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Letters

Send letters to the editor to: L.A. Weekly, P.O. Box 4315, L.A., CA 90078. Or fax us at (323) 465-3220. Or e-mail us at letters@laweekly.com. Letters, which must be typewritten and include a daytime telephone number for verification, may be edited for purposes of space or clarity.

HIS HOLINESS, MARC I

DEAR EDITOR:

Re: “Killer Bob” [“City Limits,” May 18–24]. How convenient it must be for Marc B. Haefele to sit in his office and castigate a guy who lost a leg in combat and sprinkle holy water on those who ran from it. Like Kerrey and 100,000 other veterans, I too have slaughtered unarmed people, and though sad and full of shame, have kept my medals and silence for a lot longer than Kerrey. But now that our dirty little secret is out, I come to Mr. Haefele, hat in hand and on bended knee, ready to kiss his ring finger and ask that he pass judgment on my case.

It all happened in March 1945, when elements of the 8th Air Force were sent to bomb the Munich rail yards. I was a B-17 pilot in the “Bloody Hundredth” bomb group, and by the time we arrived over the target the Germans had had time to obscure it with a smoke screen. Rather than chance hitting the nearby Dachau prison camp, we randomly elected to bomb the city center. I assume that my 12 500-pound bombs killed or maimed a hell of a lot more than 13 women and children.

I wish it were possible to convey to you how heavily my cold-blooded decision has weighed on my mind for these many years, but I assure you that time hasn’t dimmed it one iota. Yet, I remain confused and look to you for relief. Does the fact that I was 31,000 feet away from my victims absolve me of wrongdoing? On the other hand, suppose we had aimed at the yards but hit the prisoners? Would that pass Mr. Haefele’s litmus test? Or perhaps he would feel better if I had refused to drop the bombs and run. I await his decision. Shall I keep the medals or throw them in the trash?

Slander us if you will, Mr. Haefele, but bear in mind what Marshal Ney once said: “War is murder to the sound of bugles.” Every soldier knows this, but if you can’t live with it, then don’t send us. Or at the very least, tell us your tidy rules of engagement before we go, not 40 or 50 years later.

—Lieutenant Colonel
Henry Cervantes,

USAF (Retired)
Marina del Rey

DEAR EDITOR:

Marc B. Haefele’s article needs to be honored for its truth, honesty, bite and courage.

—Janine Manatis
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 

SUMMER BUMMER

DEAR EDITOR:

I read Bill Bradley’s “Darkness at Noon” [May 25–31] on the Internet. There seems to be a message in there somewhere. I’m sitting here in beautiful Houston, Texas, where the air is clear and the lights are on. We have Republican oil men running our state and influencing our policies, while you have environmentalist, fruitcake Democrats. You may not see the cause-and-effect relationship in all of this now, but I’m betting that you will before this long, hot summer is over.

I lived in California for 14 years, from 1978 to 1992, and it would appear that not much has changed. You are still letting the liberal, socialist Dems buy your votes with their something-for-nothing rhetoric and victim-mentality crap. Remember what Pogo Possum said: “We have met the enemy, and it is us.” Don’t blame George W. Bush and the Texas power-generating companies for your problems. You screwed up, and now you must pay for your failure to plan for the future. No new power plants in the last 12 years — give me a break!

Just remember, sweating is the body’s way of keeping you cool. And enjoy the summer!

—J.G. Lockwood
Houston, Texas

 

WHAT A (RACE) CARD!

DEAR EDITOR:

When is the L.A. Weekly going to realize that giving Lalo Alcaraz space every week to spew racial hatred is the very opposite of “progressive”? His recent trashing of Jim Hahn in La Cucaracha [May 18–24] was despicable and beneath your paper’s standards. Hahn is now some sort of bigot? Even Robert Scheer, an ardent Villaraigosa supporter, celebrated how refreshingly devoid of race baiting and attempts to divide people by color the mayoral race was, and applauded the fact that the two candidates were neck and neck in an extremely diverse city. Could it be that our fair citizens are looking at ideas and not skin color? The only one I’ve seen get racist so far has been Lalo. In the spirit of equity, the Weekly should at least give equal space to skinhead and Nation of Islam cartoonists.

—Vincent Basehart
Los Angeles

WE REMEMBER (SIGH), WE REMEMBER

DEAR EDITOR:

I was glad to read F.X. Feeney’s recommendation of the Lon Chaney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame [Film Special Events, May 25–31]. Any interest in and celebration of silent films is appreciated by those of us who have found this all-but-vanished art form a vibrant and viable way to tell a tale on film. Unfortunately, Feeney states, “Like Keaton, he [Chaney] was an athlete committed to doing his own stunts. That’s really him scuttling so crazily up that bell tower.”

Well, that’s really Joe Bonomo scuttling so crazily up that bell tower for most of the difficult and dangerous stunts, most specifically, for the daring slide down ropes. (Bonomo, a famous Turkish-American strongman/stuntman, was also responsible for inventing Bonomo Turkish Taffy — if anyone remembers that.) While Chaney certainly did some of his own stunts in the film, Joe Bonomo, and indeed â all stuntmen, should be able, at long last, to share in the glories of what elevated certain stars into the limelight.

—Angus Black
Los Angeles

BOUNCER ALERT!

DEAR EDITOR:

Re: your Top Jimmy obituary [May 25–31]. I was only fortunate enough to enjoy Top Jimmy’s music toward the latter part of his career, mostly at the Blue Cafe in Long Beach. Even though regular attendees of the Blue, my husband and I used to always make a date to be there when we knew he was coming through town. His raspy style, backed by a great band, gave us hours of enjoyment, which we will fortunately be able to enjoy into the future as we developed quite a decent collection of his work. Deepest sympathy to family and friends.

—Marilys Crombie
Long Beach

JOEL SILVER, ON THE OTHER HAND . . .

DEAR EDITOR:

Re: Ella Taylor’s review of Pearl Harbor [“Bombs Away,” June 1–7]. I haven’t seen the movie, and it may very well be awful, but does anything coming out of the Bruckheimer factory actually stand a chance with you guys? Come on, be honest.

—Wendy Hall
Los Angeles

 

THE EDITOR REPLIES: Hold your horses! Back in ’98, Enemy of the State made Pick of the Week. Honest.

 

DEAR EDITOR:

Good for Ella Taylor for drawing attention to the New Yorker article “The American Raj.” The hoopla the U.S. Navy contributed to the movie Pearl Harbor is more evidence that pre–World War II Navy elitism is alive and well (as John Gregory Dunne also pointed out).

—Fred A. Bender
North Hollywood

 

DEAR EDITOR:

Please inform Ms. Taylor (and her editor) that the military action of the Japanese navy was not an “invasion,” but an attack. The Japanese never seriously entertained the thought of invading Hawaii, since it was not part of their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity plan.

—Ron Spicer
Los Angeles

congratulations

At last Saturday’s L.A. Press Club Awards, L.A. Weekly won both first and second place in three categaories: Charles Rappleye took first place and Celeste Fremon second in Investigative Reporting; Nancy Rommelmann was awarded the top honor for Entertainment News while Brendan Bernhard won second; and Ben Ehrenreich scored first in Entertainment Reviews with Steven Mikulan second.

CORRECTION

The following sentences from a Concert Pick of the Week (June 1–7) should have been credited to Robert Palmer, as cited in Nelson George’s The Death of Rhythm & Blues: “Brown and his band treated every instrument as though it were a drum. Horns played single-note bursts that were sprung against downbeats, bass lines were broken into choppy two- or three-note patterns.”