In your very "White Issue" [December 13], The Skinny basically lampoons a peace rally that was held in Tucson on International Human Rights Day (December 10) and an advertisement published in the Star urging peace. You made fun of one student participant who, you wrote, "hadn't really paid much attention to the news."
Have any of you folks, on the other hand, been paying attention to history?
You make the following assertion:
"Sorry, but we think that the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan was underway long before U.S. bombs started falling. Pulling the U.S. troops out now would only allow the despicable agents of the Taliban and al-Qaeda to regroup for a counter-offensive."
Later in the article, you write:
"The Taliban was the most repressive government on the face of the earth--kids couldn't even fly kites--and putting them out of business was a big step in the right direction for human rights."
Who do you think put, and kept, these folks in business in the first place? Knock, knock ... is anybody in there? The Muhajadeen, the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega--these guys were all our boys once. Reagan and Bush the First called the Taliban "freedom fighters." All in the name of fighting "the Red scare."
Take off your rosy glasses regarding the "good guy" Americans fighting for democracy and peace and freedom and put on the informed and objective glasses of decent, truthful journalism. Have you forgotten that the U.S. government has habitually overthrown, destabilized or attempted the overthrow of democratic movements around the world? Ask the people of Guatemala or Chile or Grenada or Indonesia or Nicaragua or Angola or, for that matter, the disenfranchised voters of Florida and the rest of the U.S. Ask those who support democracy in Saudi Arabia, Jordan or other Middle Eastern nations where despots remain in power because of U.S. sponsorship. Ask the people of Palestine, where hundreds have been killed, thousands wounded, in a siege fought with U.S.-made and -supplied weapons.
If the United States wants to eliminate terrorism, it needs to do three things. It needs to stop creating, sponsoring and harboring terrorists; it needs to stop waging its own terrorist wars; and, more than anything, it needs to start dealing justly with the rest of the world.
Regarding Tom Danehy's absurd "Where's the Beef?" [December 6]:
1. Yes, Italians are known for outliving Americans. They received this reputation because of the longevity of older generations of peasants, whose average diet consists primarily of pasta, legumes and vegetables.
2. The writer of the original animal-rights story was obviously not comparing enslaved Africans to enslaved animals. The point being made was simply that oppression is oppression, in whatever form it may take.
3. If Danehy cares so much about plants, like the lettuce he seems so concerned about, then he must obviously care even more for animals, which have a much more advanced neurological system. (And, as we all know from when we accidentally step on a cat's tail, they feel pain just as we do.)
4. How many people would really agree to sacrifice 10,000 living creatures just to save one human? This is speciesism in its worst form. We are not the only creatures on this planet, and as such we must not impose our superiority complex onto the other innocent beings of this earth.
5. Animal-rights activists, just like anyone else, are simply concerned about an issue that is important to them, and are actively taking a stand for what they believe in. I commend that, especially with the widespread apathy in this country.
6. Yes, some animals eat other animals. And whether or not it is "natural" for us humans to do so, it is certainly not natural to have "factory farms" where animals are bred by the billions, injected with antibiotics and hormones, and slaughtered with massive machinery. This doesn't sound like a description of Wild Kingdom to me.
7. I am sure most people would agree that deep-frying chickens is not a sign of human evolution. Perhaps it is a sign of de-evolution.
8. Yes, the Japanese are also known for being incredibly healthy. Again, that reputation comes from the older generations, whose diet consists primarily of rice and vegetables. (Yes, they may eat some fish, but it is only the younger generations who have begun eating beef, as it has been only relatively recently marketed in Japan. The traditional healthful Japanese diet certainly does not include hormone-laced cows, pigs or chickens.)
9. The Isaac Singer quote that Danehy disputed was intended to encourage a greater humanity by recognizing the beauty and sacredness of all life.
10. Contrary to popular belief, Hitler was not a vegetarian. His doctor prescribed a vegetarian diet for his health, but Goebbels (the propaganda minister) twisted this around to get people to think of Hitler as a saintly man. Hitler ate plenty of meat, particularly beef. (Source: Vegetarian Voice magazine, "Was Hitler a Vegetarian?")
Please, Danehy, in the future, do your research and stop to think before printing such an offensive and preposterous column.