Empire’s Tower of Babel
Bloomfield Township, Mich.
I enjoyed R.O. Blechman’s June 23 “Comix Nation” cartoon, “Calcutta 2010,” for its humor–intended and unintended. Blechman seems to have unintentionally participated in the hubris of empire even as he poked fun at it. He has a Calcuttan asking, “Why can’t these Americans speak proper Hindi?” But the language of Calcutta is Bengali, spoken by more than 204 million people. It’s like calling a cartoon “Paris 2010” and asking, “Why can’t these Americans speak proper German?”
New York City
My goof–for that’s what it was–has nothing to do with hubris. It’s an innocent mistake, and I’m happy to be corrected and to learn something new. But “hubris of empire”?
Re Jeremy Scahill’s “Blackwater’s Private Spies” [June 23]: The fact that the State Department would equate Blackwater’s criminal activity with competence and reward it with a new $144 million contract shows that the government has succumbed to the devil. The privatization of national security poses a threat to Americans. What should be of extreme concern to us is former CIA division chief Melvin Goodman’s statement about the “lack of accountability” and that “the entire industry is…out of control.”
MARK F. KARNS
Jeremy Scahill overlooks the underlying problem of corporations taking over national security functions. When corporations–driven by profit motives–take on these roles, the decisions they make will also be driven by profit, not public interest. Money is the root of all evil. I submit that we are developing a systematic form of money-driven evil.
RANDOLPH A. GAUL
Sooner or later we are going to be confronted by Blackwater contractors here at home. (We know they were in New Orleans after Katrina.) Maybe we will meet them outside the offices of a corporate criminal we go to demonstrate against. Maybe they will be outside a federal office building to threaten us as we protest a war. Maybe they will come in to bust up a labor action like the Pinkertons of old. And what will we call them, rather than the euphemism “contractor”? I think we should consider something more poetic that suggests their essential nature: Orcs.