Hold accountable those responsible for racism
Regarding Richard Ford's March 6 Opinion piece, "Stop playing the race card": I believe Professor Ford is correct when he states that "The challenge for the civil rights movement in the 21st century will be to foster a constructive discussion of the real but often mundane racial inequities that confront many people every day – without being distracted by dramatic but trivial scandals."
I disagree, however, with his next statement – "Let's forget about Don Imus's offensive remark about the Rutgers' women's basketball team..." As the father of an extremely intelligent and beautiful 25-year-old black woman, I found Mr. Ford's willingness to excuse Mr. Imus's remark offensive and lacking an understanding of the manner in which black women have been portrayed and used by society at large (including by many in the black community). Imus's remarks were an ethnic slur and required a thoughtful but forceful response.
Holding Imus accountable for what he said is not playing the race card. We also need to hold accountable those segments of the black community (e.g., hip-hop artists) that engage in insulting remarks about black Americans, especially black women.
Elton E. Smith
Torture's illegality should be clear
Regarding the March 7 article, "Why Congress, Bush can't agree on limits to harsh interrogations": The title for this article is deeply misleading. Scant evidence is presented that the issues discussed at length in the article (reliability of evidence gathered under torture, desire to avoid courts looking into said reliability) explain why Congress and the administration disagree.
Even one line in the article that comes close is way off: "Supporters say the law is an effort by Congress to bring moral and legal clarity to a murky corner of America's war on terror."
There is no need to bring clarity to any "murky corner" of American law. No one was confused about torture law until the Bush administration's outrageous and unprecedented efforts to "murkify" what has always been and remains crystal clear: these "enhanced techniques" are torture, – inhumane, degrading to victim and perpetrator alike, and clearly illegal.
The reason they disagree? Because the Bush administration has recklessly asserted unprecedented authority to do what it pleases regardless of the law and America's core values.
The "opposition party" has finally gotten the guts to push back against these violations of both the letter and spirit of longstanding and – until the Bush administration's shamelessly sophistical arguments were concocted – uncontested laws.
Shorten the voting season
Regarding your March 6 editorial, "Gloves off for Clinton and Obama?": You can't possibly mean that shortening the voting season would "make the process less democratic?" If you do, then I'm all in favor of less democracy. The length of these campaigns and the money spent is horrendous to say nothing of the toll it must take on the candidates.
Mary B. Larsen
Air Force's contract is fair
Regarding the March 7 article, "Huge defense contract for foreign firm riles Hill": Maybe the partnership of Northrop Grumman and EADS makes a better tanker. Give the new contract to the company that has a cheaper bid and will also probably make a better plane.
Carl Alan Large
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