Letters to the Editor


Regarding War on Iraq, perpetual war, US deindustrialization, and the folly of it all

To the Editor:

It is no secret that the monetary resources devoted to military weaponry, forces and equipments are staggering. Less noted is the military "consumption" of science and engineering talent, research & design facilities and educational institutions.

U.S. Deindustrialization through "Globalization" has had huge impacts on employment and prosperity for US workers, and ITS EFFECTS ARE SPREADING to white-collar and service sectors as new communication technology allows those jobs also to be shipped abroad. The task of revitalizing U.S. based production is ever increasingly more crucial, since the national knowledge base dealing with manufacturing and production is literally expiring.

This current drive to war was born from a U.S. economic strategy, specialization in weapons and maintaining the U.S. dollar as the central world currency. If the Anti-War movement wants to stop U.S. War-making, then it must also address the economic war being waged on American workers by the managers of the "Permanent War Economy."

Included with this e-mail are two recent articles of mine dealing with the relationship of military expenditures, deindustrialization and economic hardship for working people. I am making them available to you, for publication in your website without charge. If you are interested in these or further articles, please let me know.

Seymour Melman
Professor Emeritus Industrial Engineering
Columbia University
New York, New York, USA - March 3, 2003

[Ed. We are publishing with gratitude one of the two articles. See, "In The Grip Of A Permanent War Economy." Prof. Melman has generously accepted to contribute to Swans on an occasional basis.]


To the Editor:

If you didn't already hear this one . . .

I wouldn't know Peter Freundlich if he rode past me on a bicycle, and I don't know if he's for real or a giant cheese ball. But I found this essay a breath of fresh air upon my most heavy brow. So, I send it along for a 3 minute diversion.

I heard it on NPR's "All Things Considered" yesterday afternoon, March 13, 2003. If you want or need a break, you can listen to it by pointing your browser to,


and clicking on,

Commentary: Logic of War? (scroll down)

I quickly transcribed this text from the sound file I downloaded. I couldn't guarantee that the punctuation is accurate.

If you hate this, too -- then perhaps my 10 page, single spaced "Letter to the Editor" will be on how Swans' editor and I agree on nothing. Otherwise, I'll try to make some headway tonight on some relevant subject -- like democracy in crisis, organic gardening, or dog racing . . .

Here's the transcript:

Logic of War?
by Peter Freundlich

Alright, let me see if I understand the logic of this correctly.

We are going to ignore the United Nations, in order to make clear to Saddam Hussein, that the United Nations cannot be ignored.

We're going to wage war to preserve the UN's ability to avert war. The paramount principle is that the UN's word must be taken seriously, and if we have to subvert its word to guarantee that it is, then by gum, we will. Peace is too important not to take up arms to defend.

Am I getting this right?

Further, if the only way to bring democracy to Iraq is to vitiate the democracy of the Security Council, then we are honor bound to do that too, because democracy as we define it is too important to be stopped by a little thing like democracy as they define it.

Also, in dealing with a man who brooks no dissension at home, we cannot afford dissension among ourselves. We must speak with one voice, against Saddam Hussein's failure to allow opposing voices to be heard.

We are sending our gathered might to the Persian Gulf to make the point that might does not make right (as Saddam Hussein seems to think it does). And we are twisting the arms of the opposition until it agrees to let us to oust a regime that twists the arms of the opposition. We cannot leave in power a dictator who ignores his own people, and if our people, and people elsewhere in the world fail to understand that, then we have no choice but to ignore them.

Listen, don't misunderstand, I think it is a good thing that the members of the Bush administration seem to have been reading Lewis Carroll. I only wish someone had pointed out that "Alice in Wonderland," and "Through the Looking Glass," are meditations on paradox, and puzzle, and illogic, and on the strangeness of things, not templates for foreign policy.

It is amusing for the Mad Hatter to say something like, "we must make war on him because he is a threat to peace," but not amusing for someone who commands an army to say that.

As a collector of laughable arguments I'd be enjoying all this if it weren't for the fact I know, we all know, lives are going to be lost in what amounts to be a freak, circular reasoning accident.

By the way, Peter Freundlich is a veteran of ABC News, NBC News and CBS News, where, during a decade-long stint as Sunday Morning's writer-in-residence, he won an Emmy Award. In 1998, he turned the syndicated broadcast he and Charles Kuralt were working on at the time of Kuralt's death into the Simon & Schuster's book, Charles Kuralt's "American Moments." (bio taken off the Net)

Anyway, enjoy Spring...

John Blunt
Oakland, California, USA - March 14, 2003

[Ed. Glad to know that we are not sinking alone into the doldrums... We look forward to receiving an essay on "democracy in crisis, organic gardening, or dog racing . . ."]


[Ed. Well, whad'ya know? John Blunt did follow up. Here it is, unedited and timely (though not from an editing perspective). Actually we would have much rather published this very timely piece as an essay, but we received it too late on Sunday to include it in the rendition.

To the Editor:

Was the black eye the UN Security Council ministered George Bush this week just to impede his single minded zeal for the destruction of Saddam Hussein? I think not. I think it goes much deeper.

Unanimous approval of Article 1441 in November, as well as a host of other actions and statements, testifies to the international disdain for the Iraqi tyrant. For the wound Mr. Bush retreats to remote Azores this weekend to nurse, I think he has his own contempt for Democracy to thank.

Not just for his contempt for the institutions of democracy, as his recent unilateral rejections of the ABM Treaty, Kyoto Protocol, and International Criminal Court (ICC) must certainly have seemed, especially to the senior, permanent members of the Security Council. But especially of his smug dismissals of recent peace marches, which over the face of seven continents have rallied some millions of people in a single day, and for his disregard for the pressure being exerted upon world leaders by their own citizens.

I am convinced that rejection of this war, both in the United Nations and on the streets of our cities, points to a thin layer of gasoline atop of a much deeper lake of discontent. I believe that discontent comes from the long, slow erosion of our civil liberties and our equal vote to the ever more invassive and corrosive might of private commercialism.

I believe the WTO protests, beginning so spectacularly and unexpectedly in Seattle, bear that out. I have always rejected assessments by government and corporate officials that recent Anti-Globalismism movements are the fringe collection of anti capitalist, anti-establishment, teenage ludites unfortunately naive to the modern social wonders of world markets open to the unrestricted flow of foreign capital. I don't think it's the rebellious youth of Black Bloc hurling bricks through their windows that should worry them most.

Because behind them marches the middle class, and there is little to speculate about when they are summoned to join the dissention. They are, in increasing numbers, disenfranchised and disillusioned by how much toil and conformity all this opportunity costs them. People fed up with the how their democratic potency has been reduced to their after tax purchasing power.

For the first time, perhaps, since being selected to Office in 2000, George Bush's personal hubris was finally stymied by the checks and balances force of International Democracy this week. I remember when our constitution used to provide against that. Furthermore, by virtue of his single minded belligerence and disregard for the will of the peoples of this world, he has, it seems with the rejection in the UN of this additional resolution, supplanted himself to Saddam Hussein as the single most serious threat to international security.

I might find some delight in that, if it weren't for the fact that Mr. Bush will most likely return Monday and authorize his War anyway, and open up the coffers of our Social Security, our Health Care reform, and our children's education to pay for it.

I take some solace, however, in the hope and belief, that these public demonstrations are a trend on the move and growing. I trust it is inevitable that the men like George Bush who, under the banner of freedom and democracy, exploit and plunder the world for the manifest destiny of their own riches, will eventually be smothered by the very forces they pretend to advocate.

John Blunt
Oakland, California, USA - March 16, 2003


Regarding Haider A. Khan's article, The Political Economy of Oil and the War against Terrorism

To the Editor:

I think Mr. Khan, in "The Political Economy Of Oil And The War Against Terrorism," is on the right track when suggesting a link between oil and bin Laden. If you read the fatwas (especially the first one) signed by bin Laden (the ones I read were posted on the Washington Post's Web site), you will find some interesting and curious references to oil, which suggest that oil is not far from the thoughts of those whose views those documents represent.

David Kilmer
Los Angeles, California, USA - March 9, 2003


Regarding the War on Iraq and the antiwar movement

To the Editor:

"Love It or Leave It," a woman yelled at us while driving by the weekly anti-war protest in our city. What she subconsciously meant is if you don't love America then you better get out. But she missed the point. See, we do love our country and that is why we protest.

Many people will die from this war in Iraq and the hatred will only grow. We do not want this to happen.

Some say the war is over oil, some say it is to protect our freedom; but I say, why go to war? A lot of the people in support of the war are Christians and I am also a Christian; but I remember reading what Jesus Christ said to the mob, "Love thy neighbor."

I was among the protesters on February 15, 2003 and after a two-week absence in the protests I showed up again this past Saturday. It was different though, not in the way we were protesting, but in the way we were treated. The crowd was 10 times smaller than the 15th and as soon as I arrived security made me move my car. I parked further down away from them and came back. There were only about ten protestors when I arrived and that grew to over one-hundred in about an hour. I went inside the mall to buy cigarettes and use the restroom. I came back out and there was a long, jet-black helicopter hovering above us in flying in circles. I have never seen a traffic chopper that looked like that and I still do not know who it belonged to or who was on board. We were being watched though. There were many people taking my picture and the only one who identified himself was a cameraman from the alternative weekly, Metro Pulse.

I will still attend the protests, but I feel our rights will be challenged more and more as the weeks pass by. I am there to show my support for our country and to protect our Bill of Rights and to share my belief that this war in Iraq is wrong.

No war, please; no war!

Keep up the good work.

David A. Garrett, Jr.
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - March 10, 2003


Regarding the The 1991 Gulf War Rationale

To the Editor:

I have recently read your dossier on the rationale for the Gulf War and it has jogged my memory as to the many contradictions which accompanied this intrusion into the affairs of sovereign nations. While these contradictions (and outright falsehoods) are intrinsic in all this country's geopolitical meddling, they are particularly odious in this instance as it provides the baseline for more death and destruction at the present time.

After reading it I got out a copy I had made of an interview with Senator David Boren of Oklahoma, who was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time. It was published in USA Today's edition of September 12, 1990. My interpretation of it was that President Bush, contrary to his public pronouncements, was made fully aware of Iraq's military movements in his daily intelligence briefings.

This published interview was not mentioned in anything I read at that time or since. I did write to Senator Boren then but did not receive a response.

Frank M. DePaul
New Fairfield, Connecticut, USA - March 13, 2003


Regarding a reader's Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Like the beleaguered editor of Swans, I was also amused that a respondent replied with an entire letter when asked for his address (Cornell Clark in the last newsletter). Why do doctors and certain academics feel compelled to give their entire curriculum vitae before expressing a political opinion?! Is this a heads-up: Pay attention, everyone -- The Doctor is about to speak? Why do Americans believe a socially approved credential entitles them to pontificate with authority on any topic? Someday I hope you or another able editor in our rarefied little area of cyberspace will lay down some kind of ground rule that any letter which begins "I am a graduate of X and hold a degree in Y" is probably trying to prop up an otherwise uninteresting or uninformed opinion and should be pitched.

At any rate, I agree that the second letter didn't make much more sense than the first. A nice little deflation of someone's overblown sense of self-importance. Thanks. Too few of our few venues are willing to cut their readers down to size.

Cameron McLaughlin
Pensacola, Florida, USA - March 3, 2003


We appreciate and welcome your comments. Please, remember to sign your e-mails with your real name and add your city, state, country, address and phone number. If we publish your opinion we will only include your name, city, state, and country. We are for real. Please be for real. Thanks. (Letters may be shortened and edited)
Previous || Letters to the Editor || Next

Published March 17, 2003
[Copyright]-[Archives]-[Resources]-[Main Page]