The Los Angeles Times today prints eighteen letters regarding Bush or the war in Iraq. Fourteen of those letters are critical of Bush and/or the war, or make anti-war arguments. The other four letters all criticize American torture of Iraqi prisoners; only one of those provides a non-leftist perspective on those atrocities.
Of the eighteen letters, the total number explicitly supporting Bush and/or the war is zero.
Here are some excerpts from the letters regarding Bush and the war:
In a set of letters titled President Plays by Intuition, Stuart J. Faber of Los Angeles kicks things off with this snide comment:
Forgive my reference to Bush, Cheney and Rummy as the Three Stooges. I loved and respected the Three Stooges.
Next, Henry Harris of Pasadena says:
Bush is dragging our country down into the depths of his intolerance and mind-boggling incompetence.
Alan Remington of Costa Mesa weighs in with this letter:
Bush has claimed that he sought advice “from a higher Father” when asked if he consulted his own father concerning Iraq. He added that if he was wrong he would “seek forgiveness.” I’d like to know just how many American kids need to die in his war before that mule-headedness is replaced by penance.
Ina Mozer of La Mesa says:
Bush, who calls himself “the education president,” has made clear his aversion to extended inquiry, reading, information, introspection and the opinions of others.
Next comes Paul A. Myers of Pomona, who asks:
Where was the staff work? Just what do Condoleezza Rice and the national security staff do?
Jan Mellman of Los Angeles says:
Bush is out campaigning at the same time that men and women are dying and being maimed on a daily basis.
Six letters, all anti-Bush.
A second set of letters, titled Military’s Civilian Problem, starts off with a letter from Dale Jennings of Boulevard, Calif., who darkly asserts:
The Pentagon could not contain the fallout from the trial of a civilian contractor in a federal court for abusing Iraqi prisoners; we might learn that the civilian contractors were doing exactly what the Pentagon expected of them.
Richard D. Curtis of Lake Forest asks:
Should we follow the money? Are some companies and corporations making some big bucks from this drummed-up and unnecessary war? This whole situation sickens and disgusts me.
A letter from Marvin J. Wolf of Los Angeles starts off with this paragraph:
First our commander in chief demonizes Iraqi insurgents as thugs, mass murderers, subhuman beasts, supporters of one of the world’s cruelest and most dangerous dictators. From the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the lowest private, everyone embraces this theme. Then our commander hires civilians to interrogate insurgence suspects.
Theresa Mohaddes of Rancho Palos Verdes rounds out this section of letters with a letter which reads in its entirety:
The ugly American just got uglier.
Four letters, three of which are critical of the Bush Administration, and one of which is simply critical of American actions.
The final section of letters on Bush and the war, titled Responsibility in Wartime, opens with this letter from M.M. Schultz of San Clemente, who says:
Americans should stop waving the flag long enough to feel outraged by the criminal and depraved acts committed against Iraqi prisoners under the color of U.S. military authority. If these atrocities had been conducted against Americans, bombs would be dropping.
Neil Proffitt of Redondo Beach offers the only contrary perspective on the entire page, with a letter that observes:
There is no excuse for either side to inflict any form of abuse on its enemy. However, something tells me the Iraqi abusers are hailed as heroes, while ours await court-martial.
Tom Graner of Hermosa Beach gets in some criticism of the war in general with these comments:
Don’t those soldiers understand what damage they have done to our country, as well as those poor men? Sheesh, as if it wasn’t messed up enough already…
Charles H. Bayer of Claremont blames war in general:
What needs to be held ultimately responsible is the idea that war will win the hearts and minds of others. Until the human family finds a better way to resolve serious issues, the torture of enemies should come as no surprise.
Catherine Minhoto of North Hollywood feels the same:
The reports and images from the Abu Ghraib detention facility serve to confirm my belief that war brutalizes and dehumanizes both victor and vanquished.
Craig M. Uhl MD makes a familiar argument raised by those who oppose the war — the United States should reinstate the draft:
We must return to a draft to allow all Americans, male and female, to serve honorably — to prevent these atrocious acts against humanity from ever occurring again.
Joseph C. Cavella of Malibu has more anti-war sentiments:
War is, and has always been, the most profoundly inhumane of all of man’s follies.
Blanche Speer Wentworth of Encino closes out the section of letters with these observations:
In September 1942 I was with the first group of young women who enlisted as WAVES in the U.S. Navy. I served until I was honorably discharged in February 1946. For all the ensuing years I have been happy to be included among U.S. veterans. Until now.
Eight letters: three making an explicitly anti-war point, two others repeating standard anti-war arguments (reinstate the draft; the war was already “messed up” before the torture revelations); two criticizing the atrocities at the Abu Ghraib prison without explicitly criticizing the Bush Administration or the war in general; and only one giving a perspective that Iraqi atrocities are judged by a different standard in the Arab world.
There is not one single letter voicing explicit support for Bush or the war anywhere in the paper.
UPDATE: The pattern continues on Sunday. Read about it here.