Monday, August 11, 2008

[Letters to the Editor] Parsing Letters

The DH opinion page is really aflame today. What it is about Monday and LTEs?

Just finished reading the one-sided article written by Diaa Hadid, who appears concerned about the barrier separating Israel from Palestine.

When a nation lives next door to a country that fires not only rockets into its cities but also sends suicide bombers in to kill their civilian population, they are confronted with no other choice but to create a barrier between them.

Mmm.... funny how the Israeli military occupation and military bombings are not mentioned. Nor the fact that a wall will a) have all sorts of other consequences, like preventing people from getting to work and/or school, or separating families and b) won't stop attacks.

Israel acquired their land through a World War II mandate from the British. Immediately upon occupying this land they were attacked by the surrounding Arab nations. Israel won that war and subsequent ones as well, thereby justifying its presence on the land.

I wonder if might would continue to make right if the US lost a parcel of land? For that matter, how is the original mandate from the British justified?

I believe that once the Palestinians learn to control the militants and permanently stop all this carnage, then not only will peace in that region ensue, but also, ultimately, some accord on the land issue as well.

It's just.... ah, fuck it.

Another letter:

I am writing this in regard to low-income families. Years ago Goodwill was a place to help the low-income people. When I go there now, I cannot afford their things.

I have heard tons of complaints about their prices. It is not right. They get their things for free. People who cannot afford school clothes or other items are supposed to be able to turn to Goodwill and places like that for those reasons.

Well said. I attribute Goodwill's increase in prices to a combination of things: College students who shop there but do not need to (especially in Corvallis, perhaps), rising gas prices, globalization/general economic strain, and the fact that the Goodwill CEO has made as much as $800,000/year. That latter has dropped (by a whole quarter!), but the fact that it was ever that high... yeah.

Oh, and don't forget #5: Capitalism. It's both a cause and consequence of the increased prices at Goodwill.

My favorite letter, at least when it comes to being delightfully short on reason, has to do with McCain and Obama:

McCain has a good idea on how to protect this country, having been in the military. His prisoner of war status gives him a good idea how our enemies think.

Wrong. Having been a POW does not automatically grant one insight into one's captors. This is not Rambo. Similarly, being in the military does not grant one special knowledge about the big picture. I know too many current and former military folks to believe that for a second. This argument might not totally suck if we were talking about a former general, but McCain? Seriously?

Obama has no idea how to protect this country and will be elected our next president.

Funny, I always thought that's what the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense, or possibly the National Security Adviser or National Security Council were for. Silly me. Not to mention that I'd argue with the claim as applied to Obama himself.

Over 60 percent of our population has no military experience and no idea of why the military even exists, other than it is traditional.

Even I don't believe the latter part is true. Of course people know the point of a military: To blow shit up. What, has the author never played Gears of War?

With Obama’s lack of knowledge, our military will become weaker after he pulls them out of the Middle East, setting us up like we were before World War II.

This is nonsensical. Also, the implied comparison to anyone in the Middle East and Hitler is ludicrous.

At or near Obama’s end of term the terrorists will have united the Arab countries enough that the Arabs will invade Europe. Nuclear bombs — probably smuggled in — rather than missiles will decimate cities of the United States.

Basis of these claims in fact? None. Amount of amazement I have regarding the fact that this sort of statement is not laughed out of the room? A whole freakin' lot. C'mon folks: "Obama as President = nuclear attacks on America" is just stupid, not to mention morally bankrupt. Of course "uniting the Arab countries" is about as likely as humans making to Alpha Centauri by tomorrow, but hey, when you're in a fact-free zone...

The terrorists may have learned not to start terror activities while a Republican is in office. Do their damage while a Democrat is in office, or before the new president can get a handle on what is happening.

Nice save of Bush with that last clause. I wonder of the author could explain this? For that matter, how does the author reconcile this with the "we are fighting them over there so we don't fight them here" claim, or the mere existence of the entire Iraq debacle?

To keep the U.S. out of the war as long as possible, hit U.S. cities before we can mobilize. While at the same time start the war in Europe, hoping to take Europe out before the sleeping tiger (the U.S.) can get on its feet.

Again, with what army? What nukes?

I am neither a Democrat nor Republican and spent 10 years in the U.S. Navy. I have never voted for a Democrat yet.

*sigh* Well, as far as I know, most people registered as independents consistently vote for the same party. At least this guy is not alone in that.

Whew. That last letter was amazing. It's kind of funny how the DH opinion page can pull the most entertaining people out of the woodwork. These letters even give EW a run for their money, though not quite in the same way.

By the way, this is post #805, or thereabouts. If I remember, I'll try and make note of posts #900 and 1000. I had intended to mark 800, but clearly I forgot =)


Anonymous said...

I do agree that the CEO of Goodwill making 800,000 a year is not right, but don't forget that Goodwill provides jobs to people who would otherwise have difficulty in finding and maintainging a job--THAT is what they were developed for, not to provide low cost resale items.

From their web site;

"We are North America’s leading nonprofit provider of education, training, and career services for people with disadvantages, such as welfare dependency, homelessness, and lack of education or work experience, as well as those with physical, mental and emotional disabilities. Last year, local Goodwills collectively provided employment and training services to more than 1.1 million individuals."

Dennis said...

True. I'm not denying that. But I also think that their price increases have put people in a tougher spot. I'm not saying it's Goodwill's fault - note that increased energy costs and college students are cited as two of my factors - merely that it's unfortunate.

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