As I read Lenore Yarger's article about her peace mission to Iraq, I couldn't help but wonder whether her good heart was overwhelming her sharp mind ["Eyewitness in Iraq," Feb. 12]. When I read her description of Tariq Aziz, the answer became clear.
Aziz is an apologist for a dictator who has invaded his neighbors and been responsible for the horrific deaths of tens of thousands of his own citizens. However you feel about the looming war, one has to be either amazingly naive or amazingly insensitive to be "impressed by" Aziz or to consider him anything other than "our enemy." As an insight into the motivations and sincerity behind the man, one can look to Aziz's son, who just last year was sentenced to 22 years in prison by Aziz's boss. He has since been released and rearrested and released again--just to keep pressure on Aziz. No doubt most of the others with whom she spoke were similarly fearful of the torture and murder that Saddam Hussein commonly metes out against his critics and their families.
The main thrust of Yarger's article deserves to be heard--thousands of innocent civilians will be killed when the United States undertakes this war against Iraq. But she undercuts her credibility by allowing herself to be conned by a brutal regime with a silver tongued spokesman.
Marshall Curry, Brooklyn, N.Y.
It was great to see the great coverage of the recent peace rally in Raleigh [Feb. 19]. It was especially nice to see the Peace is Patriotic logo on the front cover. We at Peace1st were thrilled to see the creative use of the logo. We would like to give credit to Dick Hill of Hill Studios in Chapel Hill for taking our thoughts and creating this logo free of charge as a contribution to the causes of the peace movement. Keep up the good work!
David W. Bright, Chapel Hill
Publishing is patriotic
I would like to share my excitement and enthusiasm upon reading your publication--with special reference to the last two issues [Feb. 12 and Feb. 19]. You have provided well written, intelligent and desperately needed alternative journalism in the face of an all too accessible mainstream right-wing deluge.
These are critical times and printing "How to fight the war" right on your front page is admirable and encouraging. The articles by Fiona Morgan, Bob Geary, Barbara Solow, Peter Eichenberger and others are necessary voices of reason amid all the warmongering corporate politics. I want to give special recognition to Lenore Yarger's awesome "Eyewitness in Iraq." This article is the most compelling case for peace I have read to date, and I am so glad that her perspective was illuminated in your paper.
Having moved here from San Francisco, the Independent Weekly has made me proud to be in the Triangle of late. Keep up the good work!
Heidi Entermann, Raleigh
I just wanted to write and congratulate The Independent and you on the excellent coverage of the rally in Raleigh. ["The New Face of Protest," Feb. 19]
I thought your use of interviews of rally participants was very effective in communicating the widespread opposition to war from various points of view. It was great to learn to that people came from a distance to the rally as well.
I wish the mainstream media would provide more balanced coveage of the build-up to war!
Thank you for the good work you are doing.
Lloyd Schmeidler, Executive Director, Urban Ministries of Durham, Durham
Save your sneers
Having opened The Independent of Feb. 19 the other day, my eye was caught on the phrase at the top of Peter Eichenberger's column: "Bush's right wing fundamentalist/Zionist zealot Armageddon wet dream" ["America's Dirty Bombs--and Dirty Little Secret"].
It is one thing to be for peace, it is another to heap invective on those who see a need for armed intervention to remove the current regime in Iraq. Does Eichenberger's sweeping denunciation include Tony Blair, or 58 percent of the American public, or many people in Europe, especially in East-Central Europe where there are vivid memories of dictatorial governments? Not to speak of all the Kurds and other dissenters in Iraq?
I am old enough to remember 1944 when British-American bombs were falling on my home city, Budapest. In spite of the danger to ourselves, when we saw the smoke rise from oil fires around the city, we approved, because we believed that the bombing hastened the end of the Nazi hegemony. The expression "Zionist zealots'" was an especially low blow. With it, Eichenberger joins those who try to obscure the fact that Israel is fighting to fend off a second holocaust planned by her enemies. I have not voted for President Bush, and will not the next time around either. Whether or not a war on Iraq is necessary, may be debatable. Sneering at the many thoughtful, honorable people who believe that it is, diminishes those who oppose it.
George Somjen, Durham