Remembering Arthur Although I usually find myself sending protest letters to your newspaper, I have to cease fire for at least a day or two to agree with your touching tribute to Dr. Arthur Prince (Editorial, September 7th issue). Prince was a true "gentleman and a scholar." He was a caring spirit with a kind and forgiving personality. My condolences to his family and other mourners of the Prince.
Five years after 9/11, I am compelled to not only remember our country's second day of infamy in a generation but also to assess the real damage caused to our country in its wake.
It occurs to me that the bulk of the damage has happened post-9/11: the billions of tax dollars whisked away by this administration, the patriotic young men and women placed in harm's way, and the ever-hastening descent of global sentiment toward America. I realize now that the masterminds of the attacks knew that our government would play right into their hands. And we have.
The horrific years of war following Pearl Harbor eventually led to America being hailed (and rightfully so) as the savior of Western civilization. It is on this crutch of his father's generation's glory that our current president now leans, using it to help a handful of profiteers who are rolling in our tax dollars. To you and me, $1 million is an impossible dream. To the fat-cat warmongers, it's an hourly wage.
As we pay homage to our brothers and sisters who perished on 9/11 -- and those who continue to perish daily -- take a moment to ask yourself this simple question: If war is justified, then why are so many profiting from it?
Malone, New York
In times of crisis, leaders lead and poseurs pose. Here is one of America's greatest presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." And here is the disaster who may well be the worst president in American history, George W. Bush: "The only thing we have to fear is ... everything."
We need real leadership, and we need it now.
B. Keith English
When a pragmatist finds himself in a hole, he stops digging. An idealogue, by contrast, asks for a bigger shovel, as the walls keep caving in and the hole gets wider and deeper.
This image comes to mind when listening to calls from spokesmen for the administration to "stay the course." President Bush gives an impassioned defense of failed policy in Iraq. Cheney and Rumsfeld even more stridently condemn the "cut and run" critics, comparing them to the appeasers of Hitler.
Listening closely, one might begin to descern a tone of doubt and desperation in their voices. Early claims of victory for the "freedom agenda" now seem to be giving way to grim warnings that defeat (of their policies) would entail catastrophic consequences.
Over the centuries, many imperial dreams have been covered over and lost in the drifting sands of Mesopotamia.
The Bush administration says critics of their policies are suffering from moral or intellectual confusion. But I'm not confused at all. I know that before this war started, President Bush didn't know a Sunni from a Shiite, didn't know the history and culture of Iraq, and failed to listen to or seek advice from those who did.
I know Bush was itching for a fight with Saddam Hussein long before 9/11. I know he misled us all about the reasons for the war, ignored dissenting opinions, prematurely removed U.N. weapons inspectors, exaggerated the threat, and created a nonexistent link between Saddam and 9/11.
I know, to gain political advantage, Bush morphs the war in Iraq into the "war on terror," when they are separate, distinct, and unrelated. I know he used violence to force "democracy" upon Iraqis who may not care, understand, or live to see it. I know the world has lost faith in our judgment and values because of what Bush has done.
I know Bush uses scare tactics to win elections and that he's trying to do it again. And I know we went to war for the wrong reasons in the wrong country, and it's wrong to stay there sacrificing our troops indefinitely.
Unlike the Bush administration, I'm not confused. Not morally. Not intellectually. Not at all.
Alan L. Light
Iowa City, Iowa