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Published: Sunday, 6/6/2004

Molly Ivins makes points, and mistakes

Molly Ivins' May 30 column discussed retired Gen. Anthony Zinni's list of 10 mistakes made in the Iraqi war. As one of those evil, snarling, warmongering neoconservatives the media like to beat up on, I would agree that there are some valid points, but there are also some mistakes Ms. Ivins makes.

First, she says that containment in Iraq was working. Tell that to the thousands of people tortured and killed. We're not seeing any outrage and congressional investigations into that, are we?

She also mentioned that we failed to internationalize the task. True - because the international community has been on the take from Saddam through the oil-for-food program, something the media have conveniently not been reporting.

European leaders were paid very handsomely for their lack of support in Iraq.

She also has said that the road to Baghdad goes through Palestine, meaning that real peace will be established when Israeli-Palestinian peace is reached. Completely untrue. Real peace will be established when the vigorous roots of democracy take hold in the thorny briar patch of the Middle East.

And finally, she says we created a false rationale for getting public support for the war. I am so sick and tired of Molly and everyone else calling this administration liars. We had concrete intelligence, indeed, the same intelligence the rest of the world had, to indicate that Saddam had the motivation, the equipment, and the means to deliver weapons of mass destruction anonymously to the people who were willing to use them.

Nobody in the world, not even the vitriolic Democrats, ever disagreed with the intelligence. We cannot find the WMDs, and Democrats automatically conclude that this is the result of fabrications. That, or the weapons were handed off to terrorists and taken into Syria or Saudi Arabia.

JAKE LYDEY

Beechway Boulevard

Recently local media reported the "high price" of gasoline at "$2.05" when it was actually $2.06. It's time gasoline retailers got rid of that ridiculous 9/10 stuck at the end of every price. At current levels there is no significant difference between $2.05-9/10 and $2.06.

"Saving" a cent on a 10-gallon sale of $20.59 indicates that the practice could qualify as deceptive pricing. One can pick up more than that from the surplus penny bin on the service station counter.

Back in the good old days of five-for-a-buck, 9/10 could mean an extra half pint on a fill-up. Not today.

Put another way, a 20-gallon fill-up nets 2 cents. Two cents worth of gas at 2.06 per gallon is fumes. Get rid if the 9/10. It's deceptive.

BOB FAISON

Sylvania

Why do I have to swear on the Bible in court when the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed in a federal building?

JERRY NEWMAN

Sylvania

The recent ruling by a federal judge in California, overturning the ban on partial-birth abortion because it is an infringement on a woman's right to choose, is nothing but a license to kill. Where is the right of a child to be born?

ALICE SIGLAR

Genoa

How unfortunate that The Blade's music critic "bench" was not deep enough to provide a review of the Toledo Symphony's 60th anniversary season climax. Notwithstanding Steve Cornelius' unavailability, the culmination of such a landmark year with these important concerts certainly deserves further comment.

In a series-long celebration of this milestone season, each of the nine Classics Concerts were opened with specially commissioned fanfares. Quite fittingly, the TSO's own composer/bassist, Bill McDevitt, created the rousing 60-measure salute to the orchestra's history for the final concert.

Exhilarating performances of the Haydn "Sinfonia Concertante" and Mahler Symphony No. 5 followed. We are lucky to have fine principal players of the caliber of Kirk Toth, Martha Reikow, Richard Beene, and Kimberly Bryden, who dazzled in Hayden's virtuosic piece.

All of the Mahler symphonies are monumental, both in scope and orchestration, and the Fifth is no exception. From the opening trumpet fanfare, capably presented by Lauraine Carpenter, Maestro Stefan Sanderling led the audience on an epic musical journey with bravura performances by Sandra Clark, Nancy Lendrim, Joel Tse, and Garth Simmons.

Orchestra and audience alike warmly extended a special recognition to 49-year veteran flutist, Marjorie Szor, who appeared in her final performance.

How many American cities can claim an orchestra of such quality? Confronted with the banality of our popular culture, we are gratified that our orchestra stands as a beacon at the epicenter of a vibrant musical arts community.

Coupled with the very important component of broad financial assistance, our enthusiastic attendance at concerts will ensure that the Toledo Symphony can continue to support a fine roster of resident professional musicians who inject vitality throughout our region.

The Blade is quick to recognize excellence in journalism; special care ought be taken that other noteworthy distinction and accomplishment is not overlooked.

RICHARD A. KARCHER

Perrysburg

Iraq has endured alien rule since the days of the Abbasid Caliphate under Ottoman rule. During World War I the Hashmite family influenced events.

In 1919 Iraqis were disappointed when the British reneged on their assurance for their independence and made it a Class A mandate under Article 22 of the League of Nations. Sir Percy Cox headed the government.

Anti-colonial secret societies emerged (League of Islamic Awakening, Jaymit an Nahda al Islamaya; National Muslim League, Al Jamayya Islamaya) that led to the Great Iraqi Revolution (1920), a watershed event that unites the Shias and the Sunnis. At the Cairo Conference (1921) Faisal was chosen king.

But the story of monarchy that ended in 1955 is a sad one. The on-again and off-again Shia Sunni relationship, Kurdish problem, and incessant conflicts led to political instability well into the 1970s.

An important event that President Bush needs to know was the rise of the "Free Officers Movement" that produced Saddam Hussein, the immediate result of the British quelling of the Palestine revolt of 1936. Since Saddam came to power in 1979 Iraq has not known democracy. The Shia-Sunni conflict goes back to the days of the Ummayad Caliphate (661).

It took Britain 473 years, from 1215 (Magna Carta) to Revolution Settlement of 1688, and after the execution of a king, to establish democracy.

It took us 178 years, from 1787 to the Voting Rights Act (1965), to get true democracy. Problems still exist.

Mr. Bush says he is introducing democracy in Iraq. In which world is he living? Please, no juvenile label-chasing. This is not about the election but about the cesspool we are creating.

What are we really getting for this monumental blunder? More terrorism?

V.N. KRISHNAN

Bowling Green

If today's liberals were around during the D-Day invasion, we would have never gotten off the beach. They would have proclaimed the task too difficult and costly. They would point out that the administration did not plan for the stiff resistance and the beach landings were producing unacceptable amounts of casualties. Thank God these liberals were not around during World War II, or we would not be a free nation and the capital of Europe would be Berlin.

Reminder: War is ugly, war is unpredictable, war is costly, war is destructive, but sometimes war is necessary.

KIP BROWN

Cherry Hill



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