Thank you for Brendan Bernhard’s cover story on Leonard Cohen [“Angst and Aquavit,” September 28–October 4], which conveyed both an intimate feel for, and an objective perspective on, the man and his work. For his ability to explicitly chart, through his writing and music, his own progress through the magnetic field of attraction by secular as well as spiritual forces, Leonard Cohen remains, for me, one of the most fascinating artists of our time. I am grateful for the insights into this progress, valuable indicators for us navigators of the human condition. Thanks to the Weekly for affording them the space and the ink, and, most of all, for the spirit in which offerings such as these are published.

—Felix Fischer
Bexhill, England



Great article on Leonard Cohen. In all, a well-written, interesting and engaging profile.

—Ted Bures
Los Angeles




According to William T. Vollmann [“An Afghanistan Picture Show,” September 28–October 4], “We did a very good thing when we helped the Afghans.” Not so. The U.S. engineered an apocalypse in Afghanistan. As to the Taliban, they’re the offspring of our intervention. In a 1998 interview with the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, Carter National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski claimed that funding the insurgent mujahideen’s bid for power in order to “induce a Soviet military invasion” had been an “excellent idea” because it led to a major setback for the Soviets, leading to their “demoralization.” No mention of the millions of deaths, or of the shattering of the Afghan nation. Our intervention set loose the demons that devastated that country, and now they have turned on us.

—Ted Dace
Los Angeles



William T. Vollmann’s evocation of selfish, clueless Americans — so like that of other Americans who extol the virtues of brutal and backward societies — is wrong-headed and tiring. Today, young people take as fact that America’s wealth and success are achieved on the backs of the poor people of the world, as though there is a pie and we are hogging the biggest piece. Remove America, and the poverty of the world’s so-called oppressed would be so much greater, their suffering much more profound.

—Michael DeIanni
New York City



William T. Vollmann’s outstanding “Afghanistan Picture Show” should be required reading for all the “experts” within and around the Bush administration. They should ask somebody to read it to them.

—Gerald Crowley
Talkeetna, Alaska



Re: “Futile Force” [September 21–27]. Kudos to Howard Blume. I have sent out many screeds since the WTC attacks, sent numerous letters to our elected pols, but none of my own words or those of many other authors whom I have read come close to the incisive commentary Howard has here put forward. Well done!

—Robert D. Hagan
Weaverville, North Carolina



Howard Blume, like most of Bush’s critics from the left, offers nothing but vagaries in the way of alternatives to the current crisis. He raises serious concerns about the alarming enthusiasm that some people in the United States show when it comes to making “them” — namely the terrorists and their sponsors — pay for what happened in New York. He believes that armed action of any kind will result in the death of innocent people, and he may well be right. But the same could be argued for World War II, when there was no alternative to bombing Germany and Japan.

I wish there were a politically correct kind of war in which “only the guilty” die. Unfortunately, that is not the way reality works.

—Ricardo A. Romero


Re: “Behind Bush: Those ‘Wag the Dog’ Dems” [Dissonance, September 21–27]. Marc Cooper is right on! I am sending this article to my (Democratic) representatives and anyone else I can think of.

—Cathy Van Maren
La Crosse, Wisconsin



No matter what happens and no matter who else might warrant criticism, Mr. Cooper seems bent on sneering at Democrats. His latest hit is the worse for being unjustified in every respect, starting with the title. Is Mr. Cooper suggesting that the World Trade Center attack and our response to it is some imaginary fight whirled up to distract us?

Like all Democrats, I worked hard to avoid a Bush presidency (something that cannot be said for Mr. Cooper), but responding to this attack is now his job, and so far he has done it well. (Whether he â more resembles Winston Churchill or Daffy Duck is beside the point.) Most Democrats want him to bring the attackers to justice and defend our country, and the world, from further attacks. That is why we are backing him.

Cooper ends his article with a daydream in which Democrats call for a bipartisan reversal of Bush’s awful tax cut. Such things are not daydreams, but the result of concrete political struggle. If Cooper and his bunch had taken some time out from sneering at Democrats and showed up last November when we needed them, there might not have been a Bush tax cut to dream about upending. For Cooper now to accuse Democrats of not putting up enough of a fight is just sickening.

—Andrew Okun
Los Angeles



In “The Next Cold War” [September 21–27], Harold Meyerson, like many liberals, establishes his credentials by offering up Israel as a sacrificial lamb before critiquing the lack of democracy in the Arab world, the real cause of their anti-Western fanaticism. By not calling Hamas suicide bombers “terrorists,” he whitewashes Palestinian terrorists who bomb an Israeli pizza parlor, blow up Israeli teenagers outside a disco or bomb Jewish kids waiting for their school bus. Such whitewashing is the best PR the terrorists can ever hope for.

—Bob Kirk
Los Angeles



Re: Helen Knode’s interview with Riane Eisler [“The School for Violence,” September 28–October 4]. Eisler makes all sorts of sense. Americans need to look at what we are doing at home (intra- and interpersonally, as well as nationally) in order to predict and perhaps modify the types of humans we are producing for our future. Following such an examination, we might consider that we cannot teach what we don’t know.

—Meg Hudson
Marshall, North Carolina



Re: Celeste Fremon’s “To Be Muslim and American in L.A.” [September 21–27]. Excellent article about the worshippers at the King Fahad mosque. I hope the Weekly keeps up the good work, reporting all sides of what is happening in the U.S.

—Sabiha Khan
Garden Grove



Kudos to Dave Shulman for “Planet of the Apes: A Space Odyssey” [Sitegeist, September 21–27]. Sheer fucking brilliance.

—J. Knox
Long Beach



In the October 5–11 Neighborhood Movie Guide, a photo by Jack Gould, of Jared Sanford as the Incubus in Anna Biller’s movie A Visit From the Incubus, was misidentified. Also, in last week’s Best of L.A. issue, the photo of picnicking squirrels should have included our thanks to Bischoff’s Taxidermy. We apologize for the omission.

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