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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. "

Stirring words and sentiment. A direct repudiation of wiretapping, torture, the Patriot Act and every other criminality committed by Bush-Cheney and their henchmen, in the name of "national security." I only hope that he will be given the support of enough of Congress--the corporate media didn't take long to criticize him. Good luck to him, God bless him, for him and for all of our sakes.

john giarratana

Jersey City, NJ

Jan 23 2009 - 11:04am

Web Letter

The author minimizes the danger that the Taliban and Osama bin Laden pose to the people of Afghanistan. While it is true that the Soviet military invasion and occupation was a serious obstacle to progress in Afghanistan, the Taliban, a creation of the CIA, caused two major setbacks for the country: it literally wiped out the secular intelligentsia that had been making slow but important progress toward ending tribalism; and it imposed a medieval reign of terror. The net result of the first is that today human resources needed to establish even a semblance of an administrative structure barely outside Kabul still remain inaccessible. Tribalism and dominance of the war lords is back with a vengeance. And uncertainties regarding the success of anti-Taliban policies make most people nervous and withdrawn from public life. The influence of bin Laden in radicalizing fanatics among Muslims around the world remains extremely powerful. I do not see how not dealing with these serves the interest of progress.

It is true however, that while military might is necessary to disable bin Laden, fear of the Taliban’s return will not be eliminated until the people of Afghanistan see some alternatives they can value, i.e., improvements in the quality of their lives. The US and the West must invest in creating an economy of substance that people would want to protect if long-term gains are to be made, both in combating fanaticism and in encouraging democracy.

M. Siddique

Chevy Chase, MD

Jan 22 2009 - 3:40pm

Web Letter

I will grant just about everything Mr. Scheer says about the misbegotten bailout. Putting out a program this huge should not be rushed into but carefully crafted to help the ordinary people at need.

As to Afghanistan, I believe that President Obama will rely on the profoundly accurate judgment of Gen. Petraeus, who has been instrumental in the victory for freedom in Iraq. We will need to see, over the next generation, how or whether a democratic system evolves in either nation. It is far too early to judge at this point.

In both fields, we will benefit by proceeding with cool thought and judgment. As to quagmires, that applies much more to the bailout than to either of the democracy-building projects.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Jan 21 2009 - 11:30am