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Letters to the Editor 

Week of Wednesday, June 1, 2005

A Glantz at Iraq

Damn. Merely provocative, once again: I read your article ["What the Left Got Wrong About Iraq," Aaron Glantz, May 25] and was just left wondering: What's your point? If it is only that the left, in opposing the Iraq invasion, downplayed how brutal a dictator Saddam Hussein was -- then if that is true is it worthy enough to warrant an entire article?

Not one person I know who opposed the war suffered any illusions about Saddam Hussein's Iraq. I, myself, followed quite a bit of the mainstream and nonmainstream press leading up to the war and never once did I encounter a claim that Saddam's Iraq was a "peaceful place." I, myself, almost cringed at Michael Moore's bad, misleading choice of imagery for Saddam's Iraq, but, hey, that's Michael Moore, and I had a lot of anti-war friends who didn't like the movie.

I think you're suffering a bit of amnesia about the time leading up to the war. You criticize the anti-war movement for focusing solely on protesting the claims of the weapons of mass destruction or the al-Qaeda link. But those are the very claims that the Bush administration, in trying to build national and international support for the war, itself argued. It has only been more recently, since neither claim has been proven to have much legitimacy, that the Bush administration has tried to save face by asserting that the removal of Saddam was justified merely because he was such a brutal dictator.

Basically the war has gone and is still going as I and others had imagined when I and others were protesting it before it had started. Lots of civilians died, and the U.S. got stuck with an increasingly damaging occupation. The invasion did succeed in toppling Saddam's regime, but was it worth it? Saying it wouldn't be worth it is not the same thing as saying Iraq was a bed of roses before the war.

Your question regarding what does the anti-war left have to offer those suffering in Iran and Syria is merely provocative. First of all, why mention only those two countries? I would assume you, being a Pacifica reporter, would be aware of all the repressive regimes around the globe. Second, isn't that a lot to saddle a group of people with merely because they were opposing their own country's war plans?

Z. Armin

Vagina Dialogues

Coming next week: genital haiku!: My friends and I were having a conversation earlier tonight that involved cock blocking, and I wondered what the female version would be [Bouncer, May 18]. So we brainstormed, and our best answers were "cunt stunt" and "clitoris-no-more-us." One caveat for us was that the words must rhyme. While "muff muffle" is good, it just doesn't have the same ring as "cock block" or "cunt stunt." Just thought I'd clarify why we chose what we did, especially since "clitoris-no-more-us" is so random. (We couldn't think of much to rhyme with "vagina" or "pussy.")

When I got home I Googled "female version of cock block" and found this article, so I decided to enter your contest. And that's where we are now. And I'm kind of drunk, so I'm going to bed. But you better pick me to be the winner!

Lee Stewart
Fayetteville, Ark.

Dental Dross

The tooth of the matter: I was pretty stunned by your article ["The Storm of the Teeth," Matt Smith, May 18]. This clown is displaying HUMAN TEETH! Ward Churchill is exactly right to call this "the mentality of Eichmann." How would you feel if you were a Native American and walked into that bar? Do you think that Germans ought to be able to display the remains of their victims in jaunty bar displays? How is this different? I mean it really isn't, is it?

Now the HRC probably did a crap job or whatever; duh, it's a bureaucracy. But your characterization of Churchill is just lazy. I'm sorry to say that, but I think it's too easy to spout off about the "loony left" and "paranoid activists" without bothering to engage with the ideas there.

I mean, you were willing to engage with that horrible bartender/owner guy; why not Churchill and the "paranoid left"? In a way, you did just what you accuse the left of doing (and which they certainly do): knee-jerked.

Tom Messmer

To the Brinkin

This is a little off point, Ms. Skiffington, but are you any sort of blood relation to Yoda?: The Human Rights Commission does indeed act with zealousness; how do you think they, amongst other human rights advocates, seek and obtain rights that would otherwise remain obfuscated within prejudice and bigotry? Over 10 years ago they, led by Mr. Larry Brinkin, lead investigator, held public meetings which engulfed our transgender/transsexual communities around San Francisco into cohesive actions that resolved, for one, into the 2001 Transsexual Employee Health Benefits. Regardless of the two bar actions highlighted in your piece, everyone should take all into consideration the overall constructive achievements our HRC has obtained, for all -- pointedly or not. Wherefore, when one community strives and obtains civil goals, the next community seeking their own rightful gains is benefited by prior examples. I commend the HRC, and Mr. Brinkin, for creating, then surviving "storms."

Claire Skiffington
South of Market


In the article "Student of Concern" [May 18], the National Security Decision Directive that defined fundamental research was incorrectly identified; the correct number for the directive is 189.


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