September 14, 2011
Letters to the Editor: America, George Bush, Israel
How Did We Get Here?
Marty Kaplan’s “How Did This Happen to America?” (Sept. 9) is a searing piece of journalism. Money has clearly infected our democratic system of government. What Kaplan does is articulate when the line was crossed when cynicism became the norm. Somehow we have to find our way back when, once again, civility rules, and negotiation is a recognized requirement for a functioning government.
Criticizing America, Marty Kaplan writes: “[T]he gap between the rich and the rest [is] growing so extreme that the U.S. is now the 42nd most unequal country in the world, below Cameroon and the Ivory Coast, and only just above Uganda and Jamaica.” This is the most misleading and irrelevant statistic to the success of a country and the well-being of its citizens that I can imagine. In America, the “poor” have it better than most people in the world. Furthermore, the reason the gap between the rich and the poor is so high in America is because there are so many rich and successful people! But this is a problem for Mr. Kaplan, who would rather us be more like Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Egypt and Kenya — all countries ahead of America in income distribution equality because everyone is poor!
Thanks for [Marty Kaplan’s] well-stated and appropriately qualified insights. I am a liberal chaplain at a women’s penitentiary and teach a Building Your Own Theology class as an alternative to fundamentalist doctrine. The basic question our inquiry always returns to is, “What is the nature of human nature?” Some days it’s very hard for me to justify jumping off the fence on the side of love — but on some level, even the most broken and battered women understand the layers and layers of pure BS that our culture piles on. In the end, it boils down to how you choose to respond. Even if you are one of the herd, you are ultimately responsible for the integrity of your own heart and mind and that has to be the bedrock. Period. Only then can you figure out your level of engagement, which in my opinion should be as subversive as possible. P.S. A good read: “Blessed Unrest,” by Paul Hawken.
It is the persistence of Bushphobia (or W-phobia) that blinds rational people to be irrational, as evidenced by the three articles in the Sept. 9 issue of The Jewish Journal.
Rob Eshman, in his column, wrote,
“[T]he Iraq war was one of those blunders … [and, quoting Brian Michael Jenkins,] ‘gave al-Qaeda a lift’ in the Arab world.” Professor Rabbi Michael Berenbaum opined, “The war in Iraq was completely unrelated to 9/11, and it was started for reasons now proven to be invalid. There were no weapons of mass destruction.” The Pakistani journalist Aaatekah A. Mir-Khan wrote, “Then we heard that President Bush was ready to invade Iraq. That fueled the theory that 9/11 had been staged, that not only was the invasion of Iraq personal, but also it was driven by America’s wish to secure control over oil.”
Let us state the facts, not politics. The Iraq Resolution War was a joint resolution passed by the U.S. Congress (both Republicans and Democrats voted for its passage) in October 2002 authorizing President George W. Bush to use military action against Iraq, as had been the stated policy of the United States for regime change in Iraq since the Clinton administration. The resolution cited at least 17 factors to justify the use of force against Iraq. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was just one factor; connection to al-Qaeda, use of WMD by Saddam on his own people (Kurds and Shia), payment of bounty to families of suicide bombers, aggression by Saddam on his neighbors such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran were among the others factors.
I was born in Libya, spent my youth there and attended the University of Tripoli until I left in 1974. Because of President George W. Bush’s leadership and courage, the recent Arab uprisings, including the democratic creation of the country of South Sudan, are the rewards for our success on executing the global war on terror and the liberation of Iraq. Tyrants and dictators around the world such as Saddam, Gadhafi, Assad of Syria, Iranian mullahs and others are no longer able to terrorize their citizens and innocent people as well and without severe consequences.
A Country Divided
A divided community is not the way forward for Israel today, yesterday or tomorrow. Although he seems to promote a unified Israel for all (“Salon Nation,” Aug. 26), Mr. Suissa’s tone belies his words.
With his statements to the religious Israelis, “It is dishonoring your religion” and “religion you promote,” Mr. Suissa displays contempt for all Jews, and our ideals.
“[Y]our religion” — but not the author’s? Is he no longer a Jew? Is Judaism so fractured that modern-thinking Jewish voices distance themselves from any kinship and connection to religious brethren?
It’s been 2,000 years since the Temple was destroyed, and somehow we’re still fostering hate and divisiveness among ourselves. Frankly, it’s beneath us, and beneath what I expect from our community’s published voices.