By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Re: Greg Goldin’s “General Objections” [April 11–17]. Generals who have fought too many wars without a helmet should be careful of calling others morons. Regime change in Iraq, apart from improving the lives and futures of millions of Iraqis and Kurds, could, over time, improve the lot of everyone in the Middle East. The Vietnam War (which I actively protested) was a completely different situation: Ho Chi Minh was a World War II ally of the U.S. who quoted the Declaration of Independence when he announced Vietnam’s independence from France. Ho Chi Minh was Vietnam’s George Washington and had similar troop loyalty; we turned our back on him and on our own principle of the right of the people to self-government. Saddam Hussein was Iraq’s Joseph Stalin, and the Middle East’s Hitler, and his power was based on fear and bribes. Not quite the same. Our action in Vietnam was seen as illegitimate because it was illegitimate, by our own principles — unlike the current action.
So some Cold War fossil thinks he’s smarter than George W. Bush? The question of the president’s intelligence is only relevant to liberals. If what they speculate is true, the left should be even more chagrined to be repeatedly outfoxed by such a supposedly dim bulb. In case you haven’t noticed, the vast majority of Americans don’t care so much for people who think they know it all, like this general and most of the writers on your staff. Until you learn to talk topeople rather than down to them, your message will continue to be dismissed.
IT’S YOUR MESS, NOW WALLOW IN IT
Re: “Liberation: Occupation or Hell?” [The Back Story, April 11–17], this evening the local news commented in passing that the anti-war movement has now moved to a “Bring our boys back” slogan. This is even less intelligent than chanting “No war!” after the fact. Yes, bring the boys and girls back. But not until they’ve finished the fucking job. Not until Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz have cleaned up the mess they’ve made.
A regime has been overthrown. Now peace must be restored. Compassion dictates that we fight for what is best for the Iraqi people. In their name we must now demand that they be protected from further violence, that humanitarian aid be allowed to reach its destination, that farmers be supported as they replant their fields, that schools be reopened, a true democratic society encouraged. Leave the oil alone, and focus on the real national resource of Iraq: its people. Explore that field, enrich it, and see what beauty blossoms in the desert. Therein lies the path to peace and stability in the region.
HIT AND MYTH
Re: “Upscale Activism” [A Considerable Town, April 11–17]. In an otherwise typical screed, Steven Mikulan writes, “Once upon a time, according to hard-right mythologists, ungrateful citizens lined up at airports and harbors for the chance to spit on soldiers and sailors returning from Vietnam. This never happened in any real sense, but no matter — a powerful blood libel against the left had been created.”
Actually, it did, and fairly often. You can read firsthand accounts by returning service members in Bob Greene’s book The Homecoming, or just ask a Vietnam-era vet. When I had my first assignment as a platoon leader, I had three NCOs working for me, and they told me some pretty harrowing stories about how they’d been subjected to spitting, insults and other vicious conduct. Unfortunately, that kind of sickness continues to this day, as the following quote from today’s United Press International story will attest:
“CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., April 10 (UPI) — Wives of Camp Pendleton Marines involved in the war in Iraq have been receiving crank calls from individuals claiming to work for the Red Cross who regretfully, and falsely, inform them that their spouses had been killed in action.”
Now, do I think that all antiwar activists participate in this kind of behavior? No. But until Mikulan recognizes that some of his comrades do indulge in hateful conduct, his credibility on the issue will remain nil.
Steven Mikulan should pull his head out of the sand and recognize that there are conflicts and battles worth fighting, and that in the course of those conflicts, some people die. Did Mikulan sleep during his history classes? Should the fights against Nazism or communism never have taken place? If I personally ever did question the wisdom of our strike against Saddam Hussein, the questions evaporated once the war began and footage of the conditions under which most Iraqis lived was broadcast on television. If we have fewer rights ‰ today than we did before, it is not because of coalition fighting for our freedom, but because of the terrorists who fly planes into buildings, killing thousands, because we do not agree with them.
Re: Erin Aubry Kaplan’s “Department of Homegirl Security” [Cakewalk, April 25–May 1]. Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying it like I feel it, and for saying it so well. And I thought I had problems with what to do about my friends and loved ones who are on the fence, or pro-war. I told my brother the other day that I will not drop anybody if they don’t think the way I do about the war; friends are too precious. You take it all the way out. You put it all on the line. Heroic.
EASY DOES IT
Your newspaper continues to be the resource for music, art, film and the best of L.A. culture. I enjoy most everything I read in the Weekly, but one article by John Payne — his review of the White Stripes’ album Elephant[“Red and White All Over,” April 11–17] — had me questioning something: “And each time [Jack White] crawls in sopping wet with another solo, it shocks the hairs on the back of your neck. (Guitar solos of the year. Any year. Juiciest guitar solos of all time.)” Of all time? Really? Any year? Elephant is a superb album from the singing, guitar playing and just plain raw emotion, but juiciest guitar solos of all time? Payne, you write great stuff, so don’t lose your credibility in one sentence.
Re: Sara Catania’s “The FBI’s at the Door” [April 11–17]. I don’t mean to be picky, but Walnut is not in Orange County; it is in the east San Gabriel Valley. Saying it is in Orange County gives your story a completely different connotation, in my opinion. L.A. is full of lots of little cities and communities, and since yours is a local paper, your staff members should really make an effort and crack open a map.
Re: Michelle Huneven’s review of Menemsha restaurant [“Still Waters Run Muddy,” April 4–10]. I am writing on behalf of my husband, Joachim Weritz, who was the original executive chef at Menemsha. At the time of the review, however, Mr. Weritz was not at Menemsha. He departed the restaurant about three months ago.
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