LETTERS: Oct. 20

Watada’s leadership

“I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression. My oath of office is to protect and defend America’s laws and its people. By refusing unlawful orders for an illegal war, I fulfill that oath today,” U.S. Army First Lt. Ehren Watada said.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said to the graduating Air Force Academy Class of 2007: “For a real leader, the elements of personal virtue — self-reliance, self-control, honor, truthfulness, morality — are absolute. They are absolute even when doing what is right may bring embarrassment or bad publicity to your unit or the service or to you.

“Those are the moments that will truly test the leader within you — test whether you will take the hard path or the easy path, the wrong path or the right path. The willingness always to take the right path, even if it is the hard path, is called character. In every aspect of your life, whether personal or professional, you must always maintain the courage of your convictions — your personal integrity.”

At a pre-trial press conference Watada remarked that he believed it his “duty to refuse to fight in the [Iraq] war,” and that he was “prepared to face prison time for my beliefs.”

There is a tradition in the Japanese American community to act on personal belief from volunteer 442/Nisei Linguist (while their family and friends were in camps), the NoNo Boys and the Vietnam War resisters. There are words, yet actions speak loudly. “Mission accomplished.”

T. Kyoshi Nagano
Los Angeles CA

SCHIP fight

Tim Wheeler is right on the money in his most excellent article (PWW 10/13-19) explaining why working people should support the efforts of overriding President Bush’s veto of the State Children Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Bush’s almost raging reasons for his veto were at first vague, but as the debate across the country began he then called SCHIP an example of nationalized medicine.

Working people, their unions, their elected representatives, Democratic and progressive alike, know the truth: the program lifts the burden off of working people, who are not covered by their employer and could not normally afford mainstream health insurance.

Instead, Bush continues with his Iraq war plans, getting $110 billion increase in separate funding designed to keep our troops stuck in perhaps the most barbaric modern example of imperialist war since Vietnam.

Our movement must support the children and the funding for this program. Bush talks a storm up about “no child being left behind” and fails to understand if you are sick and your family cannot afford to pay for basic medical care, then how are the children ever going to be able to learn?

This is just the beginning of the struggle for decent national health care being made available to those who work sometimes two or even three jobs to pay for medical bills.

Hats off to Tim Wheeler. I am circulating his article wherever I can.

Tom Siblo
Boiceville NY

Globalization tune

“The rich get rich and the poor get poorer,” said the old song, and that was before globalization. Now the rich get to be billionaires, thanks to Asian slave labor, and the working people get to lose any good-paying jobs they had.

Then, as the tax-base sinks and the states and cities are strapped for cash, they have to raise taxes and the workers get whacked again because as we all know “only the little people pay taxes.” Well, things could be worse, and it’s a safe bet they soon will be.

John Nolan
Chicago IL


“Indian Communists win fight on Indo-U.S. nuke deal.” This is a great victory in the fight against U.S. imperialism. The deal was worked out secretly, keeping the Indian Parliament in the dark. Neither the constituents of the ruling coalition were kept informed, let alone the Communists who were extending outside support (on whose crucial support the government survives).

The government went so far ahead with the deal, that when the details came out, it defended the deal and invented all sorts of excuses to push it through as a matter of prestige.

Big business and the upper classes, who would have been the biggest beneficiaries of closer link-up with U.S., enthusiastically took over the job of defending the deal, manufacturing (or shall we say cooking-up?) popular consent in the all-too-cooperative Big Biz press.

On the U.S. side, the deal would have given great leverage to arm-twist India into serving U.S. global interests. Condoleezza Rice, taking for granted that U.S. already has India in its pocket, had started giving lessons to India on how to dump non-alignment.

Now the Indian Communists will wage a fight against the closer military links between U.S. and India.

Vijaya Kumar Marla
Via e-mail

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