What Allies?
Re: “Bush’s Mideast Lessons”
May 3, 2002

Steve Kettmann worries about Bush ignoring his European allies. What European allies? While America may be liking Bush’s War on Terrorism, it is in effect destroying alliances throughout the world. The US is now merely a dollar bill to the world. Our principles went out the window with the bombing of the Red Cross buildings and 700 prisoners of war in Afghanistan. Not to mention the withdrawal from the Nuclear Arms Treaty, our plans to attack Iraq — did I mention the Kyoto Accords or our fighting against aid to Africa?

Rosario Torress


The “Real” Bloodsuckers
Re: “Whose Coup?”
May 2, 2002

The real issue here is not whether the US was involved (which I would deplore in any case, with any government) — but why Venezuelans have allowed their incredible riches to be squandered for so long. Venezuela is one of the most resource-rich, per capita, countries on Earth. Over the past 2 or 2 1/2 decades the middle class that had finally begun flourishing in the 1960s has been squeezed out, and the country is back to its archaic 10 percent wealthy, 90 percent poor status.

The real bloodsuckers are the incredibly corrupt and graft-seeking government elite, plus all the many thousands of functionaries who perpetuate that system, in ways small and large. You can hardly make any transaction, even to pay your phone bill, without running across some pressure for bribery or other influence, however minor.

Like the George W. administration, which is trying to pass the buck for its weaknesses under the protective shield of “patriotism,” the supporters of Chavez are looking for a scapegoat. The US government may very well have been involved in the coup — but the coup wasn’t the true problem in Venezuela. Take a look at how the Constitution has changed over Chavez’s term, and tell me that that isn’t scary.

Venezuela should be one of the most successful countries in the world, with a healthy and prosperous populace. Why isn’t it? I don’t think it’s just because the US government doesn’t like Chavez schmoozing with Castro.

Sometimes the culprits are the victims themselves.

Just an opinion from someone with lifelong and continuing blood/family ties in Venezuela, and a former (and very enthusiastic) resident of the country.

Lisa Clyde Nielsen


Reasonable Accomodation?
Re: “A Contract to Spend”
May 23, 2002

Having worked in the IFOR effort in the Balkans for Brown & Root, and having an influential position, I found that what we did for the Armed Forces was a great help. We were able to facilitate personnel daily. We built camps, mess halls, landing pads and also supported the ones who keep us free from a harsh environment. I was one of the first Brown & Root personnel in country, we gave all we had to be able to withstand immeasurable odds.

If you have never endured such atrocities and genocide first hand, you could never appreciate what a person goes through to right the wrongs of the world.

Yes, there are always people who oppose policing the world, but what can we do when we are the very ones who have helped countless other countries to democracy. There will always be someone waiting in the wings to expose what takes place everyday. This isn’t “greed”, it’s exercising our rights to explore new ways of boosting the economy. It helps with the war effort, and it in essence provide many dollars to be made by all.

We worked right alongside the soldiers, and them with us. Yeah, there were times that they thought we had it good, but we were there to make life as comfortable as we could for them.

David Wittenburg


Yes, it’s long been known that the government awards contracts this way. I saw some of those barracks and camps in Kosovo. They were entirely too comfortable. Huge concrete buildings, driveways, etc. They will last for many years after we are long gone. All they need over there is temporary shelter. We have people walking around in this country without anything, including homes. Many of them are veterans. Is this where the veteran’s money is going? Is our money being thrown at contractors like this, taking away from the rest of the people? I think the Bush administration is having a heyday with our money, and few people are aware of it. And what’s worse, people don’t seem to question it or care. I do. I think this may be one of the reasons we are having a war in the first place.

Jeannie Hegeman


I think it is a dangerous business to hire private companies to perform the tasks our military is design to perform. Because of the strong desire of our enemies to destroy us, the companies could be infiltrated with someone who might want to contaminate the water and food, place listening devices and initiate other types of sabotage before the army even arrives. This is the type of work that privates should do and then work themselves up the rank ladder. Besides the high cost, I do not think it is safe.

Jean Jearman


More Support Needed for Clergy
Re: “A ‘Notorious’ Cleric”
May 29, 2002

There is one thing that needs to be considered: When a man becomes a priest, the Church becomes his family, sometimes the only family he has, since he is not allowed to marry.

Therefore, the Church needs to provide some kind of support base for a priest, regardless of what he does, the way a family does not turn its back on a member, no matter what. Or, just get rid of the celibacy rule and allow priests to marry. After all, the first pope was married.

Elaine Jones


Priase for Gitlin
Re: “The Politics of Victimhood “
May 8, 2002

I am grateful for Mr. Gitlin’s eloquent and thoughtful article which finally presents an intuitive reason for the religious battle between two peoples for what it really is: victimhood. Mr. Gitlin is right on with his viewpoint. No amount of feeling sorry for oneself or one’s nation will resolve an irrational fight or the continuing bloodshed of two nations. Mr. Gitlin is able to stand back and see a vision for a peaceful future for Israel and Palestine. Compromise and concession on both sides can garner an end to lasting violence in exchange for lasting peace. If it works with 3 year olds it can work with reasoned adults, assuming adults filled with hatred can reason.

Rosanne Lindsay


I think that this is one of the best opinions I’ve read to date on that situation. Too bad your good sense ideas will be lost in the continued bloodshed. Sept. 11th appears to have started most of the world and humanity down a vile and evil slippery slope of hate and violence that I cannot foresee humanity climbing out of anytime soon. People, for reasons I cannot comprehend, seem to enjoy hurting and killing others.

Kel Brady