Here We Go Again
Re “Russia Hating,” by David Bromwich [November 14/21]: We are once more, in the name of democracy, supporting a leadership that suppresses dissent. Even worse, it prevents public workers from speaking Russian in Donetsk and Luhansk and ignores the history of the Azov Battalion and the assassination of questioning mayors. I am ashamed of my fellow progressives and a liberal media that almost unanimously censures all less-than-eager support of Ukraine as another multibillion dollars goes mostly to our own defense contractors. The publication of Bromwich’s critique of the media’s uncritical support for the war in Ukraine is the beginning, I hope, of a needed reappraisal of exactly what we are doing, again, in another war on the far side of the world. I hope The Nation leads the way.
key west, fla.
The writer served in the US Army Security Agency as a Russian-language specialist in the 1970s.
Re “Scott Wiener’s Acid Test,” by John Semley [November 14/21]: I have no strong opinion about the drug laws California Senator Scott Wiener wants to reform, but I do hope he does not “focus squarely on ‘plant-based’ [or ‘natural’] psychedelics” in redrafting the decriminalization statute of SB 519, as Semley reports. Along with rare plants, wild-growing psychedelic fungi suffer from illegal harvesting compounded by climate change. The unintended consequences of keeping synthetics illegal while decriminalizing possession and use of psychedelic mushrooms will lead to further biodiversity loss and environmental degradation.
An American Daughter
I find most poems to be a struggle, but Cindy Juyoung Ok’s poem “Mama I Am Sorry” [November 14/21] is a masterpiece. We all fall short in sympathy for our parents and other people in our lives. Ok’s poem is a moving, heartbreaking work of self-realization.
Robert D. Pittack
I agree with Kai Bird that the US will not use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine—nor should it consider it [“If Russia Goes Nuclear, October 31/November 7]. However, I couldn’t disagree more with his recommendation to support a compromise. Any compromise relieves Russia of accountability for its heinous behavior. It seems that the international community never learns the lessons of appeasement, genocide, and war atrocities against civilian populations.
Putin has never threatened to use nuclear weapons and only repeated Russia’s no-first-use policy after the US State Department said that “all options” were on the table and Zelensky called for a preemptive strike. US policy contemplates first strikes to decapitate and counter force, and indeed NATO doctrine calls for first use. So yes, there’s more danger of nuclear war than ever, but it’s not from Russia. It’s from the US.