Regarding the Nov. 5 Opinion "Counterterrorism demands more of US public": John Hughes is spot on in his assessment and advice. We - we Americans, not the media, not our politicians, not special- interest talking heads - need to buck up and get tough. President Bush advised us honestly and directly that we are in a war against a new fascism whose weapons are terrorism and deceit. That means that we must accept deficit spending and sacrifice as necessary.
John Hughes calls for resolve on the part of the public, but cannot efface the grisly outcome of our occupation: The US has taken on the role of a traditional empire. Mr. Hughes's comparisons of current efforts of the US to France's and Britain's experiences in Indochina, Malaya, Algeria, and Northern Ireland align us with colonial powers, not liberators. With the liberation rhetoric of "shock and awe" becoming stale, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld now bemoans that soldiers can't engage Iraqis in conversation about US policy. If Iraq is to have a democratic government, perhaps the occupiers should be the ones listening.
Regarding your Nov. 4 article "NAFTA's shop-floor impact": You referred to NAFTA only in terms of how it has affected us in this country. You do not mention that Mexican workers are forced into maquila work because their farms can no longer compete with heavily subsidized US agribusiness. If you speak with maquila workers, you will, in fact, find that they are very discouraged that their way of life is being destroyed.
Competing with neighboring countries to see who can produce the cheapest labor is not helping countries get out of poverty. It does, however, allow the US to have cheaper products and benefits corporations.
Any profit from the maquilas leaves Mexico. It doesn't benefit Mexicans. So what are they getting out of it, other than more poverty and a loss of culture and dignity?
Regarding your Nov. 6 article "Activists win a round in TV's culture war": It is interesting to see that CBS did indeed pull a miniseries that is politically incorrect. But it also demonstrates that a free society can voice and influence a company's programming. It is the ability to speak out that demonstrates a free society. This shows that our country still works. As a consumer, it's nice to know that my voice does count and might affect the programming I watch.
Marti Attoun's Nov. 5 Home Forum essay "And miles to go.... He hopes" about the strange reverse snobbery of a person who drives a vehicle with over 200,000 miles on it came on a day when Blue and I passed 225,000. Blue is a 1989 Voyager with four cylinders and a stick shift. Consumer Reports would never test it or recommend it. Blue would win no beauty contests. But he still loves the highway at 75 m.p.h. and pulls 25 m.p.g. while he does it. He has hauled a family around the West and the East.
I see no reason to get a new car, though the scarcity of used transmissions may eventually condemn my friend. I've never explored why I've become attached to a rather stumpy plain minivan. The analysis might be an ego-buster. Or maybe it would show I'm more interested in results than fashion. So I shall keep Blue.
Ms. Attoun is right in seeing us who love old cars as maybe a tad bent, but I appreciate the smile she put on it.
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