Thursday, August 03, 2006

Letters to Editor

It seems today is the day to tackle the letters to the RMN editor. Although there were some choice phrases in yesterday's bunch:

  • "It sickens me that any thing resembling a governing body in the land of the free and the home of the brave could be so immoral, evil and callous." - it took the deaths of pit bulls to get this person riled up.
  • "...crackerjack law enforcement monkeys." - of the cops who arrested poor Pete Coors.
And Thomas Germain made a good point about Israel bombing civilians in Lebanon,

... the president of the United States said the following: "Sometimes it requires, ah, tragic situations to help bring clarity in the international community."

In that one sentence, President Bush validates the actions of Osama bin Laden on 9/11.

I made that same point to my husband this morning. If purposely targeting a civilian population because of their inability to control the aggressive forces amongst them is legitimate, then 9/11 was a justified attack from the terrorist's point of view. I repudiate Israel's attack on Lebanon just as I repudiate al-Qaeda's attack on 9/11.

Which also leads me to today's letters (link tomorrow). Of the critics of Israel's attack on Lebanon, a letter writer says
I suppose some of these critics could use the same goofy logic to nit-pick the response of the United States to 9/11. Was our response disproportionate? Should we have held off for a while after initial attacks on al-Qaida and Taliban bases of operation in Afghanistan and let the terrorists destroy some other prime targets in our country and kill several thousand more people to kind of level the playing field?

Taking this absurd line of thinking one step further: How about World War II? Did the United States and Great Britain overreact to Pearl Harbor and the German bombardment of England? Shouldn't we have waited until London was pulverized, German ships were mining our harbors, and Japanese forces had invaded California in order to ensure a fair fight?

Don't you just love ahistorical bullshit and false analogies?

Japan formally declared war on the United States and launched an attack (though the attack accidentally came first). England declared war on Germany and got bombed. Formal declarations of war. Governments officially involved. There were expectations of armament and preparation for war on both sides.

The Taliban, the official government of Afghanistan, supported and protected the perpetrators of a terrorist attack on the U.S. Most people around the world and in the U.S. agree that war, with a multinational truly willing coaltion, was a proportionate response because the Taliban knowingly and willingly gave sanctuary and support to bin Laden. They were given the opportunity to either turn over al-Qaeda or suffer an invasion, and they had time to prepare themselves for attack.

But where's the declaration of war on Lebanon? There isn't one because Lebanon didn't attack Israel. Lebanon is not waging war on Israel. Israel is waging war on Lebanon.

Unlike the Taliban, the Lebanese government doesn't refuse to root out the terrorists in the south; they have been too weak to be able to do it. If the Taliban had said, "we are too weak to capture bin Laden and hand him over, though we would if we could" the multinational force would have offered assistance. If the U.S. had simply started bombing sites where they thought bin Laden might be hiding, that would have been a disproportionate response, just like Israel's is.

In other letters, there's a wonderfully snarky letter about a possible upcoming TV show about and starring Sarah Siegel-Magness. Excuse me while I look up who the hell she is. Oh. Now the snark is even better.
Ms. Siegel-Magness, if there is anything I can do to help construct your fame, please let me know. In the meantime, I look forward to updates on your plastic surgeries, your favorite martini vodkas, your recommended makeup brands, etc. And, if you find a cure for leukemia or come up with a solution for the Middle East crisis, or anything along that line, please advise. We are breathlessly awaiting word about your ego-quest.

David Hildebrand even got published the moral equivalency challenge about embryos
Suppose there is a fire at a fertility clinic. In one room is a freezer with 100 embryos. In another room is a baby. Now, suppose you have only enough time to enter one room. Do you save the baby or the freezer?

What do you do, hot shot? What do you do?

Jerry Lyons points out the inconsistency in the Catholic church
One of the main tasks in a seminary is to determine whether a seminarian has the gift of celibacy, the idea being that if the seminarian does not have the gift of celibacy he cannot be expected to succeed in trying to be celibate. Yet, it calls on all homosexuals to be celibate without regard to whether or not they have this gift from God. To me there is a considerable inconsistency in this.

Back in Florida, when the smoking ban was passed, some Republicans tried to blame liberals for its passing, even though it passed in a red state with something like 75% of the vote.

James Hoople notices the same illogical scapegoating by a Denver resident
Culpin calls those who oppose President Bush's catastrophic policies "poorly educated (with) no ability to think clearly." He also states that "more than 40 percent would not (support Bush) under any circumstances, no matter how good he was, on the rationale that he is a Republican." And yet, immediately after 9/11, Bush's approval rating was 87 percent (although even then I was a proud "13 percenter").

After 9/11 I hoped Bush would handle it well, but I didn't have full confidence in his abilities or intentions. I thought covert operations and counterterrorism (which I believed to be the best way to fight against covert operators and terrorists) was the Republican milieu. But I was a 13 percenter as well because of that lack of trust in Bush and his administration personally, not because of his political party.

And finally, a letter which exposes the dangers of jumping to conclusions.
...As the owner of one of the "monstrosities of conspicuous consumption" to which [letter-writer John Amari] referred, I proudly display my "Support the Troops" yellow ribbon.

There are also U.S. Army license plates on our SUV. Only those who have served are allowed the privilege of those plates. My husband wore the uniform for 11 years. How long did you serve, sir? Or do you "support terrorism" with a lack of action?

Yeah, all those stupid 4Fs who bought war bonds and recycled were Nazi supporters. Despite the somewhat justified defensiveness of this military wife (we have no way of knowing why SUV drivers drive SUVs, though I think most of them are just selfish, self-important pricks - on the other hand, my husband is 6'5;" it was hard finding a car he can fit into) there is no doubt that reducing our dependence on foreign oil, mainly by a marked reduction in consumption, will go a long way towards reducing the reasons the terrorists strike out at us. One needn't don a uniform to fight terrorism, just as one isn't necessarily fighting terrorism by donning a uniform.

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