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Osama bin Laden bombs our country, and lamentably, Jim Washburn attacks the United States in his usual journalistic fashion the next day ("No Shelter," Sept. 14). What is hard to understand is his lack of discretion and maturity in choosing the day after the bombing of America to attack our great nation. In this time when our people demonstrate their patriotism and pride for our nation, why did Jim choose to further inflict his animus and hatred toward our nation?

I encourage political discourse and believe dialogue is important when creating public policy. It is American to debate our differences in the public forum in a fair manner. Unfortunately, Jim's unbalanced, left-leaning point of view—as well as his hatred of what is right in this great nation—only leads to biased viewpoints. When a nation hurts, we need healing and not angry words. Jim, please be more sensitive and responsible in the future.

Dr. Ken Williams
OC Board of Education Jim Washburn responds: Thanks for caring enough to write, Ken, but I couldn't disagree with you more—both on the matter of whether I love my country and on the shape that love should take. I'm right with you in condemning what the terrorists did and am doing what little I can as a citizen to help the victims. But patriotism and self-righteousness are not synonymous. When our leaders discuss a retribution that may compound the horror and injustice, and then they justify it with claims of our untainted innocence, it becomes an unpleasant duty to raise the truth, which is that our foreign policy has often worked against freedom and our own stated interests and that, for our citizenry, ignorance does not equal innocence. When the stakes are this high, nothing less than the truth will suffice, and I'll buy you the burrito of your choice if you can find one inaccurate statement in my article (aside from my use of a preliminary overestimation of the death count, on which point I am glad to be wrong).

Thank you, Jim Washburn, for your essay. There has been too little soul searching and too much saber rattling. We are so often told that the U.S. is beloved around the world, when in fact quite the opposite is true. Bombing the hell out of Afghanistan for the crimes of Osama bin Laden is akin to leveling LA for the crimes of the Crips and the Bloods. Those responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks must be hunted down and brought to justice, but there is no justice in adding to the world's sadness by killing innocents in other countries because innocents have been killed on our soil.

Heidi Nye
Long Beach

Just read Washburn's comments on vengeance. Best thing I have seen or heard on this whole sad subject. Clear, concise, cogent, and compassionate. Thanks.

Bruce Travers
via e-mail

Thank you, OC Weekly, for going against the usual media-sponsored nationalism and actually printing an article that expresses the real issues surrounding this attack. It is nice to know there are others in this country who seek the truth and don't live day in and day out ruled by their emotions or their vengeful God.

Jacque Mitchell
via e-mail

I am a retired 28-year veteran of the State Department's Foreign Service who served in many countries. Whenever I would come home to the U.S., I would try to tell family and friends what was happening in other countries. On average, their attention span was mere minutes. Their eyes wandered as they looked for a polite way to tell me they knew nothing and couldn't care less about problems in other countries. They would change the subject to the world of entertainment—asking if I enjoyed watching Cheers or football, as though such things were available on TV in Africa or Israel.

Yes, Mr. Washburn, I'm afraid our determination to be entertained 24/7 has worn out the patience of those extremists abroad who have found a way to get our attention. I'm appalled at the carnage already visited upon us and shudder to think what may follow. It took years to get into this mess, and we'd better start to do the things globally that need to be done in order to gain, if possible, the respect of people everywhere. This could mean we would have to turn off the TV now and then, but we can do it.

Jim Steeves
Long Beach


Bravo on this American satire ("Nuts Drive Nuts Nuts!" Sept 14). Yes, there are a lot of crazies in the world . . . and lots of them live right here in Orange County. Usually harmless, this breed can be found passing out God pamphlets amidst the grassy plains of parks and campuses. They smile and cheerfully invite you into their cult. But beware! These seemingly friendly creatures could soon snap into belligerent righteousness, damning those who are not exactly like them. Ahh, fundamentalists. Such moody, intolerant creatures, aren't they?

Patty C.
Costa Mesa
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