Bread, Not Bombs

Re “Slippery Slope in Iraq?” [Sept. 1/8]: unfortunately, this entire episode of military disaster is panning out like many of us feared it would back in 2003 when it started. The United States is left holding the bag for an event that will never have a clear end. Doesn’t the time frame of eleven years since this fiasco began say to a jaded public, “We need to find other solutions”? W., Cheney and Rumsfeld are madmen/sociopaths with all the wrong values for who we are.

More bombs won’t help.

Walter Pewen

Too Big to Jail

Regarding the sidebar “Why the Bank Settlements Don’t Add Up” accompanying “Jamie Dimon’s $13 Billion Secret,” by William D. Cohan [Sept. 1/8]: there is another question that needs to be answered, and that is: How much did the five-year investigation and negotiation, conducted by public employees in the capital and around the nation, cost the taxpayer? I think the answer would make the “settlement” look even less impressive.
Leon Chappell
colorado springs

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In reference to your cover article on Jamie Dimon’s secret:

I read your JPMorgan article and had to pause.
Eric Holder treats Dimon like Santa Claus.
Where is the outrage? Where is the railing?
Stop talking deals, when we should be jailing!
We fine and incarcerate for parking violations,
Wall Street criminals get bonuses and vacations.

D.W. Stechschulte Jr.
cranberry twp., pa.

Feed the World? First End Poverty

Can GMOs Help Feed a Hot and Hungry World?” asks Madeline Ostrander [Sept. 1/8]. The short answer is no—no for the same reason the globalized corporate food system now fails to feed 7 billion. Impoverished people are hungry because they don’t have the money to buy food, not because there is too little food in the world.

Articles about feeding 9 billion people in the future always seem to focus on technological fixes: genetic engineering, more productivity, greater yields. But Monsanto is not in the business of selling genetically modified seed to people who have no money. The world won’t feed
7 billion or 9 billion unless our political and economic institutions address the root causes of poverty.

The last thing the world needs is a handful of transnational corporations owning the genetics of its principal food crops within the globalized food systems of corporate-driven trade agreements. Farmers in impoverished countries can’t compete with rich countries for the seed, fertilizers and water used by industrial monoculture. Consumers in impoverished countries can’t compete for food with hedge funds speculating on the prices of global commodities.

Feeding everyone now and in the future will require not GMOs, but economic policies that work for people rather than global finance. Take food and agriculture out of global trade agreements, limit speculation in commodity markets, institute land reform favoring small-holder agriculture supplying local markets, get farmers out of debt peonage with public finance, abolish the IMF and its neoliberal “structural adjustment” austerity programs that enslave countries to global finance. The world would then have the political and economic space to create the public institutions needed to support farmers in locally adapted solutions of soil fertility, water management and genetic diversity that are the real answers to coping with climate change.

Clifford Bradley
missoula, mont.

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The main issue in the GMO debate is not what scientists think is good for us. The main issue is mandatory labeling, which would allow us all to make our own decisions. Respect for the individual’s right to make informed choices is what democracy is supposed to be about. I’m disappointed that The Nation printed this article.
Janet Maker
los angeles

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The appended picture shows a wheat field in southern Ontario resplendent with “volunteer” GMO wheat, which has come up thick enough to promise a plentiful harvest. But because the previously harvested crop was a patented GMO variety, and the seeds that fell through the combine are thus also patented, the farmer is forbidden to harvest this crop. Such shameful waste in a hungry world feeds the fat cats and not the hungry.

Do GMO seed companies own a patent on starvation?

E.A. Taverner
evendale, ohio

Patriotic Heresy

The following letter arrived too late to be included with others on this subject on last week’s Letters page, so we include it here.
 —The Editors

Katrina vanden Heuvel and Stephen F. Cohen’s call for political heresy on the part of American patriots who oppose a new cold war with Russia is a call we Americans ignore at our peril [“War With Russia?” Aug. 8/15]. Perhaps our government is in the grip of corporate defense contractors who ensure their own economic security, but this is coming at the expense of terrible human tolls around the world, including Ukraine. While our country does need and genuinely appreciates the sacrifices of our armed forces and Foreign Service employees, we do not need to indulge in deliberate provocations where our guarantors of peace become the unwitting instigators of war.

I ask if the thousands of Americans who hosted Russian business, cultural and political leaders in their homes and offices for the past twenty-three years (and more), welcoming them to the international community, are just going to fade away when our leaders in Washington seem to have lost their bearings?

It really is time to come out of the woodwork and insist on a national policy toward Russia that is more than villainizing Vladimir Putin as we simultaneously push ourselves into his backyard. Thank you, Ms. vanden Heuvel and Dr. Cohen, for your call to arms. The “patriotic heresy” of today can become the conventional wisdom of tomorrow. Citizens and professors, throw off your chains! We can and must find a way!

Howard Mettee
youngstown, ohio