IRAQ, A HARD PLACE
Re: Ian Williams The Case Against the Anti-War Movement [September 2026]. Its not Saddam Hussein whos going to die; it will be innocent Iraqis continuing to die, along with some of our own soldiers. Perhaps Mr. Williams can find some tears for them. I see no need as a reader to endure this kind of hectoring condescension. I thought that this sort of thing was the reason why you kept Marc Cooper around. Mr. Williams is as irrelevant to the anti-war movement as it is to him. Whether the same can be said about the L.A. Weekly will remain to be seen.
Ian Williams accuses anti-war activists of praising Hussein and Milosevich. This is virtually slanderous. I challenge Williams to cite any such praise from the most prominent anti-war organizations. Ive been organizing against war for 20 years and have never heard any such praise, except when Serbian nationalists tried to hijack the opposition to intervention in Yugoslavia. But theyre not anti-war; theyre pro-Serb, and Williams ought not lump us together. As far as Ramsey Clark praising the Butcher of Belgrade, I humbly request that Mr. Williams educate me with a quote, in context, to support this contention.
Despite what Williams writes, anti-war activists do criticize Hussein, Milosevich and other tyrants, usually long before anyone else does. Remember that both these men were clients of the United States for years. In yet another ridiculous assertion, Williams argues that anti-war activists do not show concern for the locals. Clark and Scott Ritter, currently two of the movements most visible icons, are among many outspoken critics of the effects of American bombs and sanctions on Iraqis. The anti-war movement has consistently and loudly deplored the conditions that result from American warfare, and this is amply documented. How Williams could miss this is simply unfathomable; it is at the heart of anti-war rhetoric.
Williams also distorts the role of the United States in supporting Iraqi attacks on Kurds and Shiites. The Reagan administration did not simply overlook and cover up these atrocities; it indirectly funded Husseins weapons programs, and directly provided technological assistance and intelligence that enabled chemical attacks.
In Personal Wars [September 2026], Christine Pelisek implies that only those who have seen military service (in whatever form such service might take) have the insight to commit our armed services to war. If Pelisek were suffering a heart attack, would she refuse my efforts at CPR just because Im not a doctor?
Re: John Powers Republic Relations [On, October 410]. Who cares what the Europeans think of us? I dont. Arent these the same people that brought us World War I and II? They should know better, but they dont. They should be able to recognize a Hitler when they see one. If Hitler had developed nukes before we did we would be living in a much different world today. Thank God for the Yanks, and thank God for Tony Blair.
LEAVE HIM OUT OF IT
Re: Marc B. Haefeles Autumn Follies [September 1218]. I just want to set the record straight that Antonio Villaraigosa for the last 12 years has never been a resident of the 14th Council District he has resided, and continues to reside, in the 1st Council District. Furthermore, MALDEF(Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) recommended the boundaries that kept Mr. Villaraigosa in the 1st Council District, and the citizen commission recommended these boundaries to the council during redistricting.
Also, District Attorney Steve Cooleys report clearly states that Xavier Becerras mayoral-campaign staff were responsible for the Gloria Molina impersonation and its planning; their detailed confessions can be found in that report. I had nothing to do with that idiotic campaign action.
AN ASTONISHMENT OF WORDS
I come to praise the Michael Ondaatje interview with film editor Walter Murch excerpted in your paper [Eyes Half Closed, September 2026]. The conversation that unfolds between them about the art of film editing and cinema in general is an astonishment of words. Its refreshing to read the thoughts of two professional artists talking about the essence of creativity instead of hallucinating about Hollywood box office two guys exploring how moments in movies like Coppolas The Conversation and The Godfather were sculpted into epiphanies from the raw materials shot in the moviemaking process. Ondaatje zeroes in on key distinctions that Murch artfully ä makes that invite the reader to get excited and involved in imagining the parallels between great moviemaking and building the great cathedrals of Europe, or composing musical masterpieces. It was all very inspiring and what the hell edifying, for a change.
GARBO NO QUITTER
Re: The Devil Is a Woman: The Films of Marlene Dietrich [Film Special Events, September 2026]. In her overview of a LACMA retrospective of Dietrich, Hazel-Dawn Dumpert manages to pack a number of factual and judgmental errors in a longish paragraph. Garbo, of course, worked only for MGM in her American film career, not Warner Bros. Garbo did not give up but even after an absence of six years tried to return to movies, only to have the attempt regrettably scuttled due to financing. Garbo was a unique presence in film, who often transcended her material by offering characterizations of extraordinary human depth; Dietrich, on the other hand, was an amusing and self-amused star with insouciance and great cheekbones. Comparing the two always was a silly pastime, and knocking one to promote the other is an idle exercise at best and at worst an insult to both individuals.
Harry Eugene Baldwin
RUSH TO JUDGMENT
Re: Bob Macks review of Rush [Live in L.A., October 410]. So your faithful reviewer got to the show late, left early, and all he could really say about it was that he liked a couple of the tunes, but then it bogged down. Hmm. Can I have a job as a music reviewer with your publication? Obviously it doesnt require much effort or thought.
Ive read Doug Harveys review of Lipstick Traces [Rusty Pistols, October 410] three times, and I still cant figure out what he was looking for. His disappointment at the lack of spitting suggests that he was hoping to see lip-synched re-creations of John Lydons legendary performances a sort of Pistolmania, I suppose. Instead, punk is presented (quite brilliantly) in the context of history. And thats because punk music is history. If grunge died with Kurt Cobain, punk died with Joey Ramone. The only contemporary musician with any punk sensibility is Steve Earle and he doesnt look anything like Johnny Rotten.
In Sandra Ross review of A Noise Withins production of Macbeth, she referred to the drama as one of Shakespeares lengthier plays. Macbeth is, in fact, one of Shakespeares shortest plays, and definitely his shortest tragedy.