Arlington, VA

Three cheers to Ari Berman for “The Postwar Post.”

I canceled my subscriptions several months ago in some small protest over how the Washington Post has drifted to the right. I wrote their ombudsman, the same Michael Getler Nation writer Ari Berman mentions, several times to express my dismay and disappointment at their Iraq coverage, but never received the courtesy of a reply. What was once one of the best investigative newspapers in the nation has sunk to becoming a lapdog of the Bush Administration. And I found Barton Gellman’s 5,000-plus word piece (in August!) a case of too much, too late. Them horses were long gone from that barn.

For me, the issue isn’t so much one of a disagreement over policy, or left-wing/right-wing bickering. I hear the Post has even endorsed school vouchers. They can be forgiven that lapse, I suppose. But what’s unforgivable is the irrefutable fact that while the Administration lied, spun and otherwise fudged to build its casus belli, the Washington Post, the newspaper of record in the nation’s capital, fiddled. Shame.



Long Beach, CA

Robert Scheer’s blind partisanship is painfully apparent when he endorses someone as unfit to run California as Cruz Bustamante [“Arrogant Arnold or Capable Cruz?”].

Bustamante’s laughable and deceitful attempt to seize the governorship through an absurdly inaccurate interpretation of the California Constitution alone makes him unworthy to run the state.

Secondly, anyone who has proven himself as bigoted and racist as Bustamante is completely unfit to serve as governor of any state, much less one as diverse as California. Scheer conveniently ignores these factors, factors he most assuredly would not ignore if the politician in question were a conservative. Scheer would have much more credibility if he were to hold liberal politicians to the same standards he does conservatives.


Laguna Woods, CA

In his article “Arrogant Arnold or Capable Cruz?” Robert Scheer asserts that Gray Davis was “re-elected by a clear majority” in 2002. Davis actually won his second term with a plurality of 47 percent of the vote.



Jersey City, NJ

Regarding Wendy Pearlman’s “Occupied Voices”: Do you have any intention of printing other points of view? I never see any leftist publications acknowledging that the mainstream Israeli view is that Israel can and must withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza, and foster an environment suitable for two fair and equitable states. Israelis not only support a Palestinian state but agree that it is unacceptable for Israel to continue to occupy lands that are not official parts of its democracy. The main opponent to this has been Arafat. He is the Palestinians’ own worst enemy. All too often, he has sabotaged or walked away from negotiations that were clearly headed in a direction that was satisfactory to both sides. There are many major flaws in Israel’s policy, and you’ll see no harsher critics of them than Israeli newspapers. To hold all Israelis responsible for the actions of their government is tantamount to saying George W. Bush’s actions reflect the will of all Americans. Yes, there are unfortunately many innocent Palestinians and Israelis who have long suffered in the crossfire of this never-ending conflict. But there are also many Palestinians whose ultimate goal is not to share the land and forge two states but to eradicate the Jewish presence in the Middle East entirely and replace one state with the other. As long as those people are steering the Palestinians’ ship, and as long as both sides continue to blast away at each other without taking any real steps forward, there can be no peace.

It’s time for such important alternative-voice publications as The Nation and Harper’s to start telling both sides. There are many liberals in this country who also happen to be pro-Zionists. As long as you continue to make us feel like those are mutually exclusive concepts, you will lose valuable supporters. The right wing in this country is pro-Israel for all the wrong reasons. But that won’t stop Jews from flocking there if they feel they don’t have a home with the left.



Suffern, NY

Re: “Bush’s Southern Problem” [Katrina van Heuvel, “Editor’s Cut”]: Believing his freedom under assault by the government, a Southern elected official asserted, “Constitutions are but the channels through which the popular will may be expressed. Our Constitutions, State and Federal, came from the people. They made both, and they alone can rightfully unmake either.” A presidential candidate fired back, “Then you really believe the principle which our fathers who framed the government which we live thought so clearly right as to adopt it, and endorse it again and again, upon their official oaths, is, in fact, so clearly wrong as to demand your condemnation without a moment’s consideration.”

It might seem these represent opposing positions on the Montgomery monument controversy. In fact, the first was excerpted from a speech given by reluctant secessionist turned enthusiastic Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens, before the Georgia state legislature on November 14, 1860. The second was from a speech by Republican presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln in New Haven on March 6, 1860. The Civil War was a necessary and noble mission essential for the future of our nation; had the Union failed, it would have been a failure for all mankind. While contemporary issues, of course, fall light-years below this on the scale of significance, history does raise some interesting questions. If the bond between North and South is seen as a marriage, the Civil War was a caustic separation. At the time, it was necessary to stay together, for the good of the children. Today, the children are grown, many past wrongs have been righted and irreconcilable differences have again arisen.

Similar to the secession crisis, the current political polarization is largely defined by a division between the Solid South and the Natural North, although the parties have switched sides. Twenty-one out of the twenty-eight former Union states voted for Gore in 2000, all eleven Confederate states voted for Bush. There are fifty Democrats in the Senate, and fifty Republicans. The Republicans have an advantage of nine among 435 Congresswomen and -men. The 2000 presidential election was decided by a difference of less than 0.5 percent of votes cast, in Gore’s favor. Doesn’t this irrefutable chasm indicate the need for a divorce?

The advantages would be endless. Out of an ideological stalemate, a new nation could finally give birth to the promise of open ideas and free expression, simply by spinning off the Solid South. The North could invest in the arts, those in the South willing to go it alone in Iraq could go it more alone. Religious monuments could be planted in every Southern school, Northern schools would be free to expand sex ed beyond abstinence. Northerners could outlaw guns, while Southern states could enforce a ban on abortion with capital punishment. The South could fortify states’ rights while outlawing the dangerously subversive two-party system. The North could restore the faded glory of the Bill of Rights.

Of course, a border wall would be necessary. Northern states would not want armed Southerners crossing the border, just as Southerners would expect Northern abortion doctors to stay away from their pregnant women. Southerners would need to keep “tree-huggers” away from their initiatives to save national forests by cutting down all the trees, just as the North would expect protection from Southern evangelists seeking to save our souls. Southern schools could be free to teach creationism without interference from easily deportable evolutionists, and Northern schools could teach the truth about the civil rights struggle, without embarrassing any state governments.

Maybe this seems a little extreme. But imagine marrying a person like Cheney, O’Reilly or Coulter, without knowing who that person really was. Would you be better off spending the rest of your life in misery, or would you want a divorce?