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A study in contrasts
This ought to be a good one! Two candidates for mayor of Chapel Hill, Kevin Foy and Lee Pavao are like night and day as anybody who follows Chapel Hill politics knows ["Fight for the Hill," Sept. 12]. I look forward to a campaign which highlights the vast differences between these two candidates and hope the press does their part to draw the contrast. Who would have thought that a mayor's race in Chapel Hill would feature such strikingly different candidates, both with experience in town government. This race may not be quite as stark as Helms versus Gantt, but it is getting close.

In step with the drumbeat
Granted the United States does not have the greatest history of using force in recent memory ["Against the Drumbeat," Sept. 19]. In a perfect world these sort of problems could be reasoned out and solved without further bloodshed. But there are times when we as a nation must stand up and say that this is unacceptable and action must be taken.

If there is any time that action is demanded, now is the time. I do not feel that an all out war is eminent, but I do feel that a measured military response is inevitable and needed. I am not saying this with xenophobic zeal.

The attack that was inflicted onto our nation on Sept. 11 can not go unpunished. If we learned anything from the time before World War II is that in extreme times appeasement does not work. This is such a time.

Your feature "Against the Drumbeat" [Sept. 19] was about what I expected. "We deplore these atrocities ... BUT ... ." Why is it that when liberals deplore an atrocity there's always a "but"? Unless of course the atrocity was committed by a western power. Then it's just plain evil.

Anyway, your hand wringing and moral preening did have some amusing segments. What is Duncan Murrell implying? That soldiers should hold committee and vote on which orders to accept? And one must wonder what Rev. Jimmy Creech means when he says that "the god of traditional Judaism, Christianity and Islam," would not allow the carnage of Sept. 11. What tradition is he drawing on? I'll bet if you added up Jehovah's body count from the Bible it would far surpass that of Hitler. I'll tell you the kind of god that would allow these things to happen: a god who is not there. Have any of these ecumenical poobahs considered that?

Anyway again, to the point: The intro to the piece promised "more enlightened solutions." OK, I'm open to the counsel of the enlightened. But where was it? All I read was a lot of self-flagellation about the mess we have gotten ourselves into with our devious and convoluted foreign policy. Asking, "What did we expect?" is not a solution to the current problem of coming up with non-military solutions to the threat of terrorism. Do you have any concrete plans we can implement right now that would secure our nation against terrorism without resorting to warfare?

The pacifist voice is largely drowned out amid the nation's rage and thirst for frontier justice. Perhaps cool heads are what we need right now. But what alternatives are you offering?

Thank you for your coverage of the impending "war on terrorism" ["Against the Drumbeat," Sept. 19]. I was beginning to think that some secret law had been passed against speaking in favor of peace.

Still, one thing bothers me: The United States assists Israel to the tune of $3 billion per year, steadfastly backing them as they steal land, hoard water, economically and politically oppress and murder the Palestinian people. Much foreign-press coverage of last week's attack has very clearly drawn the connection between the United States' high-profile, often irrational support of Israel, and the rising tide of animosity against the United States across the Middle East.

Yet your coverage barely mentioned the Palestinian struggle, devoting barely a paragraph at the very end of the piece. I agree that the results of the sanctions against Iraq are a crime of horrific proportions, but I think we would do well to remember that anti-American sentiment began in the Middle East long before 1990, and that American money is incontrovertibly bound up in the ongoing abuses of the Palestinian people. The rest of the world is hyper-aware of the United States' role in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle; the American people are long overdue for a similar awakening.

Please stand up
As a lifelong resident of Raleigh and a volunteer for City Council at-large candidate Janet Cowell, I have been well aware of the funding inequities to Southeast Raleigh for some years now ["On the Fence," Sept. 19]. It is sad and pathetic that our African-American leaders in Raleigh are so despondent at the lack of resource allocation from the City Council that they have chosen to give up on this year's mayoral race.

As for the one person in the Southeast to endorse a candidate, the thumbs-up from Venita Peyton to Paul Coble can hardly be seen as a positive step forward, given Coble's broken promises to the African-American community in the past (and the present). It remains to be seen whether or not the African-American community decides to stand up to the powers-that-be in Raleigh or just continue to accept business "as usual."

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