I'm a fan of Andisheh's column in Creative Loafing each week and find it a great perspective on America's role in the world. I wanted to offer a different perspective on Pakistan from Don't Panic, Dec. 16. I've gotten a chance to get to know some of the Pakistani military through their presence at MacDill AFB and their participation in the coalition forces with the U.S. in Afghanistan. I've also gotten a chance to know Pakistani Ambassador At Large Jamsheed Marker, a very wise and honorable diplomat who has served Pakistani governments back to the early 1960s and is a personal friend of President Musharraf.
It is no secret that the United States had difficult relations with Pakistan leading up to 9/11. This was true of relations to Afghanistan as well. The U.S. had by and large neglected this part of the world following the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan in the 1980s. The Pakistani relations with the U.S. were constantly in flux over its relations with India, so our commitment wasn't something that anyone in power over there could take to the bank.
The perspective that I think is missing is the role Musharraf is playing to hold Pakistan together for the future. Polls indicate that a sizeable majority of the country believes that Osama bin Laden is a hero and wants to have Pakistan run as an Islamic state. Moreover, given the ever-presence of military-led coups and the lack of a stable transfer of power, the failure to turn over the military leadership should be seen in this context. Probably the easiest way to look at Musharraf and his leadership of Pakistan is to imagine the world without his courage to hold the country together during this difficult time. This is a guy who gets death attempts on a routine basis and stands firm on his commitment to separate Pakistan from the radical fundamentalists who have had a free ride for much of the past 30 years. It is these folks that are trying to assassinate him.
I don't think your conclusions about democracy being delayed are wrong, I just think that there is much more to Musharraf than the West is giving him credit. I find myself an admirer of his leadership and cannot believe how well he's been able to govern given the tremendous resistance to his willingness to partner with the U.S. I also believe that the Pakistani military has a much higher level of cooperation with the U.S. than is in the public eye and their hunt for bin Laden is as difficult a task as the hunt for Saddam Hussein.
-- Ben Eason,
president, Creative Loafing
I am a teacher at Marietta High School and I had no idea that our youth apprenticeship program was stealthily recruiting Republican foot soldiers (Fishwrapper, "Teacher's pet (not!)," Dec. 16). The only way that something like this could be legitimate is if both the Democrats and Republicans requested interns, and students could choose which party they wanted to work for. I shouldn't be surprised that this is going on, as the school is in a mostly conservative area. But still, I am surprised, and also outraged. I expected better of my school.
Thanks for bringing this issue to light. I hope that the exposure sparks change at MHS.
-- Name withheld
Editor's note: CL rarely prints anonymous letters. In this case,
the writer feared repercussions from her employer. We verified that she wrote
the letter and that she is employed as a teacher at Marietta High School.
It's incredible to me how a member of the King family could have lit a torch from near her father's tomb to light the way for a march against gay marriage (Scene & Herd, "Discriminatee to discriminator," Dec. 16). What an intolerant gesture that was. How hypocritical!
-- R. Otis, Smyrna
Behind the scenes
I just read Scene & Herd ("Discriminatee to discriminator," Dec. 16) online and I have to say that you beat all of the local news channels' coverage of what was REALLY going on at that march. I was one of the many protesters and am still very sad by the number of people who look like my religious yet loving and accepting black family. You have a razor-sharp analysis and I appreciate you sharing it with the readers of Creative Loafing.
-- Efia Miles, Stone Mountain
The future looks so bright for Cobb County ("Monkey business," Dec. 9). Instead of producing the next generation of entomologists, anthropologists and botanists, the county will produce the next generation of low-paying retail employees and housekeepers. As a Christian minister, I am appalled.
-- N. Lynn Jones, Marietta
On their own time
Why do atheistic liberals even want to convince the Christian right of Darwinism in the first place ("Monkey business," Dec. 9)? Let's pretend that God is a lie and Darwinism is the truth. Can you not see how damaging it is to society to teach children that human beings are nothing more than smart monkeys created by a series of random accidents? If I am nothing more than an animal, then what makes my consciousness any more valuable than that of the pigs and the cows that I eat?
The most important questions that people can ask themselves are: "Who put me here?" and "What is my purpose?" Christianity says that a loving God put us here and our purpose is to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Darwinism says that a series of random accidents put us here and there really is no purpose.
Why do liberals think that we should teach kids Darwinism at all? We don't have time in school to teach kids enough about chemistry, biology, physics, genetics and any number of other vital sciences. Liberals want Darwinism in our schools because it is their religion and they want to force their religion on others. It is a religion that devalues human life to justify taking the lives of unwanted babies. It is a religion that says there is no purpose to life and, therefore, leads one to adopt a life of hedonism.
Neither intelligent design nor Darwinism should be taught in high school. If Christian parents can teach their kids about God on their own time, then liberal parents can do the same with Darwinism.
-- John Clement, Alpharetta
Keep up the coverage
Creative Loafing continues to do a great job covering the highly important public debate about the Botanical Garden's 800-car, six-story parking deck proposed for Piedmont Park (News & Views, "Was it legal for Conservancy to hide vote on parking deck?" Dec. 9). Michael Wall did an excellent job in his recent article about the legality of the secret, closed-door meeting held by the Piedmont Park Conservancy to endorse the deck. I know that many people are aware of the parking deck controversy solely because of your stories.
-- Doug Abramson,
president, Friends of Piedmont Park
'Go, man, go!'
The title drew me in -- I'm pretty squarely in the camp of the religious right and was a bit intrigued to see "I am a Christian, too" in CL (Fishwrapper, Nov. 18). I pray Colossians 4:3-4 for you -- that just by stating that you are a Christian that God will open doors for you -- giving you a chance to talk to friends and co-workers about Jesus. I don't agree with everything you wrote -- but the most important thing is faith in Jesus and to that I say, "Go, man, go!"
-- Peter Skilton, Charlotte
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