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Web Letter

Been rereading Marvin Harris over the weekend and was struck by the similarities between his explication of the Inquisition's pursuit of witches and the methods and arguments of the Bush GWOT. As you recall, Harris saw the pursuit of witches as a ploy by the church and the aristocracy to counter popular uprisings by the lower classes in attempts to reclaim power over their lives and expropriated property. By and large, the torture and oppression worked.

While the instruments of the GWOT--imprisonment, Star Chamber trials and torture--were ostensibly created to deal with "the terrorists," just who will qualify for that label in future is anyone's guess. The FBI claims the most numerous domestic terrorists currently threatening this great land are those pesky "eco-terrorists" with their doomsday "global warming" rants.

I would guess that, much like those targeted by recent formulations making critics of the President's Iraq policies potentially subject to classification as terrorists, the rest of us may not be far behind.

Sam Thornton

Burwell, NE

Sep 17 2007 - 7:19pm

Web Letter

How The Nation has fallen under the ravages of its patrician overseer vanden Heuvel.

This is silly stuff on terror. The war on terrror is a phony war if ever there was one, concocted to allow more advances for empire and Israel at the cost of much Iraqi life (over 1 million dead now according to The Lancet) and some thousands of Americans.

Let us face facts. The attack on the WTC and Pentagon were pinpricks in terms of human life in the US. Crimes, yes--but mortal threats, no. And we do not yet and may never know who did 9/11--although it is very clear that the FBI, Mossad and CIA knew it was coming and did nothing to prevent it and perhaps abetted it.

So we have a phony war. The Nation's proud heritage now almost completely suffocated by Katrina's Dem friends will not make this point. The question of "more security" is little more than a talking point for the Dems, the other war party and Katrina's patron.

John Walsh

Cambridge , MA

Sep 13 2007 - 8:23pm

Web Letter

I agree that the current aggressive approach toward countering terrorism is ineffective or worse. However we needn’t rely only on a defensive, reactive posture. There is an “offensive” (better, a “proactive”) response we can make which would start reducing the threat of terrorism almost immediately: let’s go into Third World countries and build schools, hospitals, sanitation systems and other public infrastructure that gives people hope for a life of safety, comfort and opportunity.

It has been repeatedly pointed out that fundamentalism/ fanaticism is the last way-station before oblivion. Desperate, cornered, hopeless people might strap a bomb to themselves or crash an airplane. Healthy, happy people with hope for the future would not.

In my view, that’s smart “defense” spending.

Bill Miller

Menlo Park, CA

Sep 7 2007 - 5:44pm

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