THE MAIL

‘Why send Canadians to clean up Iraq? The Americans should bear the full cost of what their government has done without U.N. sanction.’

GREG J. EDWARDS May 5 2003

THE MAIL

‘Why send Canadians to clean up Iraq? The Americans should bear the full cost of what their government has done without U.N. sanction.’

GREG J. EDWARDS May 5 2003

THE MAIL

‘Why send Canadians to clean up Iraq? The Americans should bear the full cost of what their government has done without U.N. sanction.’

GREG J. EDWARDS

Letters to the Editor: letters@macleans.ca

Voices from the front

I’ve been watching TV coverage for hours over the last few weeks, but Alexandre Trudeau’s cover story “War and roses” (April 21) told the Baghdad reality with much more sensitivity than the TV clips of round-the-clock bombing and looting. I look forward to the film he is making. His father would be proud of him.

Betty Brightwell, Victoria

“Chaos in war’s wake” by Arthur Kent (Cover, April 21) made interesting reading, especially for those of us who felt there never was any legitimate reason to attack Iraq. After using the UN inspectors to help reduce Iraq’s defensive capabilities, the coalition forces had no difficulty invading what was essentially a helpless opponent. The question now is, where are all the muchvaunted weapons of mass destruction that were supposed to legitimize this whole unfortunate affair? And I wonder what President George W. Bush felt the first time he looked at the picture of 12-year-old Ali Ishmael Abbas who lost both arms, plus most of his family, as the result of an errant American missile. The next time there is a terrorist attack on the United States, there will be no need for Americans to ask, “Why do they hate us so much?”

Ian Colterjohn, Abbotsford, B.C.,

The introduction to an editorial in a recent issue of Investor’s Business Daily fits Arthur Kent perfectiy: “No matter how often they’re wrong, America’s critics never own up to it. They just change the subject, giving them a new way to cast things in the worst light. And so it is now.” Although I’m still a Canadian after 40 years in the U.S., I’m increasingly less inclined to brag about it.

Robert Fowler, Monterey Park, Calif.

The invasion of Iraq has been a military success, but somehow it’s hard to rejoice. A couple of disturbing matters cause concern. 1. The invasion was justified because Saddam Hussein, allegedly in possession of weapons of mass destruction, had not disarmed. Thus

far, none of these weapons have been used or found. 2. In Baghdad almost all Iraqi government ministries and offices have been destroyed. But the oil ministry remains unscathed, having been protected by U.S. troops since they arrived in Baghdad.

Gerald W. Hankins, Canmore, Alta.

There are the countless Iraqi civilian victims, “collateral damage,” as well as coalition victims. There is no sign of “weapons of mass destruction,” chemical or otherwise. And who really knows if Saddam Hussein is dead or alive? There was no impending threat to the U.S., and the coalition forces were able to protect Iraq’s oil but not its people or their heritage, which in so

OBSERVING THE PASSIONATE REACTION FROM OUR READERS IN PREVIOUS ISSUES TO OUR COVERAGE of the war

in Iraq, Andrew Taylor of Wasaga Beach, Ont., wonders if people care for “honest reporting” any more. “I applaud you on your stance in allowing your contributors their intellectual freedom in presenting their views as they see them,” adds Taylor, “and chuckle at the vilification you consequently receive from both extremes of the argument.”

many ways is our heritage. So I have one question: why did they invade Iraq?

Rhu Sherrard, Ancaster, Ont.

In the Dark Ages, noble knights went on crusades to conquer the heathens. Bringing the message of true religion to the infidels was the righteous motive. Rid the world of evil, convert all to truth as the knights and kings saw it. Sound familiar? Kuwait, Iraq, Syria? I just returned from a holiday in the States, and felt like I was in a bad dream— the escalator was moving but going nowhere. The American media were using phrases like “coalition forces” and “victorious American troops” “liberating” the “forces of darkness” and “fighting for freedom.” I am happy to be home. I am grateful to hear international news every hour on the radio. I am grateful for our courage to stand apart from our neighbours, even though there are consequences.

Lisa Hertz, St. Albert, Alta.

Going with the herd

I agree with Peter Mansbridge about the loss of the journalists in Iraq (“People just like you,” Mansbridge on the Record, April 21). Some of them were regulars in my reading or listening and I shall miss them. He states: “The best journalists believe that it is better for you to know what is happening than for no one to know. The best journalists believe it is better for you, at times, to see horrible sights than to pretend they don’t exist. The best journalists believe that the least powerful people on the face of the earth—the poor, the hungry, the dispossessed—can have an impact if other people, people like you, have a chance to meet them.” But it would seem to me that the best journalists also need to go with something more than the flavour of the day in news. Why was it necessary to have something over 300 journalists covering the Iraqi war when almost no one is covering the longstanding war in Sudan or the situation in Zimbabwe, where another murderer in power has killed or otherwise silenced many members of the opposition as well as journalists? And what about Sierra Leone, the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda? Are Iraqis more important than citizens of these countries whose suffering is not headlined or commented on in the daily briefings in the White House?

Arthur E. Gans, Winfield, B.C.

‘Worthy of worry’

Allan Gregg’s essay “SARS and the fear factor” (April 21) is less about being reasonable and more about that great capacity for minimizing those things we really should be afraid ofuntil it’s too late. It happened in 1918 with the great influenza pandemic and it happened again in the 1980s with AIDS. The facts of SARS are worthy of worry—a lot of worry. This bug is demonstrating a kill ratio many times greater than the 20th century’s greatest killer, the 1918 flu. Afraid yet? Philip S. Moore, Camas, Wash.

Allan Gregg’s cavalier attitude does not inspire confidence. Granted, the number of SARS deaths is lower than cancer and car accidents, but SARS is communicable and the deaths are escalating, and neither its method of transmission nor a treatment have yet been discovered. Furthermore, it’s not necessarily irrational for the public’s fears to be out of proportion to statistical risk. The important issue isn’t fear, but faith—rather, the public’s lack of faith in the leaders of our health-care system. We’ve learned not to trust the so-called experts from such disasters as the Red Cross tainted blood scandal. We know another major flu epidemic is long overdue, so it’s scandalous that Ontario was unprepared to deal with this.

Gerold Becker, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Fence mending

So, U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci’s disappointments are fading into memory (“ ‘More hurt than angry’ ” Cover, April 21)? Hang on a sec. There’s a list of disappointments with the U.S. government that we might as well put on the table. Disappointment that the U.S. still hasn’t signed the International Land Mines Treaty, Kyoto Accord, International Courts Treaty, International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Disappointment that the U.S. is pressuring Canada regarding the legalization of marijuana. Disappointment that the U.S. is still babbling about spending billions on Star Wars instead of having the courage and creativity to live on a peacetime economy. I wish Ambassador Cellucci all the best in his next posting, however remote.

Jessica Van der Veen, Victoria

A message of hope for Canada/U.S. relations: on April 15, my friend and I attended a talk outside Seattle given by filmmak-

er Michael Moore. A major theme was that the right-leaning media and the gun-toting war hawks who seem so overbearing down south do not represent the majority of Americans. When I stepped up to a mike and identified myself as a Canadian, there was thunderous applause. I asked Mr. Moore where he thinks Canada-U.S. relations stand in light of recent events, and he pointed to the crowd, saying, “This is the majority voice

of Americans right here!” He then led them in a boisterous rendition of our national anthem, the final notes of which were drowned out by the cheers of a packed gymnasium of well over a thousand. I was dazed.

Adrian McMorran, Vancouver

Authentic faith

Brian Bethune’s article (“Resurrecting James,” Religion, April 21) on the controversy sur-

rounding the James ossuary was both objective and informative. However, the socalled loss of archaeological context is not a rare occurrence within the discipline. The initial caches of the greatest “find” of the last century, the Dead Sea Scrolls, were found by Bedouin shepherds in caves that were previously unknown. But no scholar today would discount the scrolls’ significance or worth simply because many lack a known

and controlled provenance. Second, Bethune implies that, to consider the ossuary authentic and having contained the bones of James, the brother ofjesus of Nazareth, involves faith alone. He states that in “traditional Christian and Jewish theology . . . faith precedes understanding.” Where does he get his information? The apostle Paul states that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Romans

10:17), i.e., faith comes with understanding the propositional truth of the Old and New Testaments. Biblical faith is reasonable and logical, as well as spiritual.

John Howarth, Newmarket, Ont.

A sweet boycott

I enjoyed “A three-penny opera” (History, April 21), about the “cross-Canada 10-day candy bar boycott” in 1947. It brought back a flood of memories of a 12-year-old paper boy delivering the London Evening Free Press, for whom five cents was a lot of money. One niggling comment: Canada had chocolate bars; the U.S. had candy bars.

J. Graham Esler, London, Ont.

But does he wear plaid?

Greg Tyrey of Oklahoma City mentioned that he wished he had the financial means to emigrate to Canada (“Skepticism and humanity,” The Mail, April 21). Perhaps he’d like to participate in a job-exchange program with the CBC. If he has any skill whatsoever in commentating on hockey, he could easily switch places with Don Cherry who, only a couple of weeks ago on Coach’s Corner, said if his friends in the States had a job for him, he’d be there. How about it Greg? Can you say “and stuff like that there”?

Bill MacLean, Toronto

Good for what ails you

The interview with Colin Mochrie, “People really want to laugh” (Q&A, April 21), drove home the point that when it comes to serious issues, laughing matters. A friend and colleague, Charles Heberle, a former U.S. marines colonel, is working in Russia, helping build its civil infrastructure through a program called Democracy Works. Laughter and humour are key components in their program, including, you guessed it, This Hour Has 22 Minutes. It seems that if leaders can laugh with the people, not just at the people, it makes for a better place to live.

Peter Lévesque, Ottawa

Our leader chose not to take part in the war and we should not take part in making a “Mochrie” of the sad situation in the Middle East. Let us at least have some dignity and continue to offer prayers for all of those who have suffered physically, mentally and given their lives, in some cases so innocently—for what cause?

Bernice Haley, Orillia, Ont.