Letters to the editor
Today on your front page I read about “Answerland,” and before the Vail daily goes out and becomes the next “Current Affairs” of the Vail Valley, I just thought you search internally and take a long look at what you are printing. I’m all for people having different opinions and an opportunity to air them. However, I think Don Rogers has missed something. As the editor, he runs a newspaper, and when he writes columns they are called editorials – not rant-and-rave columns. This paper is to serve the community. As the Daily’s own masthead says, it is to bring communities together. However, on the topic of Eaton Ranch, it seems Don is intent on trying to find or create division rather than following the news of this community. I and everyone else in the valley gets it, Don, you’re against Eaton Ranch. OK, thanks for sharing. Now could you move onto something new or help to bring the community together over this project instead of driving a stake into it? There are lots of issues I’d like to read about. I actually like to hear your opinion on a variety of topics. But quite honestly, I’m over it with you and your opinion on Eaton Ranch. It is almost as old as the November election results.Kurt KriegA rebuttalThis letter is a response to Butch Mazzuca’s column, “Why attacking Iraq made sense.” In his commentary Mr. Mazzuca attempts to answer the question “Why did we invade Iraq?” His response is not only inaccurate, but the parallels he draws and analogies he uses are embarrassing. Mazzuca barely even addresses the question. Instead, he uses cheap and ineffective comparisons that create lengthy tangents. For example, how do we go from the “War against Militant Islam” to gangs in St. Louis? I understand his premise, the Middle East needs to be responsible for regulating itself, but how can someone compare such problems to violence and crime in young, urban America? He is comparing several national governments with hundreds of billion of dollars at their disposal, not to mention huge social influence, to underprivileged teens in Middle America. Not only is that grossly inaccurate and negligent, but it also is insulting. He claims “doubling the number of police in those neighborhoods won’t make the streets any safer.” I may be wrong, but it seems that in crime-ridden and impoverished urban centers, the last thing those communities are going to do is “eliminate the problem themselves.” There is a large distinction between cops who walk the beat in Compton and the U.S. military in Iraq. … Mazzuca’s essay is littered with other errors as well. Take this erudite comment, for example: “For hundreds of years the West didn’t care much about a bunch of Arabs in the desert until oil became the most precious commodity on earth in the 20th century.” I guess he decided to just overlook a little series of conflicts called the Crusades. That’s understandable. They only lasted a few hundred years. Other, more minor incidents of the West “not caring” include the annexation of the Suez region by the French and English and the resulting 100-mile canal built in the 1860s, the Russo-Turkish War, and Britain’s attempted conquest of the Nile River. Moreover, Mazzuca claims that the “Middle East ceased being a contributing region of the world sometime around the 8th century, when mosque and state were combined.” I understand his point once again: Societies are more productive when they are not beholden to religion through secular law. But when exactly was the Middle East contributing? Aside from these inaccuracies and many others, the entire answer to the question posed by Mazzuca – “Why did we invade Iraq?” – is lost in this mire of quasi-social history-commentary that is often erroneous if it even pertains to the query at all. Somewhere near the end he claims “Iraq was the best choice because Saddam Hussein was reviled by the world. Also, because Iraq was the most secular of Arab societies, it was widely accepted that its people would embrace democratic reforms.” However, anyone, if they can merely recall Mr. Bush’s speech on March 19, 2003, can find the answer to his question in one simple sentence: “The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.”Did we need an entire essay to answer that one question when Bush answered it for us two years ago? Actually, yes, we did. Why? Because that sen tence has been lost among the lies, human rights infringements, and billions of dollars that have befouled this black hole of a conflict. Eagle County needs Mazzuca to tell us why the war in Iraq “makes sense,” 24 months later, precisely because nothing is adding up and we need constant reinforcement regarding our government’s policies. Iraq is clearly, as Blix stated before the war (I guess Mazzuca doesn’t include Hans Blix, chief weapons inspector in Iraq before he resigned due to an inability to be effective, a “major intelligence” source), not a threat to the U.S. As a result of this profound revelation, people like Mazzuca write articles to rationalize the war beyond Bush’s statement. Let us check the facts once more, though, and see, if, as of March 12, 2005, “attacking Iraq made sense.” Hopefully, my analysis will be a bit more concise and on topic: no WMDs; Osama Bin Laden operates with impunity; 1,500 U.S. soldiers dead, and over 10,000 wounded; 50,000 innocent Iraqi deaths; no exit strategy; the total cost of the war has exceeded $200 billion while our national deficit grows beyond $425 billion amid lagging economic growth; the U.S. military is stretched to the breaking point and recruitments are down; a back-door draft is recalling folks who enlisted for the National Guard during the Vietnam War; the military has reneged on its promise to keep soldiers in Iraq for no more than 12 months; the military is guilty of multiple war crimes that include torture, kidnapping, and the illegal detention of its citizenry; the invasions of Fallujah failed; the insurgency is growing; zero terrorists have been convicted by the Bush administration; it will be impossible to train enough Iraqis well enough to replace our military; some of the “protected” munitions dumps have been looted by the insurgency; and it is clear that other nations are exploiting our situation by continuing to produce nuclear weapons. Moreover, the Iraqi elections that Bush so loudly declared as a “victory for freedom,” have merely put Shiite leaders into power who will tell the U.S. to scram while they impose religious law on the Sunnis and Kurds. The Kurds will push for independence. I’m sure that will have a peaceful resolution! And the Sunnis will just have to take religious persecution. The mass exodus of Bush’s cabinet says enough about the war and the “principles” that impel our militaristic policies. Thus far, Mazzuca, the war in Iraq has made about as much sense as your column. Somewhere in the whole thing lie kernels of fact and existing connections. But, like the war, your essay is guided by half-truths, assumptions and parallels that stretch the fabric of history and reality.Ben TalbotVailBreath of fresh airMatt Zalaznick, you are a breath of enlightened fresh air. With commentary like yours and The New York Times, we are able to get, and digest some truth about what’s going on in the world (and the mind ) of George the Weird. Each day I read things he and his crew are doing that astound me, to say the least. Who can stop him? Thanks for the work you do. Keep it up. Susan BlackVail, Colorado
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