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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


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

—Janine Manatis
Toronto, Ontario, Canada




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

—J.G. Lockwood
Houston, Texas




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



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



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



Re: Ella Taylor’s review of Pearl

[“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.



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
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



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


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.


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.”

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