Your “Now
What?” cover package [September 21–27]
was indicative of the collective
self-absorption you so-called “progressives” have always displayed. Forget the
6,000-plus people who died; dismiss the unprecedented unity better than 90 percent
of Americans are currently displaying as mindless jingoism or worse (I guess
no one is as smart or as compassionate as you liberals) . . . it’s time to focus
on the real issue here: How does this affect L.A. Weekly writers
and their hipster friends? Will there be no place for the pithy putdown of middle-class
values? Will Marc Cooper have to put his racial playing cards away for the duration?
And our very own Harold Meyerson, beating the drums of war? Oh my! “Now what?”
indeed. Is the left finally and completely irrelevant? I guess I do see a glimmer
of hope in this after all.

—Tony Blass



There is nothing more disgusting in this world than for those in the print
media to use events like the attack on America that left 7,000 dead or missing
to spout more left-wing foolishness. I know that you are disappointed that world
communism was a failure, but try not to let it show so much.

—Steve Williams
Los Angeles



I’ve read all of your articles from your two issues since the attack. I want
to commend your staff. I find myself shaking my head in disgust at images in
the media promoting “democracy,” “freedom” and “unity” while at the same time
promoting war at any cost, including that of innocent lives. Have we not learned
anything from this terrible tragedy? What is it going to take for this government
to understand that other people from other countries value the lives of their
civilians as much as we Americans value our own lives? We need to learn. We
need to check in with reality and the world. We need more media like yours.

—Leticia Morel
Los Angeles



What an amazing and powerful cover! Minimalism rocks! Excellent composition
and content.

—Martin Gee



Re: “It’s the Oil.” Johnny Angel’s correct, oil dependence has brought us
to Oil War 2. Our drive to drive has driven civilization to the edge of self-destruction.
The alternative has been available for decades — rebuilding our cities toward
energy efficiency. We’ve got the technology to do so, and still have the wealth,
unless we give it all, futilely, to the military.

—Paul Glover
Ithaca, New York



Having worked for the past 20 years in the international oil business on five
continents, I was flabbergasted to find this writer claiming in the third paragraph
that Saudi Arabia produces fully 50 percent of the oil produced globally in
one year. Just to set the facts straight, the rate of global oil production
in 2001 is estimated to be around 73 million barrels/day. Saudi production is
estimated at 9.2 million barrels/day. Hence, Saudi Arabia accounts for roughly
12.5 percent of global oil production.

Mr. Angel’s article contained many other misunderstandings and gross distortions
of facts. I found it quite humorous that he seems to think the Crusades occurred
1,300 years before 1900, around roughly 600 A.D. For your information, the first
Crusade reached and besieged Jerusalem in 1099. That was about 800 years before
1900, by my calculations.

Consistent with Mr. Angel’s inability to get basic facts correct was the absurd
assertion that the U.S. and Britain reflexively back Israel in her troubles
with her neighbors because Israel lies very near to the Persian Gulf oil deposits.
A little bit of critical thinking about this would reveal that Britain and the
U.S. would have a much easier time dealing with the Persian Gulf states if we
acquiesced to their stated desire (depending, of course, on whom you talk to
and how candid they choose to be) to see the total destruction of the state
of Israel, along with most or all of the non-Arabs living there.

Mr. Angel appears to be just as massively misinformed about Israel as he is
about the global oil marketplace and medieval history. Where do you guys get
these amateurs?

—Jefferson Williams
Los Angeles


JOHNNY ANGEL REPLIES: Yes, I misstated my case — it’s the several nations
of the Saudi peninsula, not just Saudi Arabia, that produce half the world’s
oil. But the point remains: It isn’t our love of heat, camels or dried fruit
that draws us to the region. It’s the oil.



Thank you for publishing Judith Lewis’ interview with Mr.
Tamim Ansary [“Stranger Than Fiction”]
. It is nice in this age of rapidly
spreading information to be able to verify the origins and the background of
forwarded e-mails. The interview you have posted has added depth to an already
insightful essay. Thank you for â helping to balance the knee-jerk reaction
to inflict violence on the Afghani people just for being in the same country
with a band of evil outcasts.

—Sarah Dressler
St. Georges, Delaware



I just read the interview with Tamim Ansary. As I read Mr. Ansary’s original
essay, it struck me that the Taliban are akin to the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia,
and Osama bin Laden is like Pol Pot. As I recall, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge
killed about 3 to 5 million of their fellow citizens and were able to avoid
capture and justice for over 20 years. It is terrifying that someone of a similar
ilk is again on the loose, but on a worldwide basis. It strikes me that we must
stand up to this terror or we will all go the way of the Cambodians of the 1970s.

—Judy Zaunbrecher
Racine, Wisconsin



Harold Meyerson’s “Next Cold War.”
Thank you for the article. However, there
are deep contradictions in it that destroy its sense. The most outstanding is
revealed in this statement: “There are, however, two other underlying problems
with a more direct causal connection to the violence of last week, and which
aren’t really susceptible to changes in American policy. The first is the political
underdevelopment of the Arab world.”

Mr. Meyerson fails to mention that U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia has been
precisely to defend its monarchy at all costs, regardless of its sometimes violent
suppression of political opposition and free speech. In return for its defense
of the ruling monarchy, the U.S. gets a stable partner that will sell oil to
it and to the “global market” at reasonable and predictable costs. Certainly,
this blank-check support for an undemocratic regime is something the U.S. can
indeed change, something that would have a direct effect on the hatred some
Arabs feel toward the U.S., and therefore on the potential for terrorism coming
from that region.

—Raul Vasquez
Los Angeles



I just read the editorial by John
Powers titled “Media Fundamentalism.”
I applaud his courage and sincerity
in trying to get at the truth, which so many of us Americans do not want to
hear. There are many citizens of this world who cannot see the U.S. in any other
light but as evil. The onus is on us to change that image. I hope this tragedy
will cause us to become more aware and involved in what our government is doing
overseas with our tax dollars. Only then can we be called a truly democratic
nation that represents the will of the people.

—Gurvinder Singh



I am 38, born in Iran, Shiite Muslim, but atheistic (yes, that exists, more
than you think). I live in France since 1979. I read John Powers’ article entitled
“Media Fundamentalism” on a Persian Web site,, and I loved
it. I cried for the Americans who died on September 11 and hope that people
responsible for that will be punished. But I think sometimes U.S. journalists
have a duty to enhance the level of political debate and self-criticism. In
Europe this is how it is. You are the first journalists that I read doing that.
God (if he exists) bless you.

—Peyman Peymani
Paris, France

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