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Although I have spent the better part of 40-plus years as a resident of Orange County, I have never felt so different—and alone—as I have the past few months, especially after the invasion of Iraq. Friends who, only a few months ago, decried the Bushites as crooks are now avid war fans. Friends who were registered Conscientious Objectors during the Vietnam War are suddenly more hawkish than Westmoreland. I want to thank Jim Washburn for yet another of his succinct, intelligent and patriotic pieces, "What Are We Doing There?" (Lost in OC, March 28). And thanks to Steve Lowery (Diary of a Mad County) for exposing the local brainless who get their "information" from a media filled with bloated, moronic right-wing call-in show hosts and neo-fascist convicted felons masquerading as pundits and then still insist on cackling about the "liberal media" while they watch Fox News for "balanced" reporting. Thanks, gentlemen, for making me feel a little less alone.

Mike Ramsey
Huntington Beach

What are we doing there? I can answer that. The videotapes of Iraqi military hiding behind human shields to take potshots at American troops is an American-made lie, right? The videotape of Iraqi military killing their own civilians? Lie. The eyewitness reports of the Republican Guard firing on Iraqi troops in retreat is just propaganda. Each of those Iraqi women who stood in front of Congress and gave their personal horror stories of rape, torture, mutilation and murder, they were actors, right? All of those dead Kurds lying in the streets with poisoned-to-death babies in their arms never happened. The Iraqi military is not hiding ammunition supplies in schools and under mosques. Lastly, the Iraqi military is not executing Coalition POWs, are they?

How morally bankrupt can you possibly be? That, sir, is what we are doing there. "Peace protesters" who make demands on our first line of defense (police, fire, medical) should not be handcuffed and put on a bus; they should be run over in the street by a growing "coalition of the willing."

Now here is a question for you, Jim. How irritating is it to know that all the protests in the world have no effect on the situation? Burn a little? Good. War brings out the true colors, and Saddam's regime is being shown for what it is. You and I are being shown for what we are. I am certainly glad I am not you. We (Americans) will fight the good fight, and victory will be on the side of the righteous. (Well, more righteous.)

Huntington Beach Jim Washburn responds: Dear WhiteBoy: If, per your wishes, the U.S. ran over protesters in the street (as opposed to our Vietnam-era practice of just shooting them), some self-righteous asshole in another country might feel moved to "liberate" us and start raining bombs on your innocent WhiteBoy ass. I mean, what's the difference between you and the average Iraqi, except that, unlike them, you seem delighted to live in a country that ignores the will of its people and the rule of law? Nowhere did I say that Saddam and his regime aren't among the worst fuckers on the planet. But if the U.S. administration holdovers from the Bush Sr. and Reagan administrations gave a damn about the Kurds or the rest of Iraq's oppressed citizenry, shouldn't they have complained back in the '80s when the gassings and other atrocities were in full swing? Instead, they supported and supplied Hussein the whole time; they vetoed a UN resolution condemning the gassings. So poor people died then; poor people died from our obliterating Iraq's infrastructure and the subsequent embargo we imposed; and now poor people—civilians and hapless conscripts—are getting all brunted up in this war. Spot a trend here? I hope to Christ that freedom for Iraqis is a beneficial side effect of this war, that we don't first kill too many of them, and that righteous people like you will continue to fight the good fight for victory on the front lines of H.B.

On the one hand, you deserve a round for putting the Midnight Movies on your cover (Kat Jetson's "Trio Dreams," March 14). They're good, and they seem to have the right idea of what it's all about—they play their music and seem properly humble.

On the other hand, what's with the fawning piece about the Flash Express (Chris Ziegler's "It's the Soul, Baby," March 14)? Fuck the Flash Express. Their singer, whatever his name is—I could reread the article to find out but am declining on principle—is to Jon Spencer what George Thorogood is to Muddy Waters, and that's being unfair to George. One of my most embarrassing moments as a resident of Southern California was when that talentless bunch of idiots played between Midget Handjob and the Fall at the Knitting Factory a couple of years back. Though they didn't go over as well as the other two bands, some people seemed actually to like them. All I could think of was that if they tried their lame shtick in, say, Cleveland or Philly instead of Hollywood, that bunch of poseurs would've been booed off the stage like they deserved to be.

Ted Kane
Long Beach

Re: R. Scott Moxley's "Dr. Kooshian vs. the Gay Community" (March 14): Score: Kooshian 1, Gays 0. So, what's the big deal, you ass fucks? Get AIDS and die! The best part of your rag is the section with ads for escorts!

J. Lopez
Santa Ana