Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Article excerpt

Some letters by or to other people are as informative for our readers as anything we might write ourselves.

Disastrous Attack on al-Qaeda

To the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 17, 2006

I am appalled and disgusted at the coldhearted brutality and stupidity of killing innocent people in an attempt to kill Ayman al-Zawahri. ("Pakistanis outraged at U.S. after air strike kills civilians," Jan. 15). I think this callous act will eliminate any doubts in the minds and hearts of the people in that area as to whether the United States is there to do good or bad.

Whatever happened to justice, to honor, to decency, to the rule of law that protects the innocent and punishes the guilty? Bombs and missiles cannot tell the difference between the innocent and the guilty, between soldiers and women and children.

Violence creates violence. You cannot apprehend a murderer by bombing his neighbors' homes. You become just like him-a murderer.

Patrick Noonan, Woodside, CA

From Iran's Perspective

To The Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 30, 2006

In response to the Jan. 24 article, "Why U.S. doesn't trust Iran on nukes": It makes no sense for Iran not to invest some of the profits from oil sales in an energy source to sustain them after the oil runs out. I wonder why the U.S. isn't doing the same.

Granted, Iran probably is also investing in weapons technology. But again, it would make no sense for Iran not to want to arm itself. Iran is bracketed by Iraq and Afghanistan, which were recently invaded by what Iran sees as an aggressive foreign power and sworn enemy. And Iran borders a third Islamic nation-Pakistan-that already has nuclear weapons.

Despite the fact that Iran's president has recently engaged in some deplorable "cowboy rhetoric" for domestic political consumption, the path to peace still includes trying to understand how one's opponents see the world around them. From Iran's point of view, its nuclear policy is sane and rational. An American foreign policy that seeks to prove to Iran that the U.S. is not a threat and that America would recognize and defend Iran's sovereignty might prove more fruitful than constant saber-rattling.

Steve Warren, Waldoboro, ME

More War Talk: Now It's Iran

To The New York Times, Jan. 25, 2006

A headline in the Jan. 22 Week in Review, "Why Not a Strike on Iran?," sent a shudder through me. Are we now in the process of making permissible a national debate on whether to use military force against that country?

Wittingly or unwittingly, are we now being led to think the unthinkable, that it might be O.K. to start a war with a country that has not presented any direct threat to us either on our own soil or overseas?

Moreover, the pattern to what can only be labeled the cranking up of the political propaganda machine is sickeningly familiar in the last few years. First in Iraq: international law and the approval of the United Nations are deemed to be dispensable, as we invade that country in the name of national security.

Then, after revelation after revelation that our country has in fact been involved in the torture of prisoners, we issue legal opinions that torture is permitted under certain necessary conditions.

Then, caught in extensive illegal wiretaps that invade the privacy of ordinary citizens, the president justifies it in the name of fighting terrorism.

In each case, there is a sickening feeling that some orchestration of the debate is going on, all in the name of national security.

Where are the whistle-blowers, in and out of government, who can unmask this "grave and gathering threat" to our own democracy and bring us back into the global family of nations?

(Rev.) Richard W. Gillett, Pasadena, CA

Cartoons Storm Rages

To The New York Times, Feb. 8, 2006

Haven't we learned that, in general, Muslims do not see the humor when their religion is mocked? …

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