Web Letters | The Nation


Did the GOP Just Give Away $130 Billion of Public Property?

Number one in your bullets referencing “native burial ground” is not a true statement. There has been a Class III cultural resources inventory of the property. There are archaeological sites in the project area that are eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic places. Further, the project area is considered to be a “traditional cultural property.” I know, because I help write the documents. There are no known “burial grounds” or cemeteries in the Resolution project area.

M. Brack

Tucson, AZ

Feb 15 2015 - 1:22pm

Why Don’t Americans Know What Really Happened in Vietnam?

US air force fire-bombing cities of 100,000 in Vietnam and killing over 100,000 civilians in each city. Fire bombing, 100,000 people burning to death in every city there with a population of 100,000 or more. That’s what our infamous Air Force General Curtis LeMay ordered. Can you imagine our air force doing that? It’s enough to make you puke just thinking about an atrocity like that.

Gerald Falkenstein


Feb 10 2015 - 9:40am

Elizabeth Warren Insists She’s Not Running for President. These Activists Are Trying to Change Her Mind.

All things aside, Elizabeth Warren will be far more powerful in the future as a senator than as a president. I believe she already knows this. This is why she has stated many times she is not running. Being president is just not what she should do. And she seems to know this. Otherwise, she would have thrown her hat into the ring before this. Stop all this pressure on her. Allow her to stay where she is. A fabulous cause for women in politics!

Dolores Chandler

Southern California

Feb 9 2015 - 5:28pm

Elizabeth Warren Insists She’s Not Running for President. These Activists Are Trying to Change Her Mind.

Elizabeth Warren forcefully argues for progressive causes, and in particular is an advocate for financial justice. If she could spearhead a progressive caucus strong enough to advance her goals, and block the paid representatives of the 1 percent and their financial industry minions, she could be an effective legislator as well.

If she were to become president, a Congress run by the GOP and abetted by Democrats beholden to their financial backers would doom her presideny to a fate similar to Obama’s: opposed at every turn in Congress, denigrated as a commie in the press, and eventually scorned by the electorate who cronically fail to grasp the importance her policy positions.

Asher Fried

Croton-on-Hudson NY

Feb 5 2015 - 1:56pm

Theater of the Absurd

Eric Alterman’s article, “Theatre of the Absurd,” is shocking in its lack of journalistic integrity. I wrote nothing about the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The quote he ascribes to me came from another source, hence the quotation marks around the quote itself.

Has it become your policy to print something from a Facebook posting that is a screen shot of a longer conversation? Did it occur to you that it was odd that the quote had quotation marks around it, a clear indication that it belonged to someone else? Did your publication think to contact me and ask me if the quote was mine or what the circumstances were? It’s easy to find me on Facebook.

Do you want the entire conversation? I will be happy to copy it for you, but I do have to say I’m surprised that The Nation, a publication I have enjoyed for years, would stoop to the level of quoting racist blogs like “Israellycool.”

I would like an apology from you. Thank you.

[The author is a co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement

Greta Berlin


Feb 2 2015 - 9:24am

ISIS Wants You to Share This

Thank you for writing this brilliant piece. In the long run the international human rights discourse and practice would be strengthened. Even before the current obsessive clicking and tweeting, there were many occasions when intensive episodes of well-publicized naming and shaming were not followed by commensurate international responses and actions. Your article should be read by those who still think that human-rights advocacy treads the old colonialist path.

I was just reviewing one such author—Makau Mutua—who tries to reclaim Africanism for the African nations. He cutely coins, in the style of the 1950s-60s searing rhetoric, the metaphor “Savages-Victims-Saviors.” He means to capture the actions of the Westerners saving the native “victims” of the “savage” leaders of the non-Western world. He thinks that human-rights movement’s naming and shaming reaffirms the racial superiority of the Westerners, reaffirming their sense of their own high “culture.”

Mutua writes, “Using political democracy as one medium through which the human rights culture is conveyed, one is able to capture the imperial project at work. First, the choice of a political ideology that is necessary for human rights is an exclusionary act. Thus cultures that fall outside that ideological box immediately wear the label of savage. To be redeemed from their culture and history, which may be thousands of years old, a people must then deny themselves or continue to churn out victims….” And this: “What the guardians and custodians [of human rights] seek is the remaking of non-Europeans into little dark, brown, and yellow Europeans, in effect dumb copies of the original.”

Zakaria writes, “The deliberate rejection of human rights by means of a resurrection of medieval justice, as represented in these videos and pictures, is not accidental but intentional.” I am hopeful that we will endure this latest episode of medievalism. And I hope the last inheritors of the Third World radicalism would learn their lesson and turn the page. Your cosmopolitanism will ultimately prevail. Our lives depends on it. Thank you again.

Reza Afshari

Rockville, MD

Jan 31 2015 - 1:35pm

Bibi Netanyahu Has Set a New Record for Chutzpah

The article quotes Obama as stating in his SOTU speech, “The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom.” We need to change that mindset to one where we will not go to war against Iran if the negotiations fail. Obama sounds like he assumes we must go to war with Iran if the nuclear negotiations fail. This is a very dangerous and deadly mindset. Israel and its lobby are working hard to destroy the negotiations so they can get a repeat performance of what US politicians from both parties did regarding starting the unnecessary war against Iraq. The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament–based neoconservatives, along with Israel and the Israel lobby, were very successful in getting that started for the benefit of the Jewish state of Israel and the careers of politicians loyal to the Israel lobby.

Bob Johnson

Clearwater, FL

Jan 25 2015 - 2:18pm

Republicanism vs. Multiculturalism in France

Katha Pollit misunderstands the French legal prohibition on headscarves/niqabs in public space. “Public space” doesn’t mean just going out of doors or into a store. Depending on where you live (e.g., Toulon, Marseille), you can see a number of women in niqabs in the street at markets or in supermarkets. The “public space” where niqabs are forbidden are public buildings—schools/government offices and government service offices like the Post Office, Social Security/tax/social service—where it is also forbidden to go in, for example, with a motorcycle helmet or mask covering the face. And in public schools, any overt sign of religion is not tolerated. Crosses worn around the neck might not even be seen, so it is possibly as much for that reason that they are “tolerated”, rather than out of hypocrisy. Not saying that there is no hypocrisy, but…

Carolyn Nafziger


Jan 23 2015 - 3:54am

Against Easy Stories

I understand the satire cartoon about the Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haram was shocking to you, but maybe you did not get the point. In October, a new law was voted in France that concerned family allowances, namely, families with higher incomes were about to get less money allotted to them. The French right was outraged and claimed that the socialist government was declaring war on families, after allowing gay mariages and adoption by gay couples. A lot of Catholic French people protested the law, saying it would lower the high birth rate in France. Furthermore, the Catholic Church, at least its most conservative element, is violently against any abortion, even in case of rape. Now, as those poor abducted girls were mainly Christians, the fact that they are pregnant in the drawing shows that they were raped by their abducteurs. In fact, the drawing mocks the barbaric Boko Haram fighters who tape teenagers, the church that has no compassion with raped teenagers and wants them to give birth to their babies, and the Catholic French citizens who always protest in favour of family values. The cartoon is indeed difficult to understand outside the French content.

Isabelle Grynberg

Antwerp, BELGIUM

Jan 16 2015 - 2:24pm

We’ll Need an Economic Program to Make #BlackLivesMatter. Here Are Three Ideas.

Your three proposals for creating equality among all people and thereby eliminating racism are fanatically idealistic, at the very least. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of books written on poverty and the inequality in the distribution of wealth worldwide. What isn’t being addressed is the disease that is eating at the very soul of man’s existence. That sickness is low mentality breeding low mentality.

Generation after generation of failure to teach the basic principles of social graces: kindness, consideration, empathy, the acknowledgement that all people have the exact same right to life (to be alive and well), to liberty (freedom to choose what is best for ourselves) and happiness (to live without fear and anxiety). Parents have the obligation to teach their children by example that in helping others we benefit ourselves. People who experience kindness and compassion will return kindness and compassion to others.

The other problem, not addressed in the article, is you take it for granted that the wealthy are going to turn over their surplus riches willingly to support wages for full-time employment, to make up for the taxes not collected on property and income (taxes that go to support community programs like fire departments, ambulances, law enforcement and county social services).

Last, but especially not least, where is the money going to come from to dole out $50,000 to $60,000 to every baby born to low-income families? We already know families will keep pouring out babies just to get higher welfare benefits. I don’t even want to think about the population explosion that would occur, if each baby came with a $60,000 bonus check! In a semi-perfect world, where people are cognizant and respective of other people’s feelings; where there is no corruption; where there is no abuse of ‘the system’; where corporations and wealthy indiviuals pay their fair share of taxes; your ideas might be plausible. But that isn’t the world we live in.

Debra Dockstader

Buhl, ID

Jan 15 2015 - 10:55pm