Web Letters

Web Letters

Rumsfeld, NOW and Cyprus



Savage, MD

Thank you for printing the article analyzing the Rumsfeldian spin on the Iraqi security forces. I wonder why more reporters do not question these “facts” when Rumsfeld spouts them. I realize that he has deliberately cultivated a certain relationship with the press, in order to keep himself from being questioned, but this does not explain the press’s acquiescence to being used in this way.

These numbers reminded me of the ever-growing numbers of supposedly killed Vietcong the US military was always reporting during that misguided war. Nowadays the US military doesn’t “do” civilian casualty counts; in their stead, Rumsfeld creates a mythical Iraqi security force out of hot air. It seems to me the purpose of these lies is the same as the purpose of those lies told during Vietnam: They are used to shore up the wavering “resolve” of those whose children and friends are actually dying in the pointless conflict.



Albany, CA

The web article “Marching for Women’s Lives” by Hillary Frey, left out one of the major organizers of the march, and in fact, the only group that had experience organizing an abortion rights march–the National Organization for Women. The article stated that “Planned Parenthood, which deserves kudos for bringing out so many people from their affiliates across the country…” and indeed they do. But NOW’s 500 chapters surely deserved a mention as well, as the list of the organizing sponsors can show you.

The article even mentioned the “historic 1992 women’s march” without mentioning that it was NOW that organized that march.

And the eight “related” feminist and reproductive rights websites on the right strangely do not include NOW.

While all organizing groups deserve praise, please don’t leave out the one that has worked so long and so tirelessly to organize women and men to take action in this country for women’s rights.



Falls Church, VA

I read Edward Batchelder’s piece on Cyprus with great interest, but I admit that I disagreed with some of his arguments. For one, Batchelder disapproves of the Greek Cypriot leadership’s negative response to Kofi Annan’s plan, but how could they feel otherwise? Under this deeply flawed plan, the Turkish military will be legally permitted to maintain thousands of soldiers in the United Republic of Cyprus, thus making it an occupier of sovereign EU territory. Ignoring a thirty-year military occupation is reprehensible, but sadly understandable in today’s world. What is far more harmful, however, is for the UN to explicitly sanction and permit this illegal military presence, one that essentially legitimizes Turkey’s criminal actions since 1974.

Furthermore, Batchelder does not denounce the plan for permitting 100,000 Turkish settlers to remain in the areas currently occupied by the Turkish army. International law unconditionally denounces suchsettlements in occupied areas, and even more glaring is the fact that these Anatolian settlers possess linguistic and cultural traits that differ from those of Turkish Cypriots (not to mention that Turkish Cypriot officials, including former Turkish Cypriot leader Kuchuk, noted that many of these settlers were criminals). Should the EU and the UN implicitly endorse Turkey’s use of banishment and settlement in an EU member state? Surely not.  Sadly, the Greek Cypriot people have no choice but to reject a plan that ignores Turkey’s most heinous actions in Cyprus.



Chevy Chase, MD

Adam Shatz made many good points, but he also made some downright offensive assertions.

Shatz is right that not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, and that the rightwing in Israel has disproportionate power in the government. However, he repeatedly refers to the “Occupied Territories”–meaning the West Bank and Gaza. These territories never belonged to the Palestinians. Before 1967 Jordan controlled (or occupied) the West Bank, and Egypt occupied Gaza. Secondly, Israel has repeatedly offered the Palestinians this territory in exchange for peace. At Camp David II Ehud Barak offered almost 100 percent of the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians, and their representative, Yasir Arafat, refused the offer, did not offer a counterproposal and resorted to calling for blowing up children in restaurants and bus stations.

Shatz also mentions that Israel “denies equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel” and “is a democracy–for Jews.” As someone “appalled by social injustice,” Shatz should know that despite not being completely equal citizens, Palestinian citizens of Israel have more rights than Arabs in Arab countries, truly repressive regimes that never conduct proper elections and fail to grant proper rights to women or homosexuals. These are the same countries that have oppressed or expelled Jews in the last fifty-five years.

Shatz was taught in Sunday school about “Arab terrorism, but never what provoked it.” Well, here’s what provoked it: Jews buying land from Arabs and settling in Palestine. Is buying land and settling in it equivalent to targeting and killing civilians? I think not.

Finally, “the Palestinians have not enjoyed the visionary leadership of a Mandela–but then who has, besides the South Africans?” African-Americans in the United States have. Martin Luther King Jr. led nonviolent protest of black second-class-citizenship. If the Palestinians had a King or a Mandela instead of terrorists, they might have a state.

Not all of Israel’s policies are right. There is plenty of room for legitimate criticism of Israel. But singling out Israel as an “apartheid state” without first exploring such repressive regimes as Saudi Arabia and North Korea is just wrong.


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