Thursday, June 29, 2006
POOR PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER
Bravo to Jeremy Seabrook for is brilliant deconstruction of the term “development” [“Development Destroys,” June 22-28]. Reading it, I was reminded of a quote by Satish Kumar, a Jain monk who now heads Schumacher College in England: “Poverty is not the problem. Great wealth is the problem. Poverty is the solution.”
Seabrook’s analysis reminded me to keep heading (rapidly!) towards volunteer simplicity and the “poverty” of people in “underdeveloped” countries. I aspire to be in solidarity with the majority of people (and other living creatures) who are, in at least one way, doing what is right—living lightly and sustainably by using the planet’s precious resources so sparingly and, therefore, responsibly. —Sidney Ramsden Scott | Monterey
EDITOR WRITES IDIOTIC HEADLINES
I wrote a letter on June 17 in response to Jeff Van Middlebrook’s letter of the previous week. I did not title my letter and I am disappointed that the headline you chose referred to Mr. Van Middlebrook as an idiot [“Letter Writer: What An Idiot”].
I do not think JVM is an idiot, we just have very different opinions on many issues and all I meant to do was express mine.
I would like to see a retraction and a clarification in your next issue stating that it was your choice to use the term “idiot” and not mine. —Peter Monteforte | Pacific Grove
BUSH IS A BOOB, BUT HIS WAR IS OK
Mr. Monteforte and I have known one another for many years and more often than not we’ve concurred almost 100 percent on various issues. But I find his employment of my lack of warrior credentials as some basis to discredit my position on Iraq to be disingenuous, given the fact that he was not directly involved in combat himself during the Vietnam War. In fact, he supported the Vietnam War by being in the military while I refused induction into that same war. So whose anti-war credentials are the strongest? Plus, he voted for Clinton, who also never served in the military, and yet committed troops to Bosnia and Somalia.
It comes down to a matter of partisan politics for Mr. Monteforte’s position on Iraq, and that is truly disingenuous. Had the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent deposing of Saddam been carried out under Clinton’s regime I must wonder if Mr. Monteforte would have turned a blind eye to it.
I’ve gone on record as being anti-Bush. Bush is a bumbling boob, and even intelligent Republicans and true conservatives have lost faith in their golden boy. However, I was in favor of getting rid of Saddam and liberating the Iraqi people, and I have not changed my position on this. WMD or no WMD, America had a moral imperative to rid the world of another Hitleresque madman. Tragically, we’ve been sucked into a nightmare.
Would Mr. Monteforte have voted in 1941 to have America remain an isolationist nation while the Nazis and Japanese waged genocides on Jews and Chinese? War is horrible, but sometimes good people have to become righteous warriors to defeat evil otherwise evil wins. Mr. Monteforte is a good and decent man but I think he’s still suffering from Vietnam War guilt and it has clouded his ability to judge every war situation as a unique set of circumstances. —Jeffrey Van Middlebrook | Pacific Grove
GITMO IS A NO-GO
Guantanamo Bay serves as the US Potemkin Village, all appearance and little substance. If the US produced an intelligence coup from this miasma of miserable foot soldiers, it would be on CNN by noon. The passage of years has rendered the likelihood of such to near zero. The bulk of detainees are ill-informed, uneducated grunts with little if any knowledge of usable intelligence. Anything of value has been rendered valueless by the simple fact that things change too rapidly and last year’s potentials have become irrelevant.
The right has been very effective at campaigning (albeit dirty fighting is the norm), but fails at governance. Likewise, elimination of world terrorism is seen as a target for massive Pentagon activity. The Pentagon has to use all of its newest toys or lose justification for its massive budget.
It all boils down to the right wing’s ongoing lack of creative imagination. They create straw men as diversions in the hopes that the electorate will fail to see through the illusions, primary among these is their naked emperor. Even if Gitmo is phased out, it leaves the right focused and one-pointed, wherein lies their greatest strength. If the left loses in November, their chronic Achilles heel will be their inability to achieve a similar unit of purpose. —Bill Cox | Marina