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Debating the State of the Union | The Nation

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Debating the State of the Union

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The last edition of Robert Scheer's "Column Left" (which appears originally in the Los Angeles Times) has inspired a raft of letters, many of them irate, regarding his stance on Bush, war with Iraq and his method of expressing himself. We've selected a representative sampling below.

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Madrid, Spain

Very good, Robert Scheer, for your articles on the folly of current mainstream American attitudes toward impending war in Iraq. If only the thinking behind these articles could penetrate the mindlessness of the major television channels in the United States and (wonder of wonders!) make people sit up and think. The Nation represents an oasis in a huge desert of Stars and Stripes, so-called patriotism gone crazy. Your appearance on the Net is a godsend for people such as me in Europe who insist, and know--but through the European media have little means of verifying--that sensible minds exist in the United States and are able to see through the whole of the Bush bluff.

GRAHAM LONG


San Antonio, Texas

As an occasional reader of The Nation, I am getting tired of seeing editorials like Robert Scheer's. While I think that the debate/discussion around potential war with Iraq is needed (and insures a healthy democracy), I am getting tired of editorials that ignore basic facts (e.g., Saddam is a madman and a menace to any society) and belittle the international support for the US position (the ten nations supporting the effort are significantly more important in many respects than the few that are opposed). These omissions completely destroy any credibility that those opposed to the war have. You are not helping the cause!

I know that many have a personal dislike for W., but the blind hatred (so much for us being the compassionate ones) is making the whole cause look like a circus.

CHRISTOPHER KOCH


Norfolk, Virginia

I agree with just about everything progressive, but I have to say that Robert Scheer's characterization of those countries willing to join a US coalition against Iraq as "a motley collection of nations one can buy on EBay" is just as snotty as Rumsfeld's characterization of France and Germany as "old Europe." Doesn't it seem that progressives should strive to offer an alternative rhetorical tone in advancing their honest criticisms and policy alternatives? Otherwise, we only change the window dressing of meanspirited intent--just an observation.

D.D. DELANEY


Wichita, Kansas

When Robert Scheer states, "We are likely to march to war with the support of an 'international coalition' that amounts to a fig leaf named Tony Blair and a motley collection of nations one can buy on EBay," I would ask...which nations did he have in mind as ones for sale? Australia? Bulgaria? The Czech Republic? Denmark? Hungary? Israel? Italy? Poland? Portugal? Spain? Turkey? Does he have the fortitude to actually NAME the country he would like to slur, or is he the sort of intellectual coward who hides behind a snide comment rather than a reasoned argument?

If a conservative writer had made as ugly and unprincipled a comment as this, he would be pilloried as a racist, isolationist or worse. One wonders why this comment passed editorial muster for The Nation.

MARK L. SHANKS


Columbia, Missouri

This harmless "third-world dictator" is obviously insanely bent on world domination and control through the most inhumane and unimaginable means possible. I do not understand how you can possibly sidestep the outrageous contempt this madman has shown toward the free world and the peace-loving people of his own country. When the monster is able to release his chemical holocaust on us through terrorist operatives it will be too late. We need to stop him before that happens!

VERNON J. WESTENBROEK

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