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Letters to the editor 

Hoping for positive results

I'd like to commend Scott Henry on a fine article about Atlanta's downtown revival ("A city reborn," Sept. 1). As a child in the '70s, a teen in the '80s, and a twentysomething in the '90s, I remember the mystification, perplexity and annoyance I felt as I tried at various times to understand why my city didn't feel like a city. I'm very pleased to envision a better Atlanta for my children.

One important point Mr. Henry left out of his historical description: Whites did not flee to Atlanta's suburbs for yard space. We did it primarily to avoid having to send our children to school with black children as integration became inevitable in the '60s. To some extent, we still are not addressing the problem of our racial fragmentation today, and so it should be no surprise that our city has not seen a revival while others have. I think it's important to note that our city's economic life suffered powerfully as a consequence of ignorance, intolerance and racism. The same reality holds today. On the other hand, if we look these issues in the face and address them, we will see very tangible positive results.

-- Adam Cole, Atlanta

Tell the truth

Cliff Bostock: I wanted you to know how much I enjoy reading your articles every week. I especially like the ones regarding Bush and the government. People should wake up and realize the truth about that jerk.

I will continue to look forward to your articles on Thursdays. Keep up the good work.

-- Bridgette Gaddy, Griffin

Deserves more

Arnold Schwarzenegger has nothing to do with Germany other than speaking the language (Flicks, "Tall tales," Aug. 25). I seldom run around referring to people in this country as "Ay, you Canadian!" Besides, the brothers Grimm collected their stories and wrote very little original material themselves.

One star for the movie? Not enough.

-- Michael Corda, Alpharetta

Successful pothead

Why did you feel the need to put a pothead among these insignificant people ("Atlanta's 11 least influential people," Aug. 18)? Is there something wrong with this kid? He excels at math and science and was student president twice. He works two part-time jobs and does a great deal of volunteer work for a cause he believes in. His strategy to move on medical marijuana first seems absolutely reasonable. His belief that medical marijuana has a better chance under a new president also seems correct. Did he even know you were putting him in an article on losers?

I can find you 19-year-olds on [college] campuses that are doing less with their lives -- much less. What makes him so uninfluential?

If you, Steve Fennessy, have a problem with pot smokers, that's for you to deal with. To lay your stereotype into an article on losers is unfair. In a country that drinks itself numb and stupid repeatedly, a pothead activist looks OK to me.

I myself was a 19-year-old pothead (1970) and I now have a Ph.D., I am a published author, college instructor, and active in many good causes.

I bet Adam goes on to do great things.

Promise me, Steve, that you will do an article on him when he does.

-- Dr. Robert Soloway, Decatur

Turn a blind eye?

According to Cliff Bostock's article "Good morning, Vietnam" (Headcase, Aug. 11), 1,800-plus American soldiers have "died in a war against a country that posed utterly no threat to our own security." While it may have been difficult for the former oppressive, tyrannical Iraqi regime to actually cross the ocean with an army to hurt our way of life, Iraq has been a known breeding ground for terrorism for several years. Even the 9/11 Commission's report detailed how Saddam Hussein's top aides had been in contact with high-ranking al-Qaeda officials, "surprisingly" even right around the time when the 9/11 attacks were being planned and carried out.

Mr. Bostock also bemoans the "estimated tens of thousands of civilian Iraqis who have died." While this loss of life truly is sad, have we so quickly forgotten about Saddam's penchant for genocide? Published almost a year before the 9/11 attacks (Sept. 18, 2000), "The Case for Justice in Iraq" by David J. Scheffer, former ambassador-at-large for war crimes, details Saddam's actions during the Iran-Iraq War, as well as many other offenses. Said Scheffer's report: "According to official Iranian sources, which we consider credible, approximately 5,000 Iranians were killed by chemical weapons between 1983 and 1988." And can we forget the attempted uprising against Saddam in 1991? "In March and April of 1991, Saddam Hussein's forces killed somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000 Iraqis, most of them civilians."

Furthermore, according to Wikipedia Encyclopedia, in the Vietnam War, "Of the Americans, 58,226 were killed in action or classified as missing in action. A further 153,303 Americans were wounded to give total casualties of 211,529." A far cry from the current 1,800 deceased U.S. soldiers, wouldn't you say?

None of that takes into account the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. But since these acts "posed utterly no threat to our own security," should we turn a blind eye and ignore the situation in the Middle East? That belief sounds awfully self-centered, not to mention extremely un-humanitarian.

I feel it is both a slap in the face and tremendously disrespectful to the men and women fighting in Iraq, their families at home praying for them, and the innocent civilians who have lost their lives so that millions more in the future should not have to. I suggest Mr. Bostock actually research the information he intends to write about, rather than follow the anti-Iraq rhetoric that serves as nothing but a political tool to demonize those in the current administration.

-- Chris Harrelson, Atlanta

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