Your “Now What?” cover package [September 21–27] was indicative of the collective self-absorption you so-called “progressives” have always displayed. Forget the 6,000-plus people who died; dismiss the unprecedented unity better than 90 percent of Americans are currently displaying as mindless jingoism or worse (I guess no one is as smart or as compassionate as you liberals) . . . it’s time to focus on the real issue here: How does this affect L.A. Weekly writers and their hipster friends? Will there be no place for the pithy putdown of middle-class values? Will Marc Cooper have to put his racial playing cards away for the duration? And our very own Harold Meyerson, beating the drums of war? Oh my! “Now what?” indeed. Is the left finally and completely irrelevant? I guess I do see a glimmer of hope in this after all.

—Tony Blass

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There is nothing more disgusting in this world than for those in the print media to use events like the attack on America that left 7,000 dead or missing to spout more left-wing foolishness. I know that you are disappointed that world communism was a failure, but try not to let it show so much.

—Steve Williams
Los Angeles



I’ve read all of your articles from your two issues since the attack. I want to commend your staff. I find myself shaking my head in disgust at images in the media promoting “democracy,” “freedom” and “unity” while at the same time promoting war at any cost, including that of innocent lives. Have we not learned anything from this terrible tragedy? What is it going to take for this government to understand that other people from other countries value the lives of their civilians as much as we Americans value our own lives? We need to learn. We need to check in with reality and the world. We need more media like yours.

—Leticia Morel
Los Angeles



What an amazing and powerful cover! Minimalism rocks! Excellent composition and content.

—Martin Gee



Re: “It’s the Oil.” Johnny Angel’s correct, oil dependence has brought us to Oil War 2. Our drive to drive has driven civilization to the edge of self-destruction. The alternative has been available for decades — rebuilding our cities toward energy efficiency. We’ve got the technology to do so, and still have the wealth, unless we give it all, futilely, to the military.

—Paul Glover
Ithaca, New York



Having worked for the past 20 years in the international oil business on five continents, I was flabbergasted to find this writer claiming in the third paragraph that Saudi Arabia produces fully 50 percent of the oil produced globally in one year. Just to set the facts straight, the rate of global oil production in 2001 is estimated to be around 73 million barrels/day. Saudi production is estimated at 9.2 million barrels/day. Hence, Saudi Arabia accounts for roughly 12.5 percent of global oil production.

Mr. Angel’s article contained many other misunderstandings and gross distortions of facts. I found it quite humorous that he seems to think the Crusades occurred 1,300 years before 1900, around roughly 600 A.D. For your information, the first Crusade reached and besieged Jerusalem in 1099. That was about 800 years before 1900, by my calculations.

Consistent with Mr. Angel’s inability to get basic facts correct was the absurd assertion that the U.S. and Britain reflexively back Israel in her troubles with her neighbors because Israel lies very near to the Persian Gulf oil deposits. A little bit of critical thinking about this would reveal that Britain and the U.S. would have a much easier time dealing with the Persian Gulf states if we acquiesced to their stated desire (depending, of course, on whom you talk to and how candid they choose to be) to see the total destruction of the state of Israel, along with most or all of the non-Arabs living there.

Mr. Angel appears to be just as massively misinformed about Israel as he is about the global oil marketplace and medieval history. Where do you guys get these amateurs?

—Jefferson Williams
Los Angeles


JOHNNY ANGEL REPLIES: Yes, I misstated my case — it’s the several nations of the Saudi peninsula, not just Saudi Arabia, that produce half the world’s oil. But the point remains: It isn’t our love of heat, camels or dried fruit that draws us to the region. It’s the oil.



Thank you for publishing Judith Lewis’ interview with Mr. Tamim Ansary [“Stranger Than Fiction”]. It is nice in this age of rapidly spreading information to be able to verify the origins and the background of forwarded e-mails. The interview you have posted has added depth to an already insightful essay. Thank you for â helping to balance the knee-jerk reaction to inflict violence on the Afghani people just for being in the same country with a band of evil outcasts.

—Sarah Dressler
St. Georges, Delaware



I just read the interview with Tamim Ansary. As I read Mr. Ansary’s original essay, it struck me that the Taliban are akin to the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia, and Osama bin Laden is like Pol Pot. As I recall, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge killed about 3 to 5 million of their fellow citizens and were able to avoid capture and justice for over 20 years. It is terrifying that someone of a similar ilk is again on the loose, but on a worldwide basis. It strikes me that we must stand up to this terror or we will all go the way of the Cambodians of the 1970s.

—Judy Zaunbrecher
Racine, Wisconsin



Re: Harold Meyerson’s “Next Cold War.” Thank you for the article. However, there are deep contradictions in it that destroy its sense. The most outstanding is revealed in this statement: “There are, however, two other underlying problems with a more direct causal connection to the violence of last week, and which aren’t really susceptible to changes in American policy. The first is the political underdevelopment of the Arab world.”

Mr. Meyerson fails to mention that U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia has been precisely to defend its monarchy at all costs, regardless of its sometimes violent suppression of political opposition and free speech. In return for its defense of the ruling monarchy, the U.S. gets a stable partner that will sell oil to it and to the “global market” at reasonable and predictable costs. Certainly, this blank-check support for an undemocratic regime is something the U.S. can indeed change, something that would have a direct effect on the hatred some Arabs feel toward the U.S., and therefore on the potential for terrorism coming from that region.

—Raul Vasquez
Los Angeles



I just read the editorial by John Powers titled “Media Fundamentalism.” I applaud his courage and sincerity in trying to get at the truth, which so many of us Americans do not want to hear. There are many citizens of this world who cannot see the U.S. in any other light but as evil. The onus is on us to change that image. I hope this tragedy will cause us to become more aware and involved in what our government is doing overseas with our tax dollars. Only then can we be called a truly democratic nation that represents the will of the people.

—Gurvinder Singh



I am 38, born in Iran, Shiite Muslim, but atheistic (yes, that exists, more than you think). I live in France since 1979. I read John Powers’ article entitled “Media Fundamentalism” on a Persian Web site, payvand.com, and I loved it. I cried for the Americans who died on September 11 and hope that people responsible for that will be punished. But I think sometimes U.S. journalists have a duty to enhance the level of political debate and self-criticism. In Europe this is how it is. You are the first journalists that I read doing that. God (if he exists) bless you.

—Peyman Peymani
Paris, France

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