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

Feeble Opposition

To the San Francisco Chronicle, July 7, 2008

The Democratic Party has once again reminded me why I registered Green Party for a dozen years before switching back this year to vote for Sen. Barack Obama in the Democratic primary.

By capitulating to President Bush on funding the Iraq occupation and giving the telecom companies immunity for illegal domestic wiretapping, Democrats (with a few notable exceptions) have shown they are not a serious or effective opposition party.

I can only hope a clean sweep in November will strengthen the backbone of the party leaders enough that I won't regret my decision to rejoin the Democrats.

Arlen Grossman, Monterey, CA

Celebrate Our Freedoms

To The New York Times, July 4, 2008

William Kristol's column about the Declaration of Independence reminds readers that an elite minority instigated the American Revolution and pledged "their lives, their fortunes," in the cause of the American War of Independence.

Yes, the instigators of the American war in Iraq were also a small elite, but the rest of the comparison does not hold. With a few notable exceptions, those who agitated for the Iraq war avoided military service and have made rather than pledged their fortunes from this war.

Sam Haselby, Cambridge, MA

Bolton Under Fire

The Los Angeles Times Aug. 1, 2008

It is hard to deny John R. Bolton's assertion that Barack Obama's Berlin speech was littered with naive and overly idealistic statements. That said, it seems ironic that Bolton-with his Bush administration, neoconservative mentality of good versus evil and freedom versus totalitarianism-would claim that Obama still has "a lot to learn about both foreign policy and the views of the American people."

The neocon foreign policy has been tried and tested. Thanks to the Iraq invasion and occupation led by the Bush administration, which included Bolton at the time, it is now painfully apparent that the neocon foreign policy has served to further polarize the world, weakening our country and adding fuel to the extremists' fire.

Mitchell Cyman, Pasadena, CA

What if Obama Knows Islam?

To the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 24, 2008

I have been following with great interest the story regarding The New Yorker's front-page cartoon last week. I almost canceled my subscription to the magazine, but took a deep breath and gave them the benefit of an unfortunate editorial decision.

My question is this: Is it really a negative issue if Barack Obama has some history with the Muslim religion? The Financial Times today reported, "Records uncovered by the Associated Press show that Obama was registered as a Muslim at the Catholic school he attended in Indonesia as a child but Obama says he did not practice the religion. Both his father and stepfather were Muslims but neither was devout." I believe this experience with Islam can only have been a positive one for Obama, especially given the current world conflicts that he aspires to step into. How can you expect to have any meaningful dialogue with a person of opposing views if you first do not have some understanding of their beliefs?

I was raised a Methodist in a strongly Catholic neighborhood in Chicago. My Catholic friends could not attend church with me because, they were told, it was a "mortal sin." Must our leaders close their minds to other beliefs? Is it a mortal sin if Obama did indeed study Islam? At least he knows the difference between Sunni and Shi'i!

Barbara Kowalski Ghaffari, Bellevue, WA

Demon of the Year

To the San Francisco Chronicle, July 16, 2008

Regarding your editorial "A Taunting Test-fire" (July 11), I am surprised you are buying into the demon-of-the-year propaganda. Why is Iran's test firing missiles cause for worry, but not Israel's provocative dress rehearsal for an attack on Iran, or the United States' constant testing of missiles and other weapons? …

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