Readers weigh in on our endorsement of Obama, our coverage of terrorism and our grammar.


Change of Heart & Mind

Astoria, N.Y.

Recently I wrote saying that I would not be renewing my subscription because of your endorsement of Barack Obama. But he brought me to his side with his brilliant speech on race (and America), and I now think it would be almost sinful not to vote for him. So you were right, and I will be renewing my subscription after all. Thank you.


For Whom Would Jesus Vote?

West Lafayette, Ind.

I find it difficult to support a magazine that, while claiming to uphold certain values to which I subscribe, would exhibit such blatant disregard of fundamental English grammar as the headline “Who Would Jesus Vote For?” on Bob Moser’s March 24 piece on evangelicals. My mother taught for years in the East Bronx to get students to write correct English. I cannot disregard her memory by letting such blatant disrespect for our language to pass unnoticed.


Palm Bay, Fla.

I am a high school English teacher and am mildly amused yet slightly disturbed by the bad grammar on your cover. I tell my students to read your magazine not only for its content but also for its edifying vocabulary and writing style. But I also wish to thank you for keeping me informed over the years with your frankness, good writing and intellectual stimulation.


Jamaica Plain, Mass.

So good to read about how some evangelicals’ beliefs go beyond the stereotype of supporting Jerry Falwell and his kind. At first I misread the headline as “Who Would Vote for Jesus?” I foresaw a tragicomic article about how the neocon attack machine would go after Jesus for being soft on enemies (“Turn the other cheek”), even for speaking to them, or for bringing up “class war” (“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven”).


OSS–Of Swashbuckling Sages

Washington, D.C.

Robert Dreyfuss, in “Hothead McCain” [March 24], describes the Office of Strategic Services, predecessor of the CIA, as a “rambunctious, often out-of-control World War II-era covert-ops team.” Led by the legendary “Wild Bill” Donovan, the OSS was a visionary, daring, innovative, unorthodox, effective intelligence organization. It abetted Allied victories in North Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Donovan recruited an array of “glorious amateurs,” as he called them, including Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Ralph Bunche, Arthur Goldberg, Julia Child, John Ford [and Nation puzzle setter Frank W. Lewis–Ed.]. Many OSS personnel–including my father–risked their lives volunteering for missions behind enemy lines.

Creating a new intelligence service patterned after the OSS is an intriguing notion that deserves serious consideration, not Dreyfuss’s casual dismissal.

CHARLES PINCK, president
The OSS Society

Terror Experts Speak

Washington, D.C.

In “Experts in Terror” [Feb. 4], Petra Bartosiewicz made an error in reference to our latest book, Jihad Incorporated. Alluding to the book’s treatment of the terrorism-related case of Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, Bartosiewicz writes: “Emerson incorrectly cites the Aref and Hossain case as evidence that individuals in the United States are ‘directly linked’ to the JeI [Jamaat-e-Islami]. With the exception of a single newspaper clip, the only sources cited in the section on the case are government documents from the trial.”

In fact, the book refers to allegations in the criminal complaint stating that Hossain himself told an FBI informant that he was a member of Jamaat-e-Islami. The complaint provides these details: “In response to CI-1 talking about martyrs having spilled their blood, HOSSAIN told CI-1 that he was a member of Jamaat-e-Islami (‘JEI’), a group identified by public source information as an Islamic fundamentalist political party in Pakistan with chapters in Bangladesh.

“When a third party joined the conversation, the three discussed politics. During the conversation, HOSSAIN stated that he was a ‘Nazim,’ or administrator for JEI.”

Rather than take a position on whether Hossain was a member of JeI–something about which Bartosiewicz seems to have her doubts–Jihad Incorporated merely states the fact that the complaint reports Hossain’s incriminating statement to an FBI informant.

STEVEN EMERSON, executive director
The Investigative Project on Terrorism

Bartosiewicz Replies

Brooklyn, N.Y.

As Steven Emerson surely knows, criminal indictments or complaints are the government’s allegations and are not always borne out at trial. That’s why it’s a tricky proposition to rely on them so heavily. No evidence beyond this single comment was brought in Hossain’s trial to support his being an “administrator” or a meaningful member of JeI. Even if he had been, that’s neither a crime nor an incriminating statement, as the group is not a designated foreign terrorist organization. Many things can be said about Aref and Hossain, but if, as Emerson’s book seems to suggest, Hossain is among the best examples of a fundamentalist JeI presence within our borders, we can all sleep more peacefully.


Corrections & Clarification

In Laila Al-Arian’s “Winter Soldiers Speak” [April 7], it was incorrectly stated that John Kerry testified in Detroit at the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation. He attended the event in Detroit, but he testified three months later before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In Marcela Valdes’s “Windows Into the Night” [March 31], Michael Chabon, Douglas Coupland and Raymond Chandler were labeled American, instead of North American, novelists (Coupland is Canadian). Also, the last names of Amaldo Nuevo and Vicente Huidobro were misspelled.

In Tom Hayden’s “The Old Revolutionaries of Vietnam” [March 10], an editorial error made it seem that Lady Borton was describing party leaders as “bulldogs.” She was describing the Vietnamese press.

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