Success? Winning? Victory? Who are George Bush, Dick Cheney, David Petraeus and John McCain talking to? What are they selling?
The only success, the only "winning," the only victory comes when all combatants lay down their arms and declare an end to this war. Only when this comes to pass, will there truly be a success, a "winning," a victory. And it will be for all: Sunni, Shiite, Kurd, Muslim, Christian, Arab, Iraqi, Iranian, Saudi, Israeli, American, Syrian, Turk, Afghani, etc.
This is not a game. Not a contest. Yet our leaders frame the conflict as if they're addressing a group of adolescents. It's an insult to the intelligence of Americans, to the intelligence of Iraqis and to the intelligence of the world community.
It is clear to me that our current leaders do not understand the meaning of success. And they certainly have no strategy for achieving a durable peace.
Many Americans have resigned themselves to simply await the results of the upcoming election, hoping that "regime change at home" will bring an end to the "national nightmare" that is Iraq and Afghanistan.
With almost 300 days until the inauguration of a new President, 300 more guaranteed days of war, we can anticipate another 3,000 to 15,000 people shall violently lose their lives in Iraq alone. We Americans grieve at the loss of over 4,000 of our own over the past five years.
We don't even have the decency to talk about Iraqi losses. They remain nameless, faceless statistics, not even worthy of the energy it might require to count them. We don't even know within an order of magnitude how great are their losses. By any reckoning, they have taken far more casualties than America took in the Vietnam War. The truth is, most Americans simply don't care. We're too distracted by the game.
In the political campaigns here at home, we have the audacity to debate whether racism exists in America. While we argue about what some preacher said from his pulpit, we wage a blatantly racist war in the Middle East.
Any American who fails to oppose this war, who remains silent in the face of our own racist campaign abroad, shares far more guilt than the Rev. Wright.
When I moved to Sonoma County from the New York metro area eight years ago, I thought my connections to the literary scene had ended. It turns out this area swarms with writers on every imaginable and unimaginable topic, and there are even more writers' groups than coffeehouses.
Your "Spring Lit" issue is a treasure trove (April 9). Where else could I learn that my fingerprints were formed five months before my birth (Richard Unger), or that I should consider the "genius" of a site before planting anything in my garden (Wendy Johnson)? This is much more fun than reading the Book Review section in the Sunday New York Times.
Arlene L. Mandell
Thank you so much for the article on the fabulous Donna Seager Gallery in San Rafael ("World of the Work," April 9). Perhaps your readers who love making or altering books would like to know about the Sonoma County Book and Paper Arts Guild that meets on the last Saturday of every month (except April) at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.
Gabe Meline's article "Rise of the Demise" (March 5) missed the elephant in the room of the whole vinyl LPs vs. CDs issue. If LPs are a 10, CDs are surely a close 9. Downloads, however, are way down the food chain at somewhere between 4 and 7 in terms of sound quality.
Stuff the compressed files they sell (at full, uncompressed prices) on iTunes, Amazon or anywhere else into an iPod with the little ear buds and, sure, they sound about as good as anything is going to. But actually burn that data to a true audio CD or even hook up the mp3 player to a good stereo, and it will sound noticeably worse than the CD version.
So as groovy as the free download card with the vinyl purchase might sound, buyers should know they aren't actually getting both the vinyl version and the equivalent of the CD version. They're getting the vinyl along with the little squished-down crap compromise between file size and quality that is the download business.
It saddens me that today so many of the kids are settling for the little squishes of crap.
Arthur G. Padlock