'Down with the UN'
Since the United States isn't interested in the opinions of organizations that are supposed to have international governance, the time has come to expel the United Nations from New York. Our tax dollars have for too long gone to support that organization.
I am not referring to our UN dues, which are over $500 million in delinquency. I'm talking about all that prime Manhattan real estate that could be handed over to some rich investment bank for pennies on the dollar, to be resold to some corporation so they can construct a new monument to themselves.
As patriotic Americans, we should stand united and proud behind our contempt for the opinion of the other 95.4 percent of the world. Down with the UN. If that organization had any integrity whatsoever, it would be meeting us with force right now in the Middle East, to stop us from acting outside of its authority.
God bless America with more intelligence.
Evan Kastner, Burwell Road, Rochester
Iraqis need help
War protesters believe they are fighting for the good of the Iraqi people, and they say that those in favor of invading Iraq are either war-mongers or are ignorant. What they fail to realize is that there is no peaceful scenario for the citizens of Iraq. These people are not living in a democracy. They are living in poverty and in fear. Saddam Hussein kills those who disagree with him; likewise, those born to the wrong sects. He tortures the citizens under his care.
Do the war protesters know what the Iraqi people want? No one wants to live in a nation under siege. But I doubt that anyone wants to live in a nation such as Iraq is now. The Iraqi people have long wanted help in removing Saddam from power and were disappointed when we departed more than 10 years ago without displacing him. The citizens of Iraq can continue to live in oppression or endure a war and then maybe start a new era, where peace in the Middle East actually exists.
Kieni Schneider, Honeoye
A time for reason
In recent weeks, I have heard or read the following from otherwise intelligent human beings:
"The children of Iraq need to be killed before they grow up to be terrorists."
"Immigrant Moslem shopkeepers charge too much because they want to destabilize the economy."
"The vast majority of the population of Iran wants America to invade and usurp their Mullahs, so that will be our "target" after Iraq."
"The entire war will be over in three days, bringing peace to Iraq, Israel, and the streets of Los Angeles."
I wish I were caricaturing what I have heard and read, but that is sadly not the case. And can we forget that members of the Bush Administration have been openly talking of "empire" for the past year?
That they strongly implied that the terrorist "Axis of Evil" includes France, because of that government's insistence on caution? That they say that the United Nations must now be replaced by an organization openly dominated by Washington?
We have entered a new era of ignorance and ethnocentric myth. Unfortunately, we have a technology capable of reducing the world to ashes.
The time for reasoning and reason-grounded and directed political action is now. We must not be cowed by the superstitious paranoia engulfing our crumbling democracy. The United States is a creation of a document of reason, product of the Enlightenment. We owe it to the composers of that document to renew our commitment to its principles. We owe it to our inheritors to leave a legacy of reasoned resistance to cruelty and stupidity, whatever its motives, whatever its power, whatever its rhetorical guise.
There is no ethical foundation to empire. There is no moral excuse for genocide. Wars of conquest do not bring peace. "Right" and "might" have no necessary relationship. History does not forgive murder or greed. Fear is not an adequate reason for the surrender of the right of citizenship, or tolerance of its being denied others. And those who do not absolutely believe in human freedom are condemned to lose it.
We are now in the process of losing it. I beg my fellow Americans to pause a moment and reason this through, before it really is too late.
Emmanuel John Winner, Linden Street, Rochester
Recent letters to City Newspaper have caused me to question not the perspective, but the facts. "Why are hundreds of millions of Americans demonstrating against invading Iraq?" says one writer. I missed those demonstrations. I did see hundreds of thousands demonstrating.
"If President Bush's wife and daughters were in Iraq and lived in Baghdad, I wonder if he would be so anxious to invade." Put another way, if your wife and daughters lived in a country where they could be raped, tortured, and viewed as possessions, would you be anxious to invade? I certainly would be.
If you oppose the war in Iraq because you believe the administration is fabricating evidence, you should just explain why you oppose the war. You don't believe Iraq is a threat to the US. You don't believe the people of Iraq will be liberated, or need to be. You don't believe the American public supports this action. I would stay away from the oil argument, because that doesn't really have a chance of holding up.
Jeff Flaherty, Lyceum Street, Rochester
Now that the idiots in Congress, as well as other Americans, are calling themselves patriots by banning French wines and cheeses, why don't they go a step further?
Ban German beer, cars, and sausage; ban Russian caviar, furs, and vodka; ban the cameras you tote from Japan; and most important, ban the clothes, the radios, the TV's, the shoes, the knickknacks that come from China.
By banning all those imports, America would still have its technology and some farm products, but very little else. Talk about biting off your nose to spite your face.
And what if France, Germany, Russia, China, et al decide to ban all American enterprises from doing business in their countries?
Incidentally, America has 41 million people without health care and very high illiteracy rates, whereas all French and German citizens have excellent health-care coverage and nearly 100 percent literacy.
Think about it, and stop calling yourselves patriots!
S.D. Saltzburg, New Wickham Drive, Penfield
Focus on home
As I write, the winds of war are raging across the landscape of Iraq, and I am filled with sadness, fear, anger, and disgust.
One reason I am against this war is because I support our troops and don't want anyone harmed. In addition, we as a nation will endure the ripple effect of this action for many generations to come. I agree that Saddam is a huge troublemaker and that he should not have been given indefinite time to disarm, but I would feel better if we had gotten more support from the rest of the world.
I am fearful that this action is going to cause a storm of terrorist attacks against our citizens here and abroad. We should have the bulk of our troops here at home defending our country, not scattered all over the world leaving us wide open for invasion.
I am angry that our government is ignoring US cities begging for homeland-defense funds they were promised but are not getting.
I am disgusted at the way our government is wasting billions of dollars in other countries and on pork-barrel spending here at home, while millions are becoming homeless, bankrupt, jobless, and even dying due to the negligence of the problems in America.
A nation is only as strong as the citizens who live in it, and we are very divided: Our people are either totally rich or miserably poor. I am not against helping others, but we need to focus on getting strong and healthy here at home first. I can only hope and pray that we can come out of this crisis with very few casualties and one day enjoy peace and comfort as a nation.
L.J. Fullerton, Rochester
If Clinton were president when September 11 happened, Saddam would've been long gone by now, and we'd have French, German, and Turkish troops and money to help rebuild Iraq. But he wasn't and we don't. Well, at least Saddam will be gone soon.
If Iraq becomes a beacon of hope for all the Middle East.... If there is a wave of democratic reforms that sweep through these countries.... If that wave quickly washes away the blight of the Saudi and Persian oligarchical bastards who exploit the poverty of their own people.... If, in the end, the UN is strengthened and Europe gets a backbone again (sadly, all very unlikely), then I will give Dubya credit for doing a good thing. I will even support a monument or an airport renaming for him.
However... I will not vote for him. I want this faux-president out! Au revoir, M Bush.
Kevin Dedes, Rochester
East End's success
East End festivals and their promoters are the primary reason for the revitalization that has happened in the East End. Bruce Miles and Michael O'Leary have risked their integrity and livelihood on their East End businesses and have promoted East End Festivals. They have worked hard to convince people to visit their establishments and to make them feel comfortable coming downtown.
While Mayor Johnson was spoon-feeding the High Falls and its big corporate sponsors to get them to develop what they could afford to do on their own, these hard-working Rochesterians were scrimping just to get by. The City did little or nothing to help promote the East End and its businesses. Businesses closed or moved out because there was no economic help.
Now there is rumbling from new businesses that the East End Festivals should be stopped or changed because they are too loud and festive and detract from their business during the festivals. They complain that they don't get any benefit from the festivals.
These businesses wouldn't be around if not for the festivals. People come to the festivals and see what's downtown in the East End.
The new businesses wouldn't have customers if it weren't for the festivals. They should join the festival organization and reap the rewards of Mr. Miles and Mr. O'Leary's hard work.
I have voted for Mr. Johnson in every mayoral election and for the most part agree and support his undertakings, but not on this issue. Please don't let a few business owners and pundits destroy the East End Festivals. Let's build on the success of these hardworking people and reward them for their risks and successes and for helping keep Rochester vital.
Jonathan Dubner, Chesterfield Drive, Rochester
The common-sense reasonableness of the letters supporting the right to keep and bear arms (The Mail, March 12) missed one important point. We sometimes tend to get mired in the statistics of Canada, Holland, England, etc., and end up losing sight of the woods for the trees.
Self-defense is a basic human right, and since we each have that right, we also have the corollary right to own the means to defend ourselves, namely, firearms.
Dave Hoesly, Close Circle, Webster
It seemed that Jon Popick's provocative excesses were being carefully edited in recent months, yet here he is again (March 19) with crude words for the Noam Chomsky documentary shown at the Dryden. His apparent attempts to be a misanthropic, totally cool wit, conveyed through mediocre writing, result in pieces that do no credit to City Newspaper. A bad apple altogether, and, by the way, of scant value as a film critic.
Martin Fass, Linden Street, Rochester
Agree or disagree with them, Popick and Busby are great --- and Kurt Brownell's photos are for juried shows! Go, City!
Neil R. Scheier, Eastland Avenue, Brighton
Seek the facts
Thank you for providing a fresh alternative to the commoditized shackles that have been mischievously called news. One of the great pleasures of the week is to pick up your paper Wednesday on campus and see what is coming up for the week and what everyone has to say. It is inspiring when you cover all sides and opinions in such pressing dilemmas as the possible Iraq Slaughter Number 2.
I must reply to Joe St. Martin of Penfield (The Mail, March 12):
The Republican and Democratic parties have merged in idealism. Truth is consistently stifled, and the voice that is supposed to speak for the people has been paid to preach and swindle for corporations. The Democrats support the war and Homeland Insecurity just as much as the Republicans do, and they receive as many monetary bribes.
Maybe Mr. St. Martin should do some research regarding the 2000 presidential election. There are plenty of sources around the globe that shed light on the bunk nature of that election. One predominantly black university voting section was closed the day of election; police set up roadblocks in black and Jewish neighborhoods, hundreds of bogus ballots were sent in from overseas; people were not allowed to vote because of criminal records dated in the years 2006, 2008, 2010, etc.
My point is not to bitch about what will not be changed, but to urge that every average Joe do a little research when there is a controversy. Our opinions must be grounded as well as emotionally poignant; otherwise they can be confused with ignorance, easily manipulated, and used to abuse the rights of all mankind. This is a belief that Joe, and all of us, must be devoted to.
Daniel Hallahan, RIT
Chris Busby's interesting "Porno 101" (February 12) got me to thinking about the source of controversy associated with UR students attending public showings of porn or purchasing pornographic films. The article touched on the concern of free speech, but there is a greater issue to address: what, if anything, if wrong with pornography.
The sex that goes on in pornography is natural and okay in itself. The problem is the way sex is portrayed, and the fact that pornography puts an intimate, private act on display.
Sex in its proper context represents a genuine connection two people have for one another; it's not just body, but body and soul. It is giving and receiving in a language of love and union that contributes to our wholeness and sets us apart from the animals. None of this is portrayed in pornographic films. On the contrary, with porn there's the unnaturalness of cast and crew which exploits our interest in the titillating. Only the low level of promiscuity and the mechanics of sex are put on view.
Free speech or not, porn serves no useful purpose and has no place in academia.
Bill Carson, Mill Street, Rochester
Writing to City
We welcome your letters --- on the war and other topics --- and we'll publish as many of them as possible, as quickly as possible. You can help further the dialogue by keeping your letters brief, focused on one point. Because of the volume of mail we're receiving, we're strictly enforcing our frequency rule: we can publish no more than one letter from an individual writer in 3 months.