I want to thank Douglas Sadownick for his excellent article on the great divide in queer activism [“What's Next: The Gay Movement at the Crossroads,” May 2127]. Although there is still much to be done, there is no denying the movement has achieved insider status. We now have to negotiate, wheel and deal, give and take, as do all other interest groups that participate in the political process. For those who yearn for the golden days of street protests and dumping manure on some politician's doorstep, I have this to say: If you want a place at the table, you'd better learn some manners.
SLOUCHING TOWARD APATHY
Marc Cooper, in “Slouching Toward Armageddon” [June 410], demonstrates just how hypocritical the extreme left has been toward the USA. Twenty years ago, Cooper, Ramsey Clark, Noam Chomsky and Saul Landau were cheering the Salvadoran and Nicaraguan guerrilla wars of “liberation.” I never heard them complain about the collateral damage inflicted by these guerrilla forces on the civilian population (land mines maiming peasants, blown bridges, blown power stations, etc.). Marc Cooper never wrote that “the more pressure the FMLN and FSLN apply to the Salvadoran and Nicaraguan dictators, the greater pressure these dictators will apply to their suffering peasants.” When it came to left-wing “wars of liberation,” the following analysis applied: “You have to break a few kulak eggs to make a revolutionary omelet.”
Marc Cooper and the rest of his ilk never asked the Albanian refugees their opinions of NATO bombing. Perhaps like many Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and black South Africans, they welcome attacks on their oppressors even if they themselves bear a disproportionate share of the damage. Marc Cooper never gives NATO any credit for having the lowest ratio of civilian to military casualties of any war in the 20th century. Compare the civilian dead and numbers of refugees in Yugoslavia to what the Allies provoked in Berlin, Dresden and Tokyo during World War II.
Cut through all of Cooper's facile and hypocritical analysis, and what you're left with is that the extreme left will never support an attack on a socialist brother by a herd of capitalist pigs. This is all that really animates their outrage against this war.
The L.A. Weekly should be ashamed of itself. On Page 3 of the paper, your one-line synopsis of Marc Cooper's Kosovo article says, “Cooper looks at the Kosovo conflict from both sides to find death, destruction and the imperative to act.” There is no “both sides” in what he writes, and it's wrong for you to suggest there is.
In the article itself, Mr. Cooper takes great pains in labeling American liberalism “cowardice” and pointing out that the liberal Democrats are incapable of holding two thoughts in their heads at once. Well, I have news for him. Here are two very clear thoughts:
1) The bombing evidently worked. Mr. Milosevic took the first steps in agreeing to withdraw from Kosovo the day after Mr. Cooper's article was published. Nothing to debate there.
2) Thank God Bill Clinton became the first president to blatantly and flatly violate the 1973 War Powers Act, and proceeded with the bombing. Had he not, thousands more Albanians would be lying in ditches with bullet holes in their heads. And people like Marc Cooper would be sitting on their lawn furniture, cold drink in hand, saying, “There is nothing the rest of us can do. It's really none of our business.”
Talk about cowardice . . .
STETHOSCOPE IN THE RING
Thank you for Joe Domanick's article “Straight Time” [May 28June 3] highlighting Amity's work in the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility. He is the first reporter to accurately state the connection between what Amity does and the reduction of violence. When it comes to addiction, reduction of violent crime to others, as well as violence to the self, is critical.
Amity Board of Directors
Congratulations on publishing Joe Domanick's fine article on drug use and the criminal system in California. As a physician who has treated many patients with drug dependency and drug-withdrawal symptoms, I can testify to the importance of effective drug rehabilitation. Unfortunately, the state Legislature has been handicapped in this area, as in other health-care areas, by its limited experience. There are only four individuals with health-care experience in the Legislature: a chiro-
practor who is being termed out of office, an oral surgeon, a nurse and a dental hygienist. In a â term-limited state Legislature, there simply is no time for lawmakers with other areas of interest to develop an understanding of complex health-care issues such as drug detoxification and rehabilitation. That is one reason I will be running for the Democratic nomination for the Westside's 42nd Assembly District seat in the March 2000 elections.
–Daniel Stone, M.D., MPH
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine
UCLA School of Medicine
I just read Judith Lewis' article about the Slashdot “fascists” [“Pro-Choice Computing,” May 28June 3]. I agree, there are a lot of loudmouths on Slashdot, but fascists? I think that's going a bit too far. You end your article with the sentiment “Politics be damned.” Fortunately, many coders out there — who have had to put up with the nasty politics that have gotten MS so entrenched to begin with — disagree with you on that one. Politics are relevant; free choice of software is quite rare in many, many organizations. That, and not some loud Web site such as Slashdot, is what I would term “Orwellian.”
So, Judith Lewis has been “slashdotted.” As a system administrator, what can I say — I feel her pain. She has run across the digital zealot, a strange beast that comes from (usually) a few strong opinions summarizing all he or she knows on a given issue. And when you couple those strong opinions with poor manners, you get flamed. I recommend Ms. Lewis relax and give them their head; they'll grow out of it.
And please, she shouldn't characterize this as a Linux issue. It's a life issue. She can find zealotry anywhere. I bet she could post a strongly worded opinion in a newsgroup about wart removal and get flamed. And zealotry isn't all bad, either: Linux and the Macintosh wouldn't be here at all without it.
Just remember, opinions are like, ahem . . . rear ends. Everyone has one, and it usually stinks. I hope Judith Lewis will keep working on finding that most elusive thing in our American society today, the whole truth, because we certainly have no shortage of opinion.
Marlton, New Jersey
My experience with /. has been that all they want to do is argue or pat themselves on the back, and attack anyone who even hints that Linux is not the all-perfect OS.
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