Most people have not benefited from a resilient economy

A lead article from Nov. 1, "In this economy, The 'R' word means resilient," paints a very one-sided picture of the Bush economy. It celebrates "the 10th straight quarter of 3 percent or greater growth in annual GDP," and notes recent growth in average worker income. But although it mentions that poverty has persisted, even amid economic growth, nowhere does the article mention the relentless advance of income inequality.

The fact is, median household income in "real" inflation-adjusted terms has fallen in each of the past five years, meaning that most Americans are not benefiting from all of this prosperity, and in fact are losing ground.

Considering other hallmarks of the Bush economy - rising energy prices, vanishing pension benefits, growing job insecurity, longer workdays, mean-spirited bankruptcy "reform," and spiraling healthcare costs - for most Americans, the "R" word means "regressive."
James D. Shaw
Grand Blanc, Mich.

Stop the blame game over Iraq war

Regarding the Nov. 1 Opinion piece, "Why this unpopular war has no tipping point": I really do not know what the fuss is about. I believe Iraq sought to give out misinformation about its power and strength after Desert Storm in order to keep its neighbors from overrunning the country after it was weakened. That misinformation included propaganda about the country's potential for weapons of mass destruction.

The American people, including this administration, bought into that propaganda, as did most other Western nations. The CIA had little intelligence in the first Gulf War and had not much before the second one. So we, the United States, went with what we had in order to topple Saddam Hussein.

The Bush administration may be guilty of having swallowed the propaganda, but surely it is not guilty of lying about it or hiding it. So why do we keep hashing out this issue and trying to blame someone?

Now we are in Iraq, and it would be inhumane to desert those Iraqis who want change. So let's give up on the efforts to point fingers and get on with the mission.

If we find ourselves unable or unwilling to use our strength to act as a moral nation and stop injustices and genocides, then let us just say so and withdraw from our peacekeeping roles and keep to ourselves.

Otherwise, let us just keep quiet and get on with it.
Charles F. Eble

Romantic portrayal of Ché is misleading

Regarding the Nov. 4 article, "Bush and Ché: different concepts of freedom": Ché Guevara, owner of the face that launched a thousand T-shirts, may be an icon for half-baked, youthful disaffection in parts of South America. Cuban middle classes, however, remember him as Castro's head executioner whose firing squads murdered thousands of civilians during the battles that brought Castro to power.

Following Batista's overthrow, Ché left Havana to spread the "blessings" of revolution to poor countries. He chose the Congo and Bolivia. In both places he blundered about ineffectually and was eventually captured in Bolivia.

The Ché myth is so firmly established that few, if any, of his adulators know him for what he was. Simón Bolívar he was not. Yet the article paints him as a revered liberator. I am dismayed that the article presented such a one-sided, uninformed appraisal.
Colin Kendall
Holmes Beach, Fla.

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