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.

The Rachel Corrie Play

To The New York Times, March 11, 2006

I recently taught "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" in a student seminar at Georgetown University. It was the last play we read with the theme of war and peace (the first was Euripides' "Hecuba").

Like all good plays, "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" shows how individuals get caught up and are often broken by historical events. My students did not take the play as an apologia for Hamas. They were moved and impressed by this young woman's passion and commitment. It made them think about courage, action and about themselves. As they read it, they felt both pity and fear for Rachel. In other words, it did what a play should do.

It is a great shame that a play that speaks so directly to young people should be tainted by political overreactions. The play does not present itself as a polemic. Its heart is the character of Rachel Corrie: this was a human being filled with courage. The theater needs to display the same courage.

Timberlake Wertenbaker, Washington, DC (The writer is a playwright.)

Israel's Settlements: The Past and the Future

To The New York Times, March 17, 2006

Israeli politicians have begun to acknowledge the folly of the settlements on occupied Palestinian land. But Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's recent declaration that Israel would hold on to its largest settlement blocs shows that they are not yet ready to admit the total bankruptcy of the settlement project.

If all settlements in the West Bank are illegal, then all the illegal settlements must be dismantled. Anything less than a full withdrawal would divide an already tiny West Bank into even smaller cantons.

If Israel is serious about reversing past mistakes, it must commit to a full dismantlement of West Bank settlements and withdraw to the 1967 Green Line. Only then can peace prevail.

Maha Nassar, Tucson, AZ (The writer lectures on Near Eastern studies at the University of Arizona.)

Israel and America

To the International Herald Tribune, March 24, 2006

This week President George W. Bush made the following statement after a speech defending his war against Iraq: "The threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel....! made it clear, and I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel."

There you have it-complete with the words "of course" for anyone who hadn't already figured it out.

As with Iraq, no American interests are involved, only Israeli interests.

Will any American political or opinion leader dare to suggest publicly that, in America, American interests should take priority over Israeli interests?

Time for a second American declaration of independence?

John V. Whitbeck, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Hindsight on the War

To The New York Times, March 21, 2006

You rightly blame our leaders, who preferred to live in a "dream world" rather than face the realities of the war, for "the Iraq debacle."

We should not forget that this "dream world" was fabricated by adjuncts of this administration well before 9/11: neocons had for years hammered home their arrogant doctrines of unilateralism, of defying international law, of pre-emptive wars projecting American armed power everywhere.

A few of these radicals have recently reconsidered their advice; others would have us move on to Iran.

Of the neocons who promoted this "debacle," one might say, in paraphrase of a great leader, "Never in the history of the Republic have so few inflicted such harm on so many."

Fritz Stern, New York, NY

The Endgame in Iraq

To The New York Times, April 4, 2006

You say "Iraq is becoming a country that America should be ashamed to support, let alone occupy. …

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