I agree with much of what Doug Noble says about the war and his efforts to bring it to an end ("Rochester Against War," February 22). But he, like many other anti-war activists, fails to present a complete plan when talking about pulling out of Iraq.
Many say that this is like Vietnam, and I wish that were the case. Vietnam was easy to sort out. We went into Vietnam at the invitation of the then-legitimate government. At the time, most of the infrastructure had already been destroyed after decades of war. No viable government existed, and security was almost nonexistent. So we could withdraw whenever we wanted to, without any real concern.
But Iraq? We invaded without cause --- and based on evidence manufactured by our own government. We destroyed the infrastructure. Before the war, Baghdad had electricity 18 hours a day. Today it is 4. Safe drinking water is now difficult to find. Oil production, the lifeblood of the Iraq economy, is now below prewar levels.
We made life insecure and unsafe for the citizens of Iraq. We have assisted in the formation of a government that now appears to be leaning toward creating a strict Islamic state. We can probably forget about Iraq having a true democracy.
Don't we have a moral obligation to rectify our wrongs as a part of any withdrawal from Iraq? When we demand an immediate withdrawal, shouldn't we equally be demanding a carefully structured plan to do just that?
Why do anti-war activists rarely mention this? And we had better be prepared to do this ourselves --- I don't have much confidence that our government currently has the wisdom or ability to do it.
Although our allies initially opposed this war, recently they have been giving us support in a rebuilding effort. Have they changed their minds that this war was a terrible decision? Not at all. But they now realize that Bush has put them all at risk with his statement that we have "drawn a line in the sand" in Iraq as to terrorism. Now we, and our allies, are at further risk, that a withdrawal on any terms will be construed by Islamic terrorists as our defeat. That is something that should be of real concern to all of us.
Do I think we should all stop our protests about the war? Hell no! But the protests are incomplete. When Bill Clinton committed a marital infidelity, we impeached him. Aren't Bush's lies and decisions far more deserving of impeachment? I saw a bumper sticker on a pick-up truck recently that says it far better than I could: "When Clinton lied, no one died!"
Tom Petrillo, Brighton
Brian Marsden's statements about Hamas, Israel, and peace should not go unchallenged. I suggest that he lay down the Chomsky, unblinker himself from the Gush Shalom propaganda, and take a hard look at reality.
Hamas's accession to governmental power in the Gaza Strip does not alter its character as a terrorist organization. Yes, it has been democratically elected --- if you want to call the Palestinian Arab culture a democracy --- and the majority of the Palestinians have made it clear that they support suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. Each bombing, infiltration, killing, suicide attack, stabbing, Qassam rocket hit, mortar strike, etc., is cause for celebration. Let me remind City's readers that these were the people who celebrated the terrorist attacks of 9/11 with rollicking carnival spirit.
Nor has Hamas ever rescinded its commitment to jihad --- the "armed struggle against the Zionist occupation" and the "liquidation of the Zionist entity." The Palestinian state that Hamas envisions stretches from the Jordan to the sea --- not adjacent to Israel, but replacing Israel. The Hamas website --- the Arabic version, at least --- shows an animated graphic that represents the intention to nuke Israel. They are not joking.
I pulled this official quote from the news on February 24: "Hamas is continuing to train the mujahadeen in order to pursue their task of jihad," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri." Hamas has rebuffed international calls for it to disarm." Here's a headline from February 28: "Al-Qaeda warns all foreigners to leave Gaza or risk being targeted for terror."
I would like to ask Mr. Marsden and other Hamas apologists for their views on the plight of the Palestinian Christians, an oppressed and frightened minority, who are being officially reduced to dhimmitude, now that Hamas is implementing sharia law in Gaza.
Those who want a true picture of Israel's "partners in peace" should visit HonestReporting.com, CAMERA.org, israelnn.com, debka.com, JPPost.com, JihadWatch.com, StandWithUs.org, PalestinianMediaWatch.com, WomenInGreen.org, TruePeace.org, and LittleGreenFootballs.com, to name a few.
Linda Levitan, Meigs Street, Rochester
If 9/11 was an attack on our politics, the anti-West protests related to the Mohammed cartoons are an attack on our culture. The protests are a sure sign that "they hate our freedom." The violence is meant to intimidate westerners. I have heard few calls for respect, but many for revenge and blood.
This situation requires solidarity among the countries and people of the world who are the heirs of the Enlightenment. No apologies for exercising our rights are needed. These images should be published by every newspaper that benefits from operating in a society where freedom of speech is respected. I am embarrassed that only a few journals have had the courage to do so.
These are harsh times for freedom. We have fanatics abroad willing to commit murder over cartoons and Evangelical Christians in this country fighting their own "culture war" against liberalism, evolution, choice, etc. Is civilization such a bad thing, that it should have so many enemies?
Walter N. Moss, Park Avenue, Rochester
We welcome and encourage readers' letters for publication. Send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org or The Mail, City Newspaper, 250 North Goodman Street, Rochester 14607.
Our guidelines: We don't publish anonymous letters --- and we ask that you include your street name and city/town/village. We don't publish letters that have been sent to other media --- and we don't publish form letters generated by activist groups. While we don't restrict length, letters of under 350 words have a greater chance of being published. We do edit letters for clarity and brevity. And in general we don't publish letters (or longer "op-ed" pieces) from the same writer more often than about once every two months.