The Manchurian presidency
BY DAVID HOROWITZ
The current scandal dates back to theft of information that began in 1970.
The Bush administration was made aware of Chinese spying and came to the
conclusion that nuclear security was not an issue. The story was largely
ignored by the media in 1990, and only now is it coming to further light.
I would go so far as to say that the only reason the scandal is generating
so much interest on Capitol Hill now is that conservatives, still stung by
the fact that they could not remove Clinton from office, are attempting to
lay the current scandal at Clinton's feet with an eye on campaign 2000.
Wouldn't it be nice if Horowitz and conservatives could actually view current and future crises of U.S. policy objectively? Of course it would be much harder to find solutions to
security leaks over the last 30 years than to point fingers and lay all
blame where only a small fraction of it belongs.
-- Kevin Barry
I remember commiserating with a brother over the first term of the Clinton
presidency as the '96 elections drew near. We both thought the last four
years had been pretty disastrous; I told him that the next election was crucial to our future, saying, "The reelection of President Clinton will indicate that God is through with us as a nation."
I did not know how prescient my comment was. What has been
revealed as the work of this president is nothing less than the dismantling
of this country. It is obvious that the president and the Democratic
Party broke the law to win reelection (the Democrat vote of illegal
immigrants allowed in days before and during the election, etc.).
But also, America repeatedly has shown the power to renew herself. Freedom
does that to a people. With such exposis as Horowitz has written, I still have hope.
-- J. T. Wheeler
I'm horrified to see that there are still people like David Horowitz,
who seem to believe it is possible to prevail in a nuclear war. True,
at some point it may be possible to build an effective defense against
ballistic missiles. But developing an "edge" in the form of "more
sophisticated warheads and more accurate missiles" merely ensures that
everyone loses, not that one side can win.
It is immoral to view the deaths of hundreds of millions of people,
on either side, as an acceptable outcome. It is irresponsible to suggest
that one side of such a conflict might survive, since it makes the use
of nuclear weapons more likely.
Now, China's distribution of this technology to other nations is
troubling. But, like cryptography or computers, what has been discovered
once can be reinvented elsewhere -- keeping technology secret is not
a long-term solution to preventing its use. We must find ways of
ensuring stability that do not depend on a nuclear oligopoly; we shall
be forced to do so in the long term anyway.
-- Mark Gritter
DAVID HOROWITZ RESPONDS ...
It's true, as Kevin Barry points out, that there were security leaks before the Clinton administration. But there was not a wholesale dismantling of security controls by previous administrations, nor a systematic coverup of the leaks, nor a
massive cash flow into the coffers of the administration party by people associated with the intelligence and military of the spying power. Timelines printed on Rep. Curt Weldon's Web site show the damage that took place specifically in the Clinton years, as a result of the Clinton policy.
As for Mark Gritter's outrage, it is simply misplaced. Nowhere did I say or imply that the United States or any other nation could prevail in a nuclear war.
Adventures in the skin trade
BY ROLF POTTS
Rolf Potts' pious refusal to have sex with a Phnom Penh hooker is pretty
funny considering that by publishing his piece in a widely read magazine
in a rich country he will probably be responsible for drawing hundreds,
perhaps thousands of wealthy, voracious sex tourists to Cambodia. He's
not willing to patronize the industry but he'll gladly do PR for it. Your
travel section has recently devoted a lot of space to publicizing
discount third-world sex opportunities. Recent pieces by male writers who carefully deny that they would ever patronize a prostitute -- and in fact devote much of their articles to
smarmy agonizing about it -- strike me as the very familiar American
blend of piety and leering voyeurism.
-- Marcus Stanley
Bitter and blacker
BY CINTRA WILSON
My instinct tells me that Cintra Wilson doesn't really believe the
deep-seated frustration and bitterness, so often voiced by black
comedians, is reasonable. That lack of knowledge seems especially difficult for "hip" white people
to accept about themselves.
If Wilson desires to gain a better grasp of this "simple, profound,
multi-generational resentment, which ... is usually
kept hidden under the mild social politeness that has always kept
integrated society from dissolving into total mayhem," she should pull
out the article she wrote about the Ricky Martin phenomenon.
In that article, she wrote: "The pop sensation machine
has finally found the answer, however, to the age-old marketing
conundrum of What Makes Girls Randy, and now all media outlets are
saturated with bedroom-haired, cologne-marinated, undergraduate-age
dancing boys." News flash: Black girls have known that for years
because black guys were "sellin' it" that way long
before Ricky Martin perfected his winning Colgate smile. But now that
young white guys are finally learning how to dance, a white guy who
can keep a beat instead of chug-a-lugging beer is considered hip and
sexy. I'm amazed at how white folks continually push this
notion that it ain't happening unless white folks steer the bandwagon.
It sure would be nice if people like Wilson could tell a more complete story
when they write about our American culture. But because they don't -- either out of ignorance or deliberate omission -- it becomes a source of resentment.
And one other thing: Regarding Wilson's detection of a "one of these
things just doesn't belong here" vibe while she attended Rock's show at
Harlem's Apollo Theatre, I say, "Welcome to the club."
-- Bob Campbell
Rochester Hills, Mich.
Surely some of society's beliefs concerning our so-called limitations are the result of cultural programming, and bio-determinism has been used as an excuse to tell us we are naturally timid and
submissive, and other such rubbish proffered by men. We must not feed
their ignorant bias and strengthen their foolish arguments, however, by rejecting
observational science in an extreme "reaction" to their stupidity.
It is obvious that there are innate differences between the genders. Germaine Greer does us all a disservice, however, when she advocates the rejection of intersex females, basing her arguments on misapprehended and ill-applied facts of biology and genetics, and other
facets of the very bio-determinism she repudiates.
Greer, and those like her, should be repudiated for their appalling
diatribes and mean-spirited attacks on women who have been biologically
challenged at worst, and who are likely to prove to be very helpful in our
understanding of ourselves and of human sexuality in general.
-- Natasha Lumna
Walnut Creek, Calif.
What a shame that Germaine Greer, in all her world-wide wisdom, is so much more interested in becoming famous for debunking other peoples' truths than she is in finding out the common medical fact that estrogen decreases the risk of dementia in women.
-- Judith Beck
Has feminism changed science?
BY MARGARET WERTHEIM
Wertheim's reviews are less about the influence of
feminism on the practice of scientific investigation, and more about the prevalence of the
influence of "relativist" thinking in the history of science.
Given that she and others are able to reflect
on the role of cultural biases and conditioning in the
process of scientific analysis and discovery, is it not
obvious that, progressively, such biases will over time be
exposed, and the results which they shaded or caused to be
misrepresented will be shown to be false?
Her example is a near-perfect case of scientific
accuracy progressively increasing. And let us add that we
are looking at a relatively short span of scientific
history: It would be even more instructive to make a
catalogue of all the many hundreds of cultural biases on
record which have been similarly clarified in the slowly
accumulating body of observed objective reality over,
say, the last 3,000 years, and which no longer
cloud our collective understanding of reality.
To say that there is no cultural bias in scientific
investigation, or, indeed, in any other branch of human
discovery, would be absurd. But it is equally absurd to
argue that we are doomed to be hoodwinked by our cultural
biases permanently. It may very well be that we'll never be
entirely free from culturally induced hypothetical and
analytical errors, but it surely is the case that more and
more of them shall be exposed, and that the body of
objective understanding will be, progressively, more and
-- David Yancey
Games don't kill people -- do they?
BY GREG COSTIKYAN
Greg Costikyan's extremely well-thought-out article
hit the nail right on the head. As a 19-year-old who has been an avid computer
gamer for nearly 10 years, my thoughts have been those of Costikyan's:
Parents, politicians and gaming naysayers all chastise the games we play
and the people who play them simply because they did not grow up with the
technology. They do not understand the media, and more importantly, they do not realize that individuals who are playing these games are actually less harmful to society, as they are relieving their tensions and gaming proclivities through a mouse and keyboard rather
than a real arsenal. The gaming industry ought to seriously consider Costikyan's piece its mantra on the issue in the long and tedious government probes surely to ensue in the coming months.
-- Doug Leney