ISRAEL’S ‘SACRIFICE’ DOESN’T CUT IT
New York City
Re “Spectacle at Annapolis” [Dec. 17]: Roane Carey makes a two-state solution sound possible if both sides make large sacrifices–Israel would have to remove several hundred thousand settlers from the West Bank, and the Palestinians would have to give up the right of return. In a situation like this, we cannot speak of justice–not for the thousands killed, the lives stunted by loss of education, health and income–but we must think of some kind of resemblance to justice, and the two-state solution without recognition of refugee rights does not cut it. The PLO–the only recognized representative of the Palestinian people–might cede the right of return, but it is an individual right and cannot legitimately be given away.
One can speak, as Carey does, of a parallel sacrifice by Israel of returning to the 1967 borders; but the land was stolen and returning it is no more a sacrifice than a thief makes a sacrifice when returning stolen jewels.
A two-state solution may no longer be possible, but for those who believe in it, a simple preliminary–a census of how many Palestinians would actually return and how many would accept compensation–has never even been officially proposed.
BLOW IT OUT YOUR PRIUS–OR NOT
Kudos to Alexander Cockburn [“Beat the Devil,” Dec. 17] for his exposé on the sham of recycling. It’s time the enviro-left faced up to the fact that the Priuses we drive will never recoup any “energy savings” that the car’s pollution in production causes. Or the sham of fluorescent bulbs with their vastly less “recyclable” thirty-plus parts (including mercury) compared with a humble incandescent’s roughly seven (and easily “recyclable”), and on to the string bags we righteously take to the co-op then fill full of plastic bags bulging with organic produce (from Mexico and beyond), or the endless packaging we haul home touting “natural” ingredients and health benefits then toss into the “recycling” bin mindlessly. The list goes on and on.
Nowhere in the environmental movement is there a coherent voice addressing the stark realization that none of these amenities of Western “civilization” (including our Starbucks latte, the morning newspaper, our iPods, MacBook Pros, stereos, tap-water filters made of plastic from Mississippi and so on, ad nauseam) are sustainable. Not a one. Yet only with that unpopular but critical realization will we finally come to a more intelligent dialogue about the likely fate of our battered, dying yet wonderful Earth, as the (bourgeois) well-meaning lefty environmentalists we claim to be.
Perhaps Alexander Cockburn is unaware of the following: recycling creates six times as many jobs as landfilling. Recycling glass instead of making it from silica sand reduces mining waste by 70 percent, water use by 50 percent and air pollution by 20 percent. Every ton of recycled office paper saves 380 gallons of oil. Energy saved from one recycled aluminum can will operate a television for three hours. If every US household replaced just one roll of 1,000-sheet virgin-fiber bathroom tissue with a 100 percent recycled one, we could save 373,000 trees, 1.5 million cubic feet of landfill space and 155 million gallons of water. These are just a few reasons to recycle, among many, many others. We need not choose between human liberation and sustainable living. We cannot have one without the other.
PEACE MOVEMENT PROBLEMS
The problem I found with Tom Hayden’s “How the Peace Movement Can Win” [Dec. 17] is that nowhere in the article does he mention imperialism. If we do not teach people that the war in Iraq is an imperialist war, then we will have failed as an antiwar movement. Like the Vietnam War and US invasions of Latin America, the Iraq War is all about imperialism–dominating regions of the world at the behest of business and military interests. To fail to teach this lesson is to invite the next imperialist invasion.
In addition Hayden doesn’t call for teach-ins. Such teach-ins are being done by chapters of the new Students for a Democratic Society. Professors, especially in social sciences and humanities departments, have a special duty to educate their students about the nature of imperialism.
Finally, Hayden doesn’t call for people to run for office on anti-imperialist platforms. If we won’t do it, nobody will. It is an important way to get the message out that the Iraq War is imperialist, that US imperialism is why so many people in the world hate us and want to attack us, and that we must bring imperialism to an end.
DONALD F. BUSKY
Former member, the old SDS
Tom Hayden’s name on any peace movement’s letterhead would cause it to be “Swiftboated” to death. Furthermore, Iraq is not Vietnam; opposition to the Iraq War has been fueled by the incompetence of the Bush Administration and the neoconservatives. A majority of Americans want our troops out of Iraq. You need bottom-up organizations, which may have different views, united behind getting the troops out. This means Ron Paul Republicans too. You might need a blog devoted to that single issue that ignores other partisan issues.
I am not going to vote for any candidate who supported the war or refused to cut off funding for it. I will cut any candidate off at the knees who will not bring the troops home from Iraq. We need to punish both parties over Iraq!
PERVIS J. CASEY
‘The Best Man for the Job’
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Concerning Jon Wiener’s “Judging Thomas” [Nov. 26]: I will never forgive those of my fellow African-Americans who facilitated the seating of Justice “Uncle Ruckus” Thomas. They fell for the “high-tech lynching” line, just as Thomas’s handlers knew they would. And what has he done but make things worse for the less than well-heeled in this country? He learned the wrong lesson from his grandfather, and my children will be paying for this mistake for most of their lives.
If Jon Wiener’s illuminating review of the Clarence Thomas books didn’t scare the hell out of your readers, given the Justice’s reactionary views on a range of issues, including separation of church and state, consider this: two years ago, I had the opportunity to debate church-state issues with John Eastman, a former law clerk for Justice Thomas. Eastman stunned everyone present by asserting (and reasserting when challenged) that the First Amendment does not prohibit the states from establishing official state religions.
Last June Eastman was appointed Dean of Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California.
STEPHEN F. ROHDE