Re: Greg Goldin’s
[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 to
people rather than down to them, your message will continue to be dismissed.
IT’S YOUR MESS, NOW WALLOW IN IT
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
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
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.
Marina del Rey