Mr. Crowther, in his March 5 column, "At the Twilight's Last Gleaming," falsely characterizes the U.S. armed forces as homicidal maniacs who supposedly killed 80,000 civilians during the Gulf War. The Baath Party itself (should be a reliable source of a high figure) has estimated that only 8,000 Iraqi civilians died in that conflict. Why would Mr. Crowther exaggerate such a serious count?
Mr. Crowther needs to realize that Bush is our president and was, in fact, elected according to our Constitution. Get to work on John Edwards' campaign (check first, I think he might be a born-again Christian) and quit crying over Al Gore's defeat.
The Republican Party has plenty of faults, but it is not the monster that Crowther makes it out to be. I doubt that the budgets for social services or the arts are any less than they were under Clinton. Which international treaties have the administration "shredded"? Doesn't the Senate ratify treaties?
Finally, I think that the Founding Fathers would be sick to see how God has been cut out of our government. Christians have been persecuted for 2,000 years, so Mr. Crowther's criticism does not surprise me. Jesus Christ promised to give us peace from the world's efforts to destroy God and his people. He can also give Mr. Crowther peace from his own hate and misery, if only he can soften his heart. For this peace, Mr. Crowther will not even have to move to Norway.
Hal Crowther responds: Molly Ivins (Feb. 14 column) was the source for my figure of 80,000 Iraqi civilians who died as a result of the Gulf War. She reports 13,000 civilians killed immediately and 70,000 who died in the aftermath from starvation, thirst, disease and exposure. Most available figures are broken down this way. Israeli philosopher Avishai Margalit, writing in The New York Review of Books (Feb. 13), claims 150,000 Iraqi deaths by the same calculation. Poet Charles Simic, also writing in NYRB (Feb. 27), asserts that the U.S. government's estimate of civilian casualties in the Gulf War is a closely guarded state secret.
"Of course these rounded-off figures are at best educated guesses," Simic writes. "Bombing history plays games with numbers to conceal the individuals' fate. The deaths of the innocent are an embarrassment."
In reference to Byron Woods' story ["Easley Art Cuts Trigger 'Call to Arms,'" March 19], the growth of the arts in North Carolina is dynamic, mirroring the surging interest of our state's citizens in arts of all forms--dance, theater, music, visual, and literary. In the past decade, the number of arts organizations soared more than 60 percent. Your readers may want to know more about how funds through the N.C. Arts Council are spent. A complete listing of grants awarded last year is available at www.ncarts.org.
Your readers also might like to know these facts: There are nearly 65,000 volunteers who help in Arts Council-funded projects. These projects touched 678,826 children in 85 counties and, overall, had 9 million participants in fiscal year 2001-02. Each dollar granted by the arts council was matched by 21 other dollars, many generated directly by the arts council's grant.
Mary B. Regan
North Carolina Arts Council
Easy come, easy go. No sooner do some restaurants open up, than they up and close. That was the case with Theo's Kellari, a Durham restaurant highlighted in last week's Restaurant Beat column.
Some corrections and clarifications to our Pull-Out Guide to Triangle Media Ownership (March 26) :