Sep
01
2005

Letters to the Editor

Missing the Point of Torture

Jacqueline Bacon’s article “Torturing Language” (Extra!, 7-8/05) is a very

good review of how language can be used to confuse and mislead people, but it misses the main point.

The torture of prisoners is not some closely guarded secret; the people of Iraq and Afghanistan know perfectly well what’s going on. And the fact that the U.S. military allows all kinds of pictures to be taken in maximum security military prisons in war zones shows that they want the information on torture to get out. It’s not an effective way to get information, so what’s the purpose?

Obviously, it’s to terrorize the population. The message is: “If we even suspect that somebody might oppose the invasion and occupation of their country, we’ll ‘disappear’ them and torture them, and maybe even kill them. So don’t even think of going against us.” It’s basically no different from the taking and killing of hostages by the Nazis in the Second World War.

Richard Vineski

Wappingers Falls, N.Y.

Isn’t Depleted Uranium “Nuclear”?

Greetings! I really enjoy Extra! and its fair reporting. I would like to comment on the article by Steve Rendall, “Ignoring the U.S.’s ‘Bad Atoms’” (7-8/05). Vietnam had its Agent Orange and napalm; modern warfare by the U.S. has depleted uranium bullets, leaving a radioactive mess behind. I am wondering how depleted uranium bullets are viewed by the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and I am surprised that depleted uranium bullets were not included in the scope of the article. Depleted uranium bullets are nuclear weapons leaving a trail of radiation behind. Keep up the good work.

Douglas S. Dahl

Umatilla, Ore.

Reliable Sources, Found

This is in reply to Herb Huebsch’s letter to the editor (“In Search of Reliable Sources”), printed in your July/August magazine:

I think, I hope, I get reliable news from the Nation, published weekly. Check it out at www.TheNation.com. Also try the Washington Spectator, published semi-monthly. Check it out at www.Washington-Spectator.com. And on the Web I enjoy www.TomDispatch.com, whose site says it is for “anyone in despair over post-September 11 U.S. mainstream coverage of our world and ourselves.” Hope this helps.

Beverly Jaeger

Santa Fe, N.M.

When Killing Kids Is OK

From “The Mainstreaming of Anti-Semitism: Few Raise Alarms When Media Bigs Attack Jews” (Extra!, 5-6/05):

The all-purpose slander of “anti-Semitism” is now used with ever-increasing promiscuity against anyone--people who condemn the wickedness of Palestinian suicide bombings every bit as much as they do the cruelty of Israel’s repeated killing of children--in an attempt to shut them up.

You’re a 22-year-old Israeli lieutenant. You have, at most, three seconds to decide if the kid running toward you is just retrieving a soccer ball or is yet another 15-year-old suicide bomber with dreams of paradise.

Oops. You waited too long. You and your men are dead.

The truth--which is so rarely cited in articles such as yours--is that the Israelis do not, as a matter of policy, deliberately target children, whereas their enemies go out of their way to do so.

And this: “Pat Buchanan, for example, shows a concern for Palestinians that he rarely if ever displays for other oppressed Third World peoples.”

It’s usually easy to differentiate anti-Semites from anti-Zionists; the latter refer to “the Israelis”; the former refer to “the Jews,” but they both base their opinions on misconceptions or outright lies.

Jeffrey E. Salzberg

New York, N.Y.

Looking for a Few Brave Readers

Your report on how the Pasadena Star-News shelved the April 30 story on

Bush’s mysterious debate bulge infuriated me. Then it made me wonder how many Pasadena residents know how close they came to getting a real investigative news story. That led to me wondering, if they knew, how they’d appreciate Talmadge Campbell selecting their news for them. Would it be possible to raise this issue on a local basis? Perhaps a few brave readers would ask Campbell to explain himself.

Just a thought from Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I often wonder how much news has been “deselected” by the conservative Grand Rapids Press, in this extremely right/Republican community.

Bob Young

Grand Rapids, Mich.

Good Questions

I would like you to know that I really appreciate FAIR.org. I no longer depend on the mainstream media industry for news. I am one of many who do believe that, regarding the information come to light surrounding the Downing Street memo, Bush’s and Blair’s actions to mislead the public into an illegal war are criminal, and Bush should be held accountable. Having spokespersons declare that this information is ridiculous is not an answer.

I think everyone, regardless of whom they voted for, should be completely aghast that we were lied to by our president, and so many American soldiers and Iraqi citizens paid with their lives! My question is why others stationed in roles in our government have done nothing about it. Has our

nation gone to sleep? Is everyone so willing to put their heads in the sand while still more lives are lost? What has happened to our country?

A. Lorren Cardozo

Chicago, Ill.