Web Letters | The Nation


Without Parents or Lawyers, Thousands of Children Brave Chaos of Immigration Courts Alone

I have been an immigration lawyer for more than thirty years, including seven as an immigration counsel on the House Judiciary Committee. I have written an article in which I propose an alternative for handling the unaccompanied alien children crisis in a way that I think would be in the best interests of the children and could be acceptable to both parties. “Meeting the Challenge of Unaccompanied Alien Children at the Southwest Border: Is there a better way?” (July 10, 2014).

Nolan Rappaport

Washington, DC

Aug 26 2014 - 10:04pm

How the War on Terror Created the World's Most Powerful Terror Group

This is why The Nation is so yesterday. The truth is, the US created ISIS and weaponized the group, just as the US created the fictitious band called “Al Qaeda.” ISIS is the new home-fashioned boogeyman. Just as America and Israel created Hamas to soften Fatah (who?), they can create new Islamic enemies just with a snap of the ol’ AIPAC. You see. It’s the same clown dressed in ever-new clothes. And even The Nation is falling for the storyline now. Boo! Scared you.

Richard Mann

Seattle, WA

Aug 22 2014 - 5:59pm

The American Cult of Bombing

OMG! We had the flight simulators for attacking Russia, Vietnam, Korea, Lybia, Irak, Iran (scenarios : stealth delivery of goodies and baksheesh, support attacks, full-war bombing anything including nuke plants…) already in the 1980s! And from the recent “jubilees” for WW1 and WW2, when the takeover of the world by the USA began, there seems to be no hope anyone will remember and learn from WW3 (against Russia and China).

Klaus Reinstein


Aug 20 2014 - 1:14am

The New Cold War and the Necessity of Patriotic Heresy

This article is a tissue of lies.

Cohen claims Ukraine is hopelessly divided. This is a lie. They had a free, fair and presidential election in May, and 55 percent of the people voted for Poroshenko—a moderate, pragmatic, middle-of-the-road candidate who is also a Ukrainian patriot. (The far right candidates on the ballot got a combined 2 percent of the vote. So much for Ukraine’s supposedly scary far right.)

Cohen claims the EU association agreement was a “reckless provocation.” This is a lie. The agreement is meant to improve workers’ rights, environmental protection, energy-saving, the fairness of the judicial system and many other good things all progressives should support. Read the full text here.

Cohen claims: “In February 2014, radicalized Maidan protests, strongly influenced by extreme nationalist and even semi-fascist street forces, turned violent.” This is a lie. Here is the footage of Yanukovych’s thugs murdering dozens of unarmed protesters in cold blood (note that the video has an age gate; there are some grisly moments).

Cohen explicitly calls the current Ukrainian government a “coup.” This is a lie. The democratically elected Ukrainian parliament voted by 328-to-0 (well over the necessary quorum) to impeach and remove Yanukovych, after his thugs opened fire on Maidan.

Finally, Cohen blames the violence in Donbass on Ukraine. This is a lie. Putin has sent thousands of mercenaries and guns to destabilize Ukraine, including T-64s, APCs, Grad missile launchers and the SA-11 antiair missile system which shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, killing 298 innocent people (in addition to the copious satellite and air-log evidence, citizen journalists have found a raft of forensic and other evidence pointing to Putin’s culpability).

Putin needs to stop his godawful war of imperial aggression on Ukraine, immediately—and leftists need to stop whitewashing Putinism as anything other than the wretched petro-gangsterism of Russia’s 1 percent, which it indeed is.

Dennis Redmond

Miami, FL

Aug 13 2014 - 3:30pm

The New Cold War and the Necessity of Patriotic Heresy

Cohen writes, “The same is true of the surreal demonization of Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin—a kind of personal vilification without any real precedent in the past, at least after Stalin’s death.” Hello!? Putin is a dictator. He is fomenting military disorder on a bordering country. Remember Hitler. He was did the same! (He also was “democratically” elected.)

Curt Degler

Pondicherry, INDIA

Aug 13 2014 - 2:32pm

Government Whitewashing Didn’t Stop With Watergate

To me, the most significant part of Alterman’s essay is when he says the national security state is out of control. No less a figure than Harry Truman appeared to have similar thoughts. In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post on December 22, 1963, exactly one month after the assassination of President Kennedy, Truman wrote, in part, “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency.”

This was a remarkable public statement coming from a former president, and doubly remarkable in that it came from the president who spearheaded the establishment of the CIA after World War II.

He went on in the piece to say he believed the CIA had ventured off into activities that he had not foreseen when he helped set up the agency.

Translation: Truman was saying the CIA was out of control. And he said this fifty years ago. (Fifty-one this November.)

The headline for Truman’s op-ed was “Limit CIA Role to Intelligence.” In other words, Truman wanted the CIA to change direction and to operate within the parameters he had helped to lay down. It’s fascinating to wonder whether Truman stipulated that the Post publish his piece one month after the assassination of President Kennedy and if he did, whether Truman had any suspicions of a CIA role in Kennedy’s murder.

My approach is to look at the sequence of events. In June, Kennedy used his commencement address at American University to announce his agreement to negotiations on a test ban treaty and the suspension of atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

Kennedy also praised the accomplishments of the Russian people. Kennedy was calling for a lowering of tensions with the Soviets. Implicit in that was the possibility of ending the Cold War altogether. In November he was dead, and one month later Truman’s op-ed piece appeared. The national security state has been out of control almost since the moment it was created.

John Kirsch

Mazatlán, MEXICO

Aug 13 2014 - 10:58am

Against Intervention in Iraq

It’s ridiculous to suggest bombing the barbarians will make things worse in Iraq. ISIS has genetic links to cockroaches, not doubt, and so it’s unlikely it can be completely eradicated, but from what I’ve read about this group, the more of them that are blasted to smithereens, the better. If America can help with that, it is finally doing something useful with its bloated military. Bombs away, and fast.

Bill Rankin

Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA

Aug 8 2014 - 11:41am

Israel Must Stop Its Campaign of Terror

I disagree with Chris Hayes’s position that Israel’s response to Hamas’s constant bombardment of rockets into Israel is inappropriate, that the killing of Palestinian civilians is a consequence of Israel’s overreach, and that the Palestinian civilians have no culpability for the violence. Hamas has made no secret of its desire to destroy Israel and has been shooting rockets into Israel for months. Israel has the right and responsibility to protect its citizens.

Years ago Israel withdrew from Gaza and turned the territory over to the Palestinians, who elected Hamas as their government. Instead of focusing its energies on establishing a functioning country, Hamas spends its money on weapons to be used against Israel. In spite of Hamas’s inability to govern effectively and create a viable economy, the network newspeople report that the majority of the civilians in Gaza support and would re-elect the organization.

Hamas is solely responsible for the retaliation from Israel; when Hamas stops launching rockets into Israel, Israel will stop bombing Gaza. It is Hamas’s responsibility to protect the Palestinians, and the way to do that is to stop launching rockets into Israel. To blame Israel for Palestinian casualties is unfair and illogical. Israel did not initiate the violence; Hamas did. Chris Hayes’s comments to the Rabbi on his August 1 evening program were wrong-headed and offensive.

Paula Hannah

Aug 2 2014 - 1:10am

Why Is Washington Risking War With Russia?

Katrina vanden Heuvel and Stephen F. Cohen seem to have forgotten, (and perhaps someone should remind them) that the Russians are not only interfering in Ukraine in complete defiance of international law but also that they shot down a civilian airliner.

Perhaps Katrina and Stephen need Russia to invade a few more countries and sink some ocean-bound cruise liners before they admit that Moscow must be stopped? Or will they only come to their senses if Putin lobs a few nuclear warheads over Europe?

The panic-mongering article, which strangely seemed to support Putin’s position that Russia has some legitimate right to meddle in Ukrainian affairs, is trash. You should be ashamed to put such tripe in your newspaper, lest it become nothing more than a propoganda outlet for Putin.

And then to blame Obama? Political agenda much?

John Dotchel

Philadelphia, PA

Aug 1 2014 - 6:18pm

The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities

I’m a US citizen and resident of Lugansk, Ukraine. It’s shameful that with your basically progressive philosophy you would write such inaccurate editorials about eastern Ukraine.

1. These people who have taken over and are destroying our beautiful city are no longer separatists—they are overwhelmingly foreign mercenary terrorists, sent by Putin.

2. Where, it is true, after the obvious US support at Maidan for the ultra-right Svoboda party who triggered this disaster by attempting to outlaw the speaking of Russian, even in our homes, a strong minority supported the secessionists. No longer. The terrorists are stealing cars, looting, kidnapping our young innocent girls for their “brothels”, and constantly shelling our residential areas and blaming the shelling on the Ukrainian army—Russian propaganda that your editors apparently have swallowed. Like Israel, Kiev is not shelling indiscriminately—civilian casualties are collateral damage. The terrorists are, however, and blaming the casualties on Kiev.

3 The Ukraine army has not shelled Russia. They have no interest in committing suicide. They do have, however, proof that the terrorists have—emulating Hitler’s pre-Poland invasion excuse.

4. Ukraine was disarmed in 1994, obviously not by Obama but as part of the Budapest Memorandum exchanging Ukraine’s nuclear weapons for US and UK promises of border defense. Neither country has fulfilled this obligation—certainly, sanctions alone are a joke. For each new round of sanctions, Putin sends another caravan of tanks and troops up Sovietskaya Oolitsa in Lugansk.

Lugansk is now without water, electricity, transportation, with little food and less hope—triggered by US perfidy and maintained by Russian propaganda, which you are helping disseminate. Our boys are trying to defend us without proper helmets, flak vests, inferior tanks and armored vehicles. They are on the front line of trying to stop Russian aggression and desperately need help—not your ignorant justifications. Stay with the standards you’ve exhibited in the past.

Please do not publish my name—my family and friends will be arrested and quite likely executed—these are terrorists—not separatists.

[Name withheld by request]

Lugansk, UKRAINE

Aug 1 2014 - 3:58pm