In a letter by Hassan Fouda on Aug. 30, "Unavoidable facts on Israel," the first paragraph should have read: Jewish Voice for Peace is a great organization and it came as a surprise that Richard Weiner, who identifies himself as a member, tried to deny the obvious in his recent letter.
Waiting for denunciations
I am referring to Larry Waldron's Sept. 6 letter in the Voice, "Comparison to apartheid valid." I cannot fail to admire his continued singular and dedicated empathy and concern for our allegedly peaceful Palestinian sisters and brothers.
I can only dream that someday Waldron would permit his countenance to shine upon our equally distressed Syrian sisters and brothers. In only two years, 100,000 Syrians have been murdered by their own government and 2 millions have become refugees.
And perhaps Waldron could spare a thought for the 1,000 or so Egyptians recently killed in Cairo by their own government.
Undoubtedly, in Waldron's view, the events in Egypt and Syria pale in comparison to what he calls "apartheid" suffered by the Palestinians (in a time span of more than six decades).
As to Waldron's assertion that Bishop Desmond Tutu likened the treatment of the Palestinians to the apartheid oppression in South Africa, I'm still waiting for the denunciation of the outrageous crimes against humanity by the present governments in Syria and Egypt by Tutu and Waldron.
North Carolina vote challenges
In his Sept. 6 letter in the Times, Bill Fraser wrote that he doubts the GOP assault on voting rights.
Citing a lack of actual evidence in a previous letter that asserted voting rights are under attack in some states, Fraser wrote: "If this were true, most Americans would be ... undoubtedly outraged."
As a matter of fact, election boards in North Carolina are systemically targeting students at historically black colleges, aiming to making voting more difficult. Evidence of this vote-suppression effort is readily found through an online search, using key words, "Elizabeth City State College" and "Appalachian State College," combined with "vote challenge." Prepare to be outraged.
Please note that the initial reporting on this story was done by local papers. Our local print media are heroes in bringing significant local news to light. Support their work -- subscribe to your local newspaper!
We are not the world's police
British intelligence, in laying the use of chemical weapons at the feet of the current Syrian regime, observes rebel groups lack access to chemical weapons, but that some are attempting to acquire them.
What interest does the United States have in replacing an authoritarian regime with civil chaos in which dominant factions might develop into an actual threat? As for the notion the United States must act as the policeman, if not the conscience of the world, who but ourselves hold this exceptionalist view?
We first supported Saddam (attempting to shift to Iran the blame for his much larger use of chemical weaponry against the Kurds), then lied to depose him because ... because what?
No, the United States is not the one to attempt to police this or any other region: When not devious, it is either ignorant, or from internal political pressures, unable to capitalize on what expertise it has.
We must not be hypocritical
A recent Times editorial says that the United States must respond to Syria and its use of chemical weapons. Why should that response be bombing?
It is the height of hypocrisy for the United States, considering that our military used napalm in Vietnam on civilians who are still suffering birth defects generations later. Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iran and the United States looked the other way.
President Obama and Congress did not go to war against Israel when it used white phosphorus against Gaza, killing 400 children in the two weeks of Operation Cast Lead. Not a word was said.
As terrible as the use of chemical weapons is, as terrible as the loss of life is, the United States has blood on its hands around the world with its weapons sales, its incursions, and its drone attacks.
Bombing Syria will not help the Syrian people or bring peace. Why not stop incursions and stop creating and selling these weapons?
Might be best to do nothing
President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have boxed themselves in with their own rhetoric, have a political interest in defending their statements and, so, limit their options.
In this unholy Syrian whirlpool -- with chemical at the center and nuclear on the periphery -- it might be best to say and do nothing.
U.S. military action will add bad energy to an already chaotic, violent and unpredictable situation. Players with claimed actionable interest include the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Turkey, Hezbollah, al-Qaida and their offshoots, and multiple Syrian parties and militias.
Hopefully, Congress will block authorization and make it more difficult for Obama to attack.
The emerging picture of what most likely happened in the gas attack is that it was a desperate/fearful/rogue local Syrian government commander that gave the gas attack order.
Obama is disingenuous on the Syria issue. It's not certain that Assad directly ordered the attack. We don't want to roll the dice and hope they don't come up chemical or nuclear.
The United States should suck energy out of this situation, not add more.
Congress must take action
All of us -- California businesses, residents and governments -- have worked hard to reduce heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, but discharges are still rising, according to a Times article, "Global warming already having dramatic impacts in California."
Meanwhile, we're suffering from higher temperatures, reduced water supply, increased allergies, and destructive wildfires caused by global emissions as well as our own. People in California do what they can, but we need effective federal energy policy, too.
I believe raising the cost of harmful emissions via a steadily rising, revenue-neutral carbon tax is the best approach. It uses the market, not regulations, to change behavior.
It has a real chance of passing Congress because both parties can support it. Returning all revenue to households will shield people from rising prices. Because it's a market-based approach that doesn't increase the size of government, it should appeal to the GOP more than new EPA regulations President Obama has proposed.
We need to let our Democratic and Republican congressional leadership know we want action now that puts a price on carbon pollution.