Of greed and ego

To the Editor:

I live in Cascade and I am very upset and disturbed to think that the Pikes Peak Hill Climb has not been cancelled due the extreme drought. The devastation that has and is encompassing the Western states should be enough of a reason for any caring or intelligent person to forego greed and ego-tripping and be more concerned with humanity and the environment.

The powers that be should spend a day on the fire line and witness the courage and dedication of the firefighters from this area and from many other states.

-- Suzanne P. Carson


The sad truth

To the Editor,

Jane McBee's June 20 story about her trip to Iraq shows the true story. Iraq is not Saddam Hussein. Iraq is 23 million people, thousands of whom have died each month for the past 11 years of the sanctions. One need not be an apologist for Saddam Hussein to point out the responsibility the United States bears in this situation.

We purposely destroyed the water and waste treatment plants as part of our plan to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq. Defense department documents clearly show we intended to cause the epidemics of disease that have occurred.

Until the sanctions are removed and the deadly water is cleaned the deaths will continue. Sometimes it is not so clear where the axis of evil is.

-- Larry Kerschner

Pe Ell, Washington

Stop the hand-wringing

To the Editor:

Jane McBee's story was sad, telling how Iraqis have suffered under UN sanctions. Unfortunately, she never bothered to say why things are so awful there, and instead decided to tell Iraqi and Syrian propaganda.

First of all, the reason why sanctions were placed on Iraq in the first place, and why damage was sustained to Iraqi infrastructure is, if you haven't forgotten, because Saddam Hussein's Iraq started a war. They invaded an essentially defenseless Kuwait without provocation, launched missiles against Israel without provocation, dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Persian Gulf, caused huge amounts of air pollution through the burning of oilfields, and they were defeated.

And, oh yeah, they tortured American POWs and murdered Kuwaiti civilians. In their surrender agreement, they agreed to stop developing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and to allow UN inspectors to make sure they weren't. Saddam Hussein then kicked out the inspectors and has not allowed them back, which is why the sanctions have not been lifted.

They say they have nothing to hide, but they are hiding something. If the Iraqi government were to stand down from the development of these weapons and allow the UN to determine that they are no longer doing this, the sanctions would be lifted and things could possibly improve.

The UN sanctions provide Iraq with enough income from the sale of oil to rebuild infrastructure such as water treatment plants and purchase medical supplies, but the government corruption prevents these funds from being used as intended. Iraq also makes millions of dollars from the illegal sale of oil, and we, the U.S., buy hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day from Iraq with the supposed intent of this money going to the Iraqi people.

With this money, Saddam instead sends $10,000 checks to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers to ingratiate radical Muslims and builds palaces for himself instead of helping his own people. Then he blames the U.S. (and not the UN) for the deaths of Iraqis.

A people too weakened by disease to fight and too propagandized to think straight will not overthrow his corrupt government.

So stop wringing your hands and blaming us, when it the fault of Hussein and those who support him.

-- Chuck Goldsmith

Colorado Springs

Show some compassion

To the Editor:

Bringing the faces of the people of Iraq into full view for us to see and reading the words of her story online, Jane McBee's account of her visit to Iraq makes real to me once again the pain inflicted by the U.S. bombings and inhuman UN sanctions that continue to kill.

Compassionate visits and risking arrest and fines is a way of showing solidarity with a people who wisely distinguish ordinary U.S. citizens from U.S. foreign policy and those that carry it out.

What will it take from us to demand that our U.S. leaders see that Saddam Hussein is not the entire Iraqi nation and stop imposing economic sanctions that devastate and are the direct cause of so much loss of young, innocent life?

More visits, more risks, more faces and stories, more outcries, more protests, more letters to our leaders, more visits to Congress, more prayer and vigils and fasting?

Yes, all of the above.

-- Gen Cassani

St. Louis, Missouri

All about money

To the Editor:

I think our foreign policy sucks. I think that we have no business sanctioning Iraq under the guise of democratic liberty when really it's all to do with oil. And it is all about, not just oil, but the almighty dollar. That's the biggest point. We either revere life or we don't. Human life is sacred, or it isn't. Period. There are no two ways about that.

I don't know about anyone else, but being a mother or even a human being, I have to ask myself, Is anything wrong with this picture? Where do we, as humans, begin in our fight to help others in need? Jane McBee's story brings tears to my eyes. There is so much hatred in the world; when will we learn to respect and love one another?

-- Carolyn Ostin

Houston, Texas

Present-day heroes

To the Editor:

I just read your article about Biff Baker ["Rocket Racket," June 13-19]. I am impressed with people like him and Colleen Rowley who was the whistle-blower with the FBI. These are the bravest people! Articles should be written about them as present-day heroes... those who have risked their (secure and normal) lives, not to mention operating outside their comfort zones, in order to help the ordinary folk by thwarting the unethical, greedy "Overlord."

-- Marilyn Russell

Colorado Springs

A fat paycheck

To the Editor:

Your cover article on Biff Baker and irregularities in contracting in support of SMDC is right on. I think 90 percent of the missile-defense community here in Colorado Springs have been suspicious of SY's remarkable good fortune in winning contracts in support of their president's old command. The other 10 percent are either working for SY or are old buddies with the retired colonels and generals there.

SY is a penultimate example of the old boy network at work -- I've seen numerous colonels pass work their way, then retire and get hired on, receiving fat SY paychecks.

L3Com would do well to divest themselves of SY Tech immediately. SY's questionable practices will come back to bite them someday, doing harm to L3Com unless they put some distance between the companies.

Since I occasionally work with SY, want to maintain amiable relationships with folks over there, and don't want to suffer Biff's fate, please withhold my name.

-- name withheld on request

Colorado Springs

Artist, define thyself

To the Editor:

Congratulations on the opening of a new art gallery, Carleen's ["Critical Masses," June 20]. Even though it bills itself as cynical, I say the more the merrier.

I am puzzled about one query in the article, made by Brett Andrus: "How many paintings of a wolf baying at the moon can there be?" I don't have a good answer to that because after spending 10 years in Colorado Springs as a money-earning artist, frankly, I have never seen a painting like that anywhere. Maybe I'm hanging at the wrong galleries.

My suggestion to Carleen's is: Don't try to re-define the arts in Colorado Springs. That's part of the reason the arts aren't supported in this city. Far too many newcomers have come into this town with the goal of re-educating an arts-stupid and complacent public. It's not going to happen by shaking them up or offending them. Pop Art taught us that, if nothing else. We now have an entire society that's either still scratching its collective head trying to figure it all out, or has simply given up.

Artists are much better off simply defining themselves and their own enterprises first... and thereby attracting the support that is right for them. There is plenty of market here for a lot more art galleries of every genre. Support each other (no more howling wolf slams), encourage more growth in the arts community, and you raise the profile of the arts for everyone. Create a diverse scene and the public will take notice.

And one final word of advice: If you're depending on their goodwill to pay the rent, try not to be too patronizing. You can make your personal art statements, visually and verbally, and still be a business success. You just have to use some common sense to do it.

Older and wiser,

-- Dani Greer

Greer Studios

Colorado Springs

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