Letters

Our bombing in Cambodia, for example, grew from pounding the jungle along the border with South Vietnam to leveling the entire country. This campaign, intentionally carried out by Nixon without the knowledge (or support) of Congress or the public, helped turn a ragtag band of Maoist thugs known as the Khmer Rouge into a guerrilla army with a popular cause-ousting the military regime in Phnom Penh that had allowed the U.S. to bring in its warplanes and rain terror on the people of Cambodia. On CNN's Cold War series, Kissinger himself admitted that he opposed Nixon's secret bombing of Cambodia, on the basis that it was a terrible error of judgment. (If you are going to kill a million people, don't try to do it in secret, he reasoned.)

Meanwhile, you assert that "a united Vietnam went to war against Cambodia and China," causing the deaths of 160,000 people. Apparently, you're unaware of the fact that China invaded Vietnam in 1979, not vice versa. China did this for a number of reasons, chiefly because it supported Cambodia's late dictator Pol Pot. If you're looking for a communist leader guilty of the genocide you seek to blame on Ho, try Pot. If you're as familiar with history as you claim, however, you should already know that it wasn't the Americans who finally stopped Pot's genocide in Cambodia-we were too afraid of crossing China to oppose the killing-it was the Vietnamese government that finally invaded Cambodia and stopped, not started, one of the worst atrocities in modern history.

WATCH, DON'T RUN

I find Anthony Pignataro's consternation about his articles not being posted on the El Toro Info Site to be disingenuous (Wyn Hilty's "Don't Leak on Me," Feb. 26). The first 11 El Toro Airport Watches were manually re-typed by me as a volunteer, since Pignataro claimed not to have had them in an electronic form. Subsequent Watches were regularly e-mailed to the site by Weekly reporters.

Suddenly, last April, the Watches stopped coming. Repeated calls to Pignataro got responses that "he was too busy, lost his intern, or was just lazy." Coincidentally, this happened when Project 99 was offering the 1997 Watches as a means to raise funds, a fact that was mentioned in each column. Several of us, though, continued to manually re-type the missing Watches (this was before they were available on the online edition of the Weekly), yet their presence on the El Toro Info Site was no longer mentioned.

Since we were now re-typing the Watches manually, we selected only the columns that offered fresh ideas not expressed anyplace else. We have never considered regular posting of other, non-Watch articles by Pignataro, like the one from Jan. 22. Had Hilty taken more time to study the topic, she would have found that Watches 68, 69, 70, 73, 84, 85 and 91 are not posted, either. We, the volunteers for the El Toro Info Site who also hold full-time jobs, can be lazy, too.

-Hanna Hill, Irvine

An average dope responds: Your biggest criticism about Hilty's article has . . . nothing . . . whatsoever . . . to do with Hilty's article. Her point was that Kranser systematically elects not to run on his Web site articles critical of the anti-airport coalition. That's an undeniable fact-and one that Kranser himself acknowledged when interviewed for Hilty's article. Pignataro's "consternation" was hardly "disingenuous." He only said he disagreed with Kranser on that issue and that Kranser "can post whatever he wants to. It's his site."

BREAKING THE RULES

Concerning the Best Manifesto winner, Dogma 95, in the "The Third Annual Calleys" by Nathan Callahan (Film, Feb. 26): Callahan suggested that since Celebration and Breaking the Waves were made under the guidelines of a vow signed by the filmmakers, somehow it gave the films a certain something that made them "more riveting than anything George Lucas could dream up." I don't argue that setting restrictions upon one's self may bring out a certain aspect that other filmmakers with free reign may not be able to attain. But I think it is worth noting that the filmmaker confessed to having broken the vow in the production of Celebration.

So what use is a vow if you don't live by it? What that means is up to individuals to decide. You make the call. I just thought all the facts should be known. The Web page where this confession is published is at www.octoberfilms.com/thecelebration/confession.html.

-Rob Roades, Anaheim

Nathan Callahan responds: What are you, Rob, some kind of film fundamentalist? The Dogma 95 Manifesto was created as a "rescue operation to counter certain tendencies in film today-namely lazy-ass filmmakers" over reliance on illusion and special effects. Celebration complied with the principle of that manifesto and 99.9 percent of its strict "Vow of Chastity."

As far as I can tell, director Thomas Vinterberg's worst offenses in breaking the vow were the draping of a window (artificially altering the light of a scene) and building a desk (rather than using furniture that was already at a location). His confession was the equivalent of a Catholic's concession to taking the Lord's name in vain, not murder. What do you suggest for him? A celluloid hair shirt?

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