LETTERS

Smile

Here is a photo I found on a blog. It is part of the “I’ve been fired and this is my last day on the job” strategies.

Mary Lyons
Naperville IL

Getting out of disaster

Listening to the confirmation hearing for Robert Gates to succeed Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense is a little like a visit by a snake charmer to a petting zoo. We’re talking about war crimes here, not changing the drapes in the living room.

The American people spoke loud and clear on Nov. 7 about the war in Iraq. The American people grasp the enormity of the catastrophe in Iraq and want leadership that will bring the troops home with a minimum of casualties on all sides.

Our country desperately needs leaders who will examine the wreckage of our present course and past actions in Iraq and salvage whatever is possible from one of the greatest foreign policy disasters in our country’s history.

We, as a country, apparently did not learn the important lessons of the Vietnam War, but there is still a possibility that we will learn from the mistakes of Iraq.

A Ranger
Hibbing MN

Timetable or doom

And now it’s been revealed that, weeks prior to the president suddenly dismissing him after last month’s portentous elections, even Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was developing doubts about Bush’s truculent stay-the-course-in-Iraq strategy.

In a memo, the then-defense chief belatedly acknowledged that things weren’t going very well in Iraq and that changes in policy had to be considered, something that the Decider, nearly alone now, has yet to concede.

With the doomed Iraqi “government” of Prime Minister al-Maliki widely considered a mere figure of speech, reports now indicate that the influential Shiite bloc led by Muqtada al-Sadr is reaching for areas of accord with major Sunni and even Christian political groupings.

Looking beyond the transitional figure of al-Maliki, such an extra-parliamentary coalition would put aside their sectarian differences to unite around the priority of removing U.S. troops, whose presence is the fundamental roadblock to Iraqi unity and sovereignty, as well as providing the main attraction for foreign jihadists.

Of course, this emergent unity bloc would likely interfere with Bush’s dream of conjuring up a pliable, pro-American regime out of an infernal Iraqi chaos created by his misbegotten invasion and cavalier occupation. Setting a sharp timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops now is the only graceful way for Bush to avoid an utter strategic debacle in which they are violently driven out.

Cord MacGuire
Boulder CO

EPA: who needs science?

Without authorization from Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has slashed operating funds for its nationwide network of scientific libraries, forcing libraries to close and effectively preventing EPA scientists and the public from accessing vast amounts of data and information on issues from toxicology to pollution.

The critical scientific information contained in the EPA libraries is essential to the agency’s ability to make fully informed decisions that carry out its mission of protecting human health and the environment.

Please call EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, (202) 564-4700 and urge him to immediately halt the dismantling of the library system. It will only take a couple of minutes, and your phone call could make the difference.

Union of Concerned Scientists
Online Action Network

Free Mumia

Last month my client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and I sent letters to officials in Paris in response to a fraudulent political attempt to have his honorary citizenship there revoked. I am pleased to report that the effort, based upon misrepresentations and lies, has failed.

Mumia, a great and courageous journalist, continues to be an honorary citizen of Paris. Further, the street named after him in Saint Denis remains “Rue Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

Linn Washington, a prominent Philadelphia journalist and university professor, recently wrote an enlightening article in CounterPunch on the entire affair: “The Mumia Abu-Jamal Case after 25 Years: Still More Keystone Kops Antics,” Dec. 1, 2006. It should be read and circulated, and can be found at www.counterpunch.org.

Robert Bryan
San Francisco CA
Robert Bryan is lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Cartoons a plus

You need more cartoons in your newspaper, so I drew you one.

Winona Bachtell
Chicago IL

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