2002: A year of challenges

Happy new year and thank you for the New Year’s greeting by Sam Webb (12/29/01). We do, indeed, face challenges in the coming year, challenges possibly greater than any before. The Bush administration, or at least its dominant group, seems bent on imposing a fascist-like solution on the U.S. and the world.

What are they so afraid of? Either their system is a lot weaker than its hype makes it out to be, or there is an even bigger crisis looming on the near horizon. Either way, it certainly proves that global capitalism offers no security for democracy and peace.

Now is a time to reach out to all democratic and peace forces for unity against the main danger of the ultra-right and war, for democracy. Labor and the African-American people’s movement will, again, be key. We already can see the central role that racism is playing in the game of the ultra-right in the administration.

To start with, Congress must be held accountable for the activities of the “secret government,” the so-called “intelligence community,” which acts with unlimited resources, above the law. These – the CIA, the FBI, the NSA and the NSC – are the primary instigators of terrorism in the world, and there’s evidence that this includes activity inside the United States. Their covers must be torn off and they must be replaced with security organizations accountable to our elected representatives.

Ted PearsonChicago IL

Stop the war in Colombia

Prior to the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. was poised to intervene in Colombia’s internal affairs with a $1.3 billion military package and introduction of military advisors. With its goals interupted, the U.S. has secretly trained Colombian troops in the art of assassination and torture techniques – skills not usually associated with defendng freedom.

With its troops occupied in Afghanistan and preparing to attack other “terrorist” nations the U.S. has opted to use the Colombian army as its proxy there. To the surprize of the leftist rebel group FARC, who were negotiating a peaceful solution, President Pastrana gave orders to halt the talks. Where peace was once a possibility, with U.S. influence on Pastrana, bloodshed is a probability!

The U.S. continues to use the outdated Monroe Doctrine as its means to control Latin America, from rigging electons in Nicaragua to a coup in Chile.

Racist policies towards Hispanics in the U.S. and Latin America must end. A start would be to ease the immigration laws with Mexico and to end the embargo against Cuba. In this new century, gunboat diplomacy of old has been upgraded, yet the results remain the same, oppression of our Latin neighbors.

Dan Doltvia e-mail

History as a guide

The bombastic futility of U.S. military action in Afghanistan becomes more apparent with each day”s inconclusive news reports. Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, and the many friends of Mullah Omar are protecting him from hesitant U.S. special forces, now reduced to bribing the locals for information on his whereabouts.

Nearly four months of bombing has stirred unease about thousands of Afghan deaths. Worried that unsatisfying results from his vaunted Afghan campaign won’t justify his triumphalist rhetoric, Bush may be tempted to broaden his war aims.

Elections loom in November. Without foreign hostilities distracting the country, Bush”s party can lose big. If history is any guide, there will likely be little progress by then for Bush to point to in a splintered, embittered Afghanistan.

We need only look to the Balkans. A decade of NATO operations there has not produced viable democracies and alleged war criminals remain at large, illustrating the growing failure of military means to usefully manage the crises of capitalist globalization.

Cord MacGuireBoulder CO

Situation getting worse

Your article on homelessness (1/12) hit home, pardon the pun. I work for a homeless shelter agency here in Boston and the situation is getting worse here, too.

An annual count of homeless people in Boston in December indicates that the numbers are now over 6,000. That’s a 3 percent increase over the previous year.

As I walk around the city I notice hundreds of homes boarded up, just sitting there. What a waste. Not only that but recent budget cuts from the state of Massachusetts threaten to make the situation for homeless people, particularly the homeless mentally ill, even worse.

But, waste of housing and stealing from the poor to give to the rich are what one can expect from capitalism. We need to build united movements that can tell this system to quit wasting money on war and personal aggrandizement, and get its priorities straight.

Bruce BurlesonBoston MA