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Thanks for the truth

To the Editor:

I believe this e-mail is intended for Ms. Cara Degette.

I am writing in response to an e-mail forwarded to me by my sister-in-law. This e-mail contains an article written by you in the September 13 Colorado Springs Independent (Public Eye). My sister-in-law is encouraging me to express my disgust and shock of your "un-American, Communist" article; however, I just want to sincerely thank you for being brave enough to tell the truth. I am so saddened by this tragic event, yet so saddened by the ignorance of Americans. We strive for freedom, yet oppress so many, while our citizens either do not know or refuse to admit guilt. Thank you for being strong enough to tell the truth. It is refreshing to see in a world full of brainwashed journalists.

-- Amy Lavender
Fort Collins

Get the facts straight

To the Editor:

I am responding to Cara DeGette's article in the September 13 issue of the Independent. Ms. DeGette somehow has come to the conclusion that hiding behind an impoverished Third World government and risking the lives of millions of innocent people (in Afghanistan) is an act of bravado. Just think of all the good he could have done if Osama bin Laden spent his money on building industry in Afghanistan rather than destroying industry in our country.

In addition, she obviously has a distorted view of recent history. U.S. intervention in Yugoslavia was in direct response to the ethnic cleansing going on. They have recently discovered yet another mass grave. Would Ms. DeGette also denounce stopping Hitler because he was killing other countries' citizens? I wonder what her definition of social responsibility is.

As far as Iraq goes, they started the aggression against our allies. Saudi Arabia asked for help from the United Nations. A no-fly zone was instituted by the United Nations to prevent the Iraqi government from continuing to assault their neighbors. In the last 10 years, Iraq has continued to sporadically fire on British and U.S. fighter planes assigned to maintain the no-fly zone. The recent bombing was in response to Iraq's continued aggression. Iraq is led by a very aggressive leader, who is determined to develop biological weapons. By the way, while we have been bombing Iraq over the last 10 years for violating the no-fly zone, it has not been two to three times a week. The children in Iraq are dying because their government is more interested in flexing their muscles than doing what's in the people's best interest.

As far as the "it couldn't happen here" mentality, this is not the first large-scale act of terrorism that has hit our country. Anyone who believed that our country is immune was just being naive. One thing I do agree with Ms. DeGette on, is that any attempts to take away the basic rights and freedoms currently afforded our citizens should be avoided at all costs.

In conclusion, while I respect Ms. DeGette's right to express her opinion, I hope that in the future she sticks to the facts when presenting her view of the world.

-- Pam Wood
Colorado Springs

Cowards? Yes.

To the Editor:

Courage means that even though one is afraid, one functions on some level by facing one's fear. Cowardice is a failure to face that fear. Suicide is the ultimate way to avoid facing fear.

All anger is based in fear. Men use anger to mask inexpressible fear. The 17 desperate, angry men who perpetrated the atrocities ended their lives with the most selfish act available, murder/suicide.

And don't tell me that the USA is responsible for their behavior because they've been bullying the Iraqis (which they have been doing). We are all individually responsible for our own emotions and behavior. Religion is a powerful facilitator for the externalization of personal responsibility, aka the culture of victimhood. ... a hand for a hand, indeed.

These fellows were chock full of fears they could not face. Cowards.

Thank you for provoking this rant.

--James Alexander
Salt Springs Island

British Columbia

Without freedom of speech

To the Editor:

Never try to apologize to me for one of your [columnist's] opinions. How can we exchange ideas and thereby grow if we never differ?

When we differ and when it becomes necessary, we'll meet in the settle-things arena and battle it out. Then we will depart as friends with strengthened ties.

I like to quote Voltaire, who was often critical of his fellow human's opinions and ideas. He said: "Although I cannot agree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Life becomes dangerously confusing if we call everyone darling. It can be even worse if everyone calls us darling.

I am glad that there are some persons who can, and will, stand up against the in-place bullies.

Without freedom of speech, we would return to the ignominy of the lowest form of slavery.

I deplore any philosophy based on the credo: "Debase and dehumanize your enemy. Then you can feel righteous when you kill him."

-- Bob Garrison
Manitou Springs

Get a barf bag

To the Editor:

Cara DeGette's recent column supporting terrorist strikes on New York and Washington makes me want to vomit. She plays with words insinuating that anybody who commits suicide by driving a jumbo jet into a skyscraper, killing thousands of people, is not a coward. She asks why we think we are immune from terrorists after our record of bombing various countries. Well, Cara, we are not immune and who thinks we are? Her real point is that America deserves this action based on our previous bombings of Iraq. She is the coward for not coming straight out and saying what she truly believes; that the United States deserves this and too bad for the thousands of people who died.

I find her amazingly ignorant of the world and how it works. Why, Cara, have we bombed Iraq? Does it have anything to do with their invasion of Kuwait? Does it have anything to do with Saddam's willingness to use chemical weapons on his own people. Perhaps it has something to do with his never-ending effort to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Should we consider that he would use nuclear weapons on Israel if he could? The leader of Kuwait (sic) is a certified nut case and people like Cara who support him are nuts themselves. As for the Taliban, they are more extreme than Saddam and yet somehow we deserve [what] we got.

Cara's posture is similar to those who argued for appeasement towards Hitler and those who supported the Soviets through the various pogroms that killed millions. I can picture her in 1940 defending the Nazi blitz on London by saying, What does England expect after such a terrible peace was made with Germany after the world war? She would fit right in supporting Stalin or Mao as they systematically killed millions, telling us how a new society was being created with equality for all.

Cara and her ilk are disgruntled people with a chip on their shoulder. They blame "Amerika" first and ask questions later. They live in a country that gives them the freedom to spout such babble and yet they don't have a clue how lucky they are.

-- Craig Anderson
Colorado Springs

The right to be wrong

To the Editor:

Kudos to publisher John Weiss for exposing "Ron" (Publisher's Note, Sept. 20), but inviting him to a conversational coffee, while a noble idea, is also a futile one. I was well advised years ago that one cannot debate ignorance; it's like trying to reason with a drunk. I'm not saying the Rons, the Chuck Bakers and those who wrote vicious things to Cara DeGette are ignorant people, but they are ignorant in believing their beliefs are the only true beliefs. The irony of it is that these people normally rail against government, but now get highly incensed if anyone else merely questions it.

As I read DeGette's article (Public Eye, Sept. 13), I saw no signs of a traitor. I saw no condoning the attacks. What I did see were more facts than opinion. I saw questions about what America has been doing in that part of the world for years, legitimate questions! For me, I believe America is not innocent in its world travels, but it has done far more good than harm. It is safe to say, as America goes, so goes the world. For that reason alone, alternative views like the Indy's must bring to light whatever dark things America has done or is doing.

Having said that, I agree with most Americans that there is no choice but to aggressively pursue, capture and appropriately dispose of those responsible for September 11.

While we do this, we must pay attention to the words of the Bakers and the actions of the Rons. Our particular Baker, like Jerry Falwell, is mostly harmless, but they both have a microphone which they recklessly use to attack those who disagree with them. Ron is not quite so harmless. I used to think he was just a pest who used any talk show that will give him airtime (Baker gives him lots), for his tedious, obtuse, anti-government rants.

He will tell you that all Democrats are liberals and socialists, which is like saying that all Republicans are conservative and right-wingers like Timothy McVeigh, but now that I read that he is threatening businesses who advertise in the Indy, I'm convinced he must be stopped, whether by police, the media or anyone who knows of his cowardly acts. Ron's actions aren't patriotic; they are anti-American, anti-free speech, anti-business and against the law. I know what it's like to be threatened by a zealot like Ron for I was stalked by a letter writer to the Indy, who violently opposed my political philosophy. When I threatened him with police action, he backed off.

As I watch our government prepare for a "different kind of war," our military will be fighting for our freedom against terrorists, but they will also be defending the arrogance, the vitriol and the illogical assumptions of the Bakers, the Rons and the attackers of Cara DeGette, for they too have rights and one of them is the right to be wrong!

-- Phil Kenny
Colorado Springs

Terrorists are nobodies

To the Editor:

The United States is making a mistake by focusing on Osama bin Laden as a mastermind of terrorist activities. In doing so, the U.S. is elevating his status among militant groups that feel -- as a recent PBS special stated -- that anyone who can make the U.S. hunt him down must really be someone to follow.

The better course of action is to treat bin Laden and others like him as nobodies. Imagine the defeat terrorists around the world would feel if the United States acted in a truly Christian manner and loved its enemy with forgiveness. A country that could forgive such an enormously horrendous attack would prove that all terrorists are so unimportant that no matter how despicable their actions, the U.S. refuses to sacrifice any further lives in their pursuit.

-- Noelle Vance
Colorado Springs

For the joy of it

To the Editor:

This was just what I needed to read ("I Weep," Sept. 20). I wept reading this article. Thank you for printing it.

I am a dancer and I dance in public every chance I get. I hope that you will tell Mark (the author) that there are dancers out here that do it to bring joy into life.

-- Caryn Morgan
Colorado Springs

They didn't get the Statue of Liberty

To the Editor:

An online friend of mine in Ireland sent this letter to me today:

Today has been a day of vigilance and prayer here in Ireland. Archbishop Carey made a very moving speech in St. Paul's Cathedral, which I thought I would share with you all. Among his speech were the words, "The terrorists did not strike down on a very important landmark of America and one which is much older than the World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty. This statue holds the spirit of the American people -- liberty, justice and freedom for all. It's rather poignant that it still stands tall and proud, as does the spirit of all Americans." People visibly wept in the street at that part of the speech.

I personally have suggested to a News Channel editor that if everybody gave a dollar, or a pound, peseta, guilder, etc. to help rebuild the WTC, we would have a capital building built by the people of the world, showing unity together in the eyes of the terrorists who attacked our beliefs in democracy, justice and freedom. Please give some thought to this and perhaps you or your friends could petition your local television and radio stations also.

- Pammy (Mrs. Pamela Logue)
- Donna Martin
Colorado Springs

We are not alone

To the Editor:

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your commentary this week ("Let Freedom Ring," Sept. 20). I thought I was the only one who felt this way.

-- Abigail Appleton
Colorado Springs

The fuel of rage

To the Editor:

Am I the only American who finds our leadership's response to the recent terrorist atrocity shallow and disappointing? They tell us they're going to hunt down and punish those responsible, presumably the bin Laden organization. Excuse me, we're talking about a group of suicide bombers. What are we going to do to them that they aren't perfectly willing to do to themselves? Then, we're told this terrorism is more proof we need the high-tech Star Wars missile-defense system. We're being slaughtered by people armed with plastic box cutters and our own airliners, and super-sophisticated technology is the answer? The roots of Middle East conflict, and America's role in it, are consistently being ignored.

The Middle East produces young men willing to die in suicide attacks against Israel and America the way an Iowa field grows corn. We can wipe out the bin Laden organization, and thousands will take their places. Why? Because the United States plays an essentially colonial role in the region, and because Israel -- supported primarily by the United States -- involves, by definition, ethnic cleansing: Israel is a "Jewish state," and that means non-Jews can exist there only as second-class citizens. Sure, in 1947 a new United Nations (with strong U.S. encouragement) partitioned Palestine between Palestinians and Jews; that sounds fair 'til you realize the part the Jews got used to belong to Palestinians (most of whom had lived there for generations and were forcibly disposessed and expelled), and much of what the Palestinians got is now part of Israel. Americans and most of the world now recognize "ethnic cleansing" as a crime against humanity; today, decades after the founding of Israel, the plight of the Palestinians is worse than ever.

U.S.--backed oppression of Palestinians and Washington's heavy-handed neocolonialism in the Middle East do not justify the slaughter of innocent Americans. But they do explain the rage in the region directed at us. The pundits say we and our children will never be safe again; the government and media are preparing us for further erosion of our civil liberties. The future need not be so grim. If Washington would stop supporting Israeli ethnic cleansing and start treating all nations of the area respectfully, anti-American terrorism would lose the moral authority it has among so many of Israel's neighbors. That sense of justified rage against America is the fuel suicide bombers run on.

--Paul Dougan
Manitou Springs

A spiritual wakeup call

To the Editor:

The forcible rape of our national body on September 11 was a spiritual wakeup call for the American people, not a call to a holy war of vengeance. Sadly, I fear that we may miss the meaning of this call. While many cool heads urge reflection and caution, President Bush has declared war on a largely faceless enemy, asserting navely that we've been singled out because America is "the brightest beacon of freedom in the world." Some Americans talk loosely of "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age," as if it isn't already halfway there. I pray that we do not lose ourselves in war. In the late 1980s, psychotherapist Arnold Mindell said that, as long as the Israelis were in a "bunker mentality," he could not talk with them about peace.

There is little doubt that we must protect America and bring the terrorists to justice. However, if we assume that this is the ultimate war on Evil and that we're the personification of Good, out to seek Old Testament vengeance, we will incur further karmic debt and reap what we sow. This kind of war is essentially unwinnable, if fought by the sword, and will bring more sorrow than joy.

What is the risk that, in our outraged righteousness, we might pepper the Middle East with overwhelming and indiscriminate firepower? Swaggering around the globe, bullying small countries and euphemistically referring to the inevitable loss of innocent life as "collateral damage," we could inspire new generations of terrorists and start a 21st century Vietnam War. If you doubt that war begets war and violence begets violence, just reflect on the dirty, endless conflicts in Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine, the Balkans and much of Africa.

It's up to the American people to say, "Enough is enough." If we fail to enter into deep national reflection and serious international dialogue to discover why the country is hated by many abroad, we may face a war without end. We must all educate ourselves about the world and our national role in it. We must ask questions like, How the rest of the world feel about the fact that, with 4 percent of the world's population, we consume 44 percent of the world's resources. We must ask how many millions of women and children suffer as a consequence of our embargoes of Cuba, Iraq and other countries.

We've lost our innocence, and we're being called to spiritual maturity. We are called to understand our adversaries and ourselves, to live up to our highest religious and spiritual values, to accept and love others as we would be (and are) loved, to be just in all that we do as a people and as a nation, to acknowledge our common heritage and origins with all other life on Earth, to fulfill our true potential and destiny in the world, and to take the steps that can and will lead to peace on Earth.

I pray that we do not blow it.

-- Paul W. Burke
Colorado Springs

He who hates his brother

To the Editor:

Terrorists are cowards. They take the easy path of hate and murder instead of bravely choosing to love. No politics, creeds, histories, economics or world situations provide an excuse. He who hates his brother is a murderer.

Coward is as coward does.

-- Jim Inman
Colorado Springs

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