‘Instead of killing people, wealthier nations such as the United States and Canada should invest even a fraction of the costs of war in saving lives worldwide.’

PAT CHRISTIE March 24 2003


‘Instead of killing people, wealthier nations such as the United States and Canada should invest even a fraction of the costs of war in saving lives worldwide.’

PAT CHRISTIE March 24 2003


‘Instead of killing people, wealthier nations such as the United States and Canada should invest even a fraction of the costs of war in saving lives worldwide.’


Letters to the Editor:

War and appeasement

At first, I was surprised that Jonathon Gatehouse chose Britain as a place to express his anti-war bias (“War: what is it good for?” Cover, March 10). Then I realized it was a good move, for Britain was full of well-meaning appeasers in the ’30s. The loner was the visionary Churchill, who sized up Hitler when he became chancellor on Jan. 30, 1933. There were scores of debates and protests, as today. By 1939, Hider had already built his war machine, thanks largely to peaceniks. Have we not learned yet that, more often than not, the majority chooses the wrong path? Let’s recognize that the bulk of the people are short-sighted, and let’s get on with the job.

A. R. Pettigrew, London, Ont.

Nice reflection on the war perspective from England. I was lucky enough to attend the peace rally—my first—while in London. I’ve never been a political activist (I am now 30 years old), but the necessity to help make a point moved me to action. I appreciate that our Prime Minister is not jumping on a bandwagon, but seems to really be thinking, and listening to his country.

Erin Carey, Toronto

Jonathon Gatehouse has listened to real people and written superbly about the stupidity of American imperialism. I also commend you for publishing Arthur Kent’s “Ignoring the lessons of the past?” (Cover, March 10). Now, if you'd just treat the Israel/Palestine situation with the same sort of intelligent logic, that would be great. Betty Brightwell, Victoria

I feel sorry for Jonathon Gatehouse as he travelled England searching in vain for someone who supports Tony Blair’s policy on Iraq. I suggest that he talk to some of the Labour MPs who voted in favour of the policy. If, as Gatehouse notes, close to a third (122) voted against Blair, about 244 must have voted in favour. Surely one of them would have been willing to be quoted.

Tom Ham, Parham, Ont.

What is war good for? Why not ask those Holocaust survivors, those liberated from the concentration camps, those who saw the wave of evil in the Nazi movement but did nothing. Ask those countries liberated from German occupation, those widows of Pearl Harbor and relatives of all those who died on 9/11. Ask the black slaves in 1860s U.S.A. and the American colonists in the 1700s. War is good for freedom.

Stephanie Monyak, Washington, Pa.

Saddam has shown a complete disregard for human rights. Rather than comply with the relatively simple UN Security Council resolutions, he has prospered while the Iraqi people have suffered under sanctions.

TO FIGHT OR NOT TO FIGHT-THE DEBATE OVER A POSSIBLE WAR IN IRAQ CONTINUES IN our mailbag. “If George Bush goes ahead and attacks Iraq without UN authorization," asks Glenn Mair of Vancouver, “will the UN impose economic sanctions against the United States?” Cyndi Walkup of Tulsa, Okla., notes that some people don’t think Saddam Hussein is evil enough to warrant a war. “Doesn’t torture enough children, I suppose. Peace at all cost—what a scary thought.”

Saddam continues to brutalize the Iraqi people. Over the years, he has attacked four nearby countries, attempted to assassinate the Emir of Kuwait and former U.S. president George Bush, gassed Kurdish civilians and Iranians and flamed Kuwait’s oil fields as his armies were removed from that country. He actively supports the suicide bombing of Israeli civilians. Canada is a beautiful country, and it contains the nicest people in the world. But Jean Chrétien, rather than speaking against the brutalities of Saddam’s regime, speaks of what an abomination it would be to change that regime. And the MP Carolyn Parrish, rather than hating Saddam’s atrocities, hates the “damn Americans” for trying to end those atrocities forever. What in the hell has happened to Canada?

Matthew Schaeffer, Columbus, Ohio

I think Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish has a bad case of the winter blues. How else to explain her comment, “Damn Americans. I hate those bastards”? I hear there’s a nice sunny resort in Cuba called Guantanamo Bay. It’s a Club Med for like-minded vermin. Those American bastards would be happy to accommodate Parrish, free of charge. After all, Americans love paying our way in defending the freedoms, rights and interests we Canadians take for granted.

Julian A. Belanger, Windsor, Ont.

As a Canadian living and working in the United States for the past 11 years, I am appalled at Canada’s lack of support for the U.S. Like it or not, Canada is tied to the U.S. with an unbreakable bond. Each is the other’s best customer. One does not bite the hand that feeds him! When the dust settles, and all those responsible for 9/11 are dead or imprisoned—as they surely will be—the Americans will look around, and they will remember who supported their struggle against terrorism.

R. G. Irwin, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

When governments resort to vacuous slogans like “war on terrorism,” “weapons of mass destruction,” “let us free Iraq for democracy” and “axis of evil,” we can usually be certain that we have been had. The “weapons of mass destruction” gibberish from the Bush camp is especially ironic. The United States has more of these weapons than the rest of the planet combined and

has used them more often than any other country. Moreover, most of the weapons of mass destruction in the world held by other countries were purchased from those very same Americans.

John L. Rebman, Surrey, B.c.

In “Ignoring the lessons of the past,” Arthur Kent makes some strong points about the political handling of events in the aftermath of hostilities in the Gulf War. It should be noted that this is nothing new. Look past American official histories relating to U.S. actions in all major conflicts of the 20th century and some facts are clear. Regardless of the skill and bravery exhibited by American troops, the higher echelons of command have always been submerged in bureaucracy. They have tried to command far from the front lines, and have been hamstrung by the ineptitude of their political masters.

Jason L Craig, Halifax

Arthur Kent quotes Colin Powell’s 1991 plans for dealing with the retreating Iraqi Republican Guard: “Our strategy to go after this army is very, very simple. First we’re going to cut it off, and then we’re going to kill it.” Kent goes on to regret that 70 per cent of the Republican Guard escaped while tens of thousands of their comrades were slaughtered. He sums up this horrendous act by saying “the U.S. had fumbled the football on the goal line.” I submit that genocide is genocide no matter what the political clime. Even the Wehrmacht, following its encirclement after the siege of Stalingrad, was given the option of surrender.

Bob Prud’homme, Sandspit, B.C.

Aw, shucks

You grabbed my attention with the bold, inspiring photo of pilot senior Daphne Schiff on page 2 of your March 3 issue, and never let me go. The image of her dining with the Bedouins and drag-racing Jeeps over sand dunes is absolutely delightful (“Retired reborn,” Cover). Anthony Wilson-Smith and Donald Coxe both gave me new thoughts to mull over concerning the impending war against Iraq. In Peter C. Newman’s column Sir John Bond’s solid, steady work as chairman of HSBC was refreshing in this day of perceived corporate greed and flashy lifestyles. As for Red Robinson (“Q&A”), what a fantastic slice of musical history!

How lucky can any man be? Congratulations to all at Maclean’s. Collectively, you stirred at least this Canadian soul!

Susan Zaffino, Toronto

Here’s the door

Forcing Canadians to retire at 65 is not only poor human resources policy, it is also a violation of fundamental rights (“Retired reborn,” Cover, March 3). Making employment decisions solely on age, rather than ability and performance, should be no more acceptable than racism, sexism or homophobia. Given the demographic weight of baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1965), it seems likely that politicians cannot long ignore age discrimination. Australia, New Zealand and the United States have eliminated compulsory retirement, while Britain will shortly do so. We can only hope that Canada’s politicians, and courts, will follow this example.

Thomas R. Klassen, Assistant Professor of Labour Studies, York University, Toronto

A friend in need

L. Ian MacDonald doubts “if, as a matter of routine, Harvard gives out M.B.A. degrees to morons” (“Our only best friends,” The Back Page, March 3). George Bush was denied admittance to the University ofTexas, so off to Harvard he did go. With five U.S. degrees, I know it takes money, connections and a famous family to get into Harvard after being rejected at a state university. Nelson Mandela, a real leader and a compassionate person, spoke the truth on George: no foresight, can’t think properly, william G. Hills, Cranbrook, B.C.

It’s time to admit that we are America’s friend. “Friend” does not mean “servant.” “Best friend” does not mean “puppet.” “ProAmerican” does not mean “anti-Canadian.” “Trust” does not mean “blind agreement.” I’m proud to be a Canadian and I’m proud to have Americans as best friends.

Bob Hunsberger, Breslau, Ont.

The dope dilemma

I am 14, and every day I see at least two or three students come to my high-school classes high (“Just say ‘yes,’ ” Essay, March 3). Now imagine if the drug was legalized: almost every student would have access to it, one way or another. I hear students at lunch discuss how they dream of being able to walk into the local variety store and “ask for a 20 bag of your finest weed.” There is no way marijuana should be legalized.

Christopher Cosack, Shelburne, Ont.

Getting the job done

In Michael Snider’s article “Wired to another world” (Internet, March 3), he talks in some detail of why on-line games produce the brain chemical dopamine, but fails to touch upon another important reason why these games are so addictive. I believe that one of the big draws to games like EverQuest is the sense of accomplishment when you have completed a goal or finished a level. When you log off after six or more hours, you have the sense that you’ve accomplished something—or know you haven’t. Workplace dissatisfaction and failure make it easy for people to get immersed in on-line games. Matthius Lettington, Nanaimo, B.C.

Home, sweet home

I opened my Macleans and there it was—that’s my town (“Land, lots of land,” Over to You, March 10). Kamsack, Sask., is “a pretty little town,” and I think of it often. And as much as the author, Myrna Dey, says she can imagine English Bay with seagulls circling, I can tell you that even though I now live very close to that bay and those seagulls, when everything gets hectic, I miss my farm home, I wish I were there. I think of the rolling hills around Kamsack, of the wideopen Prairie skies, of how I could see Kamsack on the horizon 7lk miles away through our living room window. I am so sorry that Kamsack, like many other Prairie towns, is shrinking. I hope it will not disappear. Colleen W. Rauckman-McKenzie, Burnaby, B.C.