South Asians Celebrate Halloween

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 345 | November 4 – November11, 2004


Letters to the editor


October 28, 2004

To the Editor:

I read David Corn’s article, (“It’s the War, Stupid,” October 28-November 3) with skepticism. As one who was organizing against the Iraq war well before the “anybody but Bush” crowd gained prominence, my question to them is this: in the event of a Kerry victory, will you denounce and organize against Kerry’s war on Iraq as fervently as you have Bush’s war?

Kerry may try to deceive us with rhetoric, but his plan for control of the country through a puppet Iraqi regime differs little from Bush’s. Like Presidents Johnson and Nixon a generation ago, he hopes to subcontract control of a far-flung region to local actors, having them promote U.S. financial and geopolitical interests at the expense of their own population. Such a regime will have no choice but to be profoundly undemocratic. Any truly democratic regime would have to reflect the 98 percent sentiment in the country that wants the United States out now, and reject any association with pro-U.S. policies. A regime with such little popular support can’t help but see its own troops and police repeatedly melt away when faced with serious opposition, requiring a heavy U.S. troop presence for years to come.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why the U.S. and anyone seen as fronting for its interests is wildly unpopular. Besides the 30-60,000 Iraqi troops killed while defending their country, the thousands of civilians killed, and the contempt for Iraqi lives amply demonstrated at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, more than a decade of U.S.-instigated sanctions killed 500,000 children who died of preventable diseases as the U.S. blocked spare parts and chemicals for Iraq’s water purification plants. There is probably not a single family in the country that did not lose an immediate relative or close friend thanks to the U.S. government.

Having already invested billions of dollars in what they hoped would be an at least break-even enterprise, both parties are loath to leave Iraq to its own residents’ “irresponsible” self-determination. The strategic value of Iraq to the U.S. outweighs even its lucrative rebuilding and security contracts, not to mention the dreams of exploiting the world’s second largest oil reserve. In a world increasingly carved into trade blocs — North American, European and East Asian — the conquest of Iraq and domination of the region by the U.S. represents an economic dagger hung over the necks of its European and East Asian rivals.

Kerry’s vote in favor of the war authorization and his commitment to occupying Iraq despite overwhelming sentiment in that country represents fundamental agreement with this anti-democratic strategy.

On November 3, it might be John Kerry’s war. Is David Corn prepared to march and protest against that, too? Or will adherence to the Democratic Party stunt his and others’ protests against the continuation of Bush’s policies with kinder rhetoric?

Andy Thayer


Chicago Anti-Bashing Network

October 29, 2004

To the Editor:

Your front-page picture (October 28-November 3, “It’s the War, Stupid”) tells me that men and women, mangled, come back to an America that it is no better than it was before 9/11. At least not yet, but will it ever be? Therefore we’re losing on all fronts so far. Gays are losing because neither presidential candidate can get any of these issues aforementioned clearly laid out. We gays and our issues are all about sound bites and the biggest set back to date was Cheney’s lesbian daughter issue. Blown out of proportion, clearly for political gain, on both sides. It’s a sad, sad world.

Juan Santana

Via the Internet


October 27, 2004

To the Editor:

John Kerry’s reference to Vice President Cheney’s lesbian daughter during the final presidential debate certainly started a media firestorm, fueled by the blatant anti-gay posturing of right-wing pundits and the quieter, but nevertheless endemic homophobia of the mainstream media. The “defense” offered by Kerry supporters, was at best timid, and often apologetic.

But nowhere did I read or hear anyone remind Americans of the interview which Mrs. Lynne Cheney gave to Cokie Roberts on ABC News in August 2000. In that interview, conducted during the Republican Convention in Philadelphia, Roberts asked Mrs. Cheney about her lesbian daughter, who was already the Coors Brewing Company’s “liaison to the gay community.” Mrs. Cheney’s response? She denied, to all America, that her daughter Mary was gay.

Why was this fact not put forth by Kerry supporters or by any segment of the media, straight or gay?

Kenneth Weinberg



October 29, 2004

To the Editor:

I was disappointed and dismayed to read the quotations of City Councilmember Phil Reed in the October 21-27, 2004 article, “AIDS Housing Solutions Prove Elusive,” by Les McClain. For decades, the City of New York has been fully aware of a deplorable shortage of affordable housing for the poor in general, and, in the past decade or more, for people living with HIV and AIDS in particular. Yet, year after year, the city has repeatedly failed to invest in dignified permanent housing for the poor. What is worse, the city has diverted tens of millions of dollars in federal HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS) funding into case management services, failing to replace any of those dollars to purchase the bricks and mortar for which they were intended. Les McClain’s article poignantly demonstrates the effects of the city’s abject failure to provide permanent housing to homeless New Yorkers living with AIDS. But Councilmember Reed should be well aware of the city’s dreadful record in this regard: in 1999, the New York Supreme Court was compelled to order the city to comply with the City Council law mandating emergency housing for homeless New Yorkers living with AIDS in the face of widespread violations of the law (Hanna v. Turner); in 2001, that same court held the city in contempt for its chronic violations of the law and the 1999 court order; and in 2002, another New York Supreme Court ruling found that the emergency housing that the City provided to the homeless plaintiffs living with AIDS “is not suitable for healthy individuals, much less for ‘persons with severely compromised immune systems’” (Winds v. Turner). Indeed, the court found that “housing that is not habitable because of vermin, filth, lack of furnishings and inaccessibility, certainly cannot be considered ‘suitable.’” In the face of these incontrovertible facts, and with 3, 000 homeless PWLAs [Persons Living With AIDS] a month languishing in inappropriate emergency housing for want of permanent housing, Councilmember Reed’s statement that the city is doing “a fairly good job” of housing PWLAs is rather shocking, and certainly disappointing.

Finally, given the chronic, debilitating, and life-threatening maladies that PWLAs face; given that the stress of homelessness is a potential killer for the severely immuno-compromised; and given that a stable home is essential to managing HIV illness and to following a life-sustaining regime of HIV medication, Councilmember Reed’s statement that homeless PWLAs are “in the same boat that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are” is just plain wrong. Councilmember Reed should know better.

Armen H. Merjian

Senior Staff Attorney

Housing Works


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