrophe. In 1996 the UN resolved that DU is a weapon of mass destruction and should be banned. Yet hardly anyone has said a word about it during the air strikes on Yugoslavia.

I can understand that the US may not know what to do with all the DU their industries produce, but dropping it on Yugoslavia is not the answer and it showed incredible irresponsibility. The only reason they got away with it is because the public is not aware of this issue.

Marta M. Lejkowski
Central European University, Budapest


Dear MoJo,

I enjoyed your article “Depleted Uranium: The Invisible Threat”. However, j.j. richardson concludes the article by stating that the U.S. Military has chosen not to clean up the “roughly 150,000 pounds of uranium were discharged over [Jefferson Proving Ground’s] 500 acres.” 150,000 pounds distributed over 500 acres? It must be lying in piles a foot high — a Caterpillar could clear it up in an afternoon! In fact, Jefferson Proving Ground is 55,265 acres in size, which would present a considerably greater challenge for clean-up efforts. JPG has been identified for closure under the Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) program in the U.S., under which a BRAC environmental cleanup team will oversee the cleanup and reuse of the old JPG land.This team is composed of representatives of various agencies, including the EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Additionally, a Restoration Advisory Board has been put into place, which is to allow for discussion between the government and the community surrounding JPG on such matters as cleanup.

How is the government managing to circumvent such advisory boards and pull the wool over the public’s eyes if, as you say, “…the DoD decided [the cleanup] was too expensive”? I’m not completely naive; I believe it is possible — but I would be interested in further information and verification of these statements.

Todd Krokom
Calgary, Alberta


J. J. Richardson’s June 23, 1999 article about Depleted Uranium contamination in Kosovo points to a very serious crime against humanity. The U.N. has a duty to investigate this matter. The heads of state responsible for ordering the use of DU weapons must be brought to justice by the international courts, for endangering the lives of the population and contaminating the environment for generations to come.

A. A. Nagy


Re.: “Predictably, the Pentagon denies that the DU used in Kosovo poses any danger to the refugees.”

It’s amazing how a word like “predictably” can call into question your objectivity. Your story appears to be well researched and valid. But your assignment of expectations to the responses of your sources belies your bias.

Tony Marek
San Jose

Readers: Enforce existing gun-control laws, don’t make new ones!

Why Gun Control Legislation Always Fails

I just read Rob Richie and Steven Hill’s indictment of the NRA “holding hostage needed policy demands.” I wonder if critical thinking is still a required course in school (as it was in mine). The NRA is against more gun-control measures for one reason — we already have a ton of them, and they haven’t stopped the violence. The overwhelming majority of violent crimes committed with handguns are done so with guns obtained in a manner that is already illegal. Obviously, the problem is not that we do not have enough laws. The problem is that we aren’t enforcing the existing laws well enough. The NRA has stated this over and over — particularly recently — and advocates relentlessly that violators of gun-control laws be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

The only people that are obeying the existing laws (and the only ones who will obey the new ones) are the ones least likely to commit a terrible atrocity like that of Littleton: The decent law-abiding citizen. I hope Mr. Richie and Mr. Harris sleep well when their goal is realized and the only people that have guns are those that mean to do us harm and those hired to protect us.

Sander Morehead
Sioux Falls, SD


Mr. Richie seems to be biased in my opinion. He doesn’t understand that the N.R.A. is not a big money-filled mysterious monster. It represents millions of people from every walk of life in this country who want to help protect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We understand that criminalizing mere ownership or legal sales of guns by honest civilians will not achieve anything other than filling the courts and jails with folks accused of paper crimes.

The majority of people in the real world do not approve of frivolous,”symbolic,” and ineffective laws. That’s the reason we win.

Alex Reyes
Knoxville, IA


Dear Mother Jones:

At the beginning of their piece, authors Rob Richie and Steven Hill write:

“The failure of gun-control legislation isn’t about the NRA’s massive campaign coffers. It’s about a small band of single-issue voters who manage to subvert meaningful public policy.”

Not only do they haughtily boil the discussion of gun-control failure down to a single statement, they erroneously purport that this is a subversion of meaningful public policy. When it comes to voters there are many issues which voters would call themselves single-issue on. Tax increases would be one that immediately comes to my mind. These single-issue voters alone have not been able to defeat increases that appear on their ballots. They have to be joined by other voters who deem that a tax increase is not something they can vote “yes” on at the time.

Our Congress, by and large, does not fear “single-issue” voters. The fact of the matter is, the majority of those in Congress understand that gun ownership is simply Constitutional and any vote to curb or reduce gun ownership is not. They fear the average voter’s recognition of this fact. Voting against our Constitution is something that could unseat incumbents that have sworn to uphold and defend it.

Don DeGroat
Modesto, California

Readers take issue with our “pro-Serb” qualifier

The MoJo Wire’s Alternative News Picks

Dear MoJo Editors,

Nothing proves better that the media are in lock-step with racist anti-Serb hatred than your line:

“But it’s also worth noting: is a pro-Serb site, BUT its reports during the war proved to be very accurate.” The adversative conjunction says it all. U.S. and “Western” media have been lying for ten years on this war.

One day, if any Serbs survive our genocide against them, MoJo and less enlightened news organizations will learn that Serbs are the good guys, that Serbia is the only multi-ethnic state in Europe or America. Over 2 dozen ethnic groups live there; 9 languages are used in court. Schools teach in even more minority languages.

Blame for the war, mayhem and bloodshed fall to Slovenia, Croatia, Islamist Bosnia and the secessionist Albanian faction. They destroyed Yugoslavia with the aid of foreign sponsors: US, Germany-Austria, the Vatican, and the oil-rich, and oh-so-tolerant Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran.

J. P. Maher
Professor Emeritus

Not an Albright Fan

The MoJo Wire’s Kosovo Coverage

Yo MoJo:

Just when the world was recovering from “mad cow disease”, we are now faced with a more lethal malady. Mad cow disease caused serious brain damage, while our latest fear originated from someone with serious brain damage.

Scientists around the world are expressing fear of “MAD.” It’s technical term is: MAD ALBRIGHT DISEASE. Imagine the ramifications of a world where diplomacy is totally ignored and all potential problems throughout the world are settled by an overwhelming dropping of bombs on a country in order to implement a form of “MAD” foreign policy.

She’s the disease, but where’s the cure?

Nick Bulaich
Watsonville, CA


While I enjoy your news coverage and find it comprehensive and extremely informative I want to take exception with your Kosovo coverage overall. It is impossible to discuss the many negatives of this short war without juxtaposing this against what appears likely to have happened had we done nothing against Milosevic and his many Serb minions. As a nation they proved themselves to be bloodthirsty, greedy and without human compassion. Despite the depleted uranium, spilled oil refining leftovers, toxic smoke and whatever else we did the right thing, only we didn’t go far enough. There should have been a massive ground invasion to assure a change in Serbia’s government.

Rama O.A. Schneider

A more accurate look at domestic violence?

Well Being: Hitting the Wall

Kudos to Mother Jones for exposing a fallacy that many of us who represent those accused of family violence have known for years. That is, that the aggressor is always the man. I currently represent several women accused of family violence and their alleged behavior is just as deplorable as my male clients. Equally deplorable are the women who call the police when nothing happens, just to teach their partner a “lesson”.

Feminists decry the “helpless woman” who can’t leave. When will they realize the pathology that exists between both partners?

Keith T. Lauerman
Austin, Texas