The plague abettors

By David Horowitz

Published June 15, 2001 6:16PM (EDT)

Read the story.

What you will read in a David Horowitz column is the implied statement that the stance of the radical left was motivated by a desire to protect their right to have promiscuous sex. What you will NOT read in a David Horowitz column is an in-depth analysis of all the motivating factors that shaped the initial response to the gay movement.

What you will never read in a David Horowitz column is that in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, the religious right felt that the disease was God's retribution to gays. What you will never read in a David Horowitz column is that the anti-gay bias of the U.S. government did more to hasten the spread of the disease than the "gay radical left." What you will never read in a David Horowitz column is that the reason there was a need for a "politically correct" stance is that in this disease, the victims were perhaps more vilified by society than the disease itself.

-- Keven Vicknair

It is astonishing that David Horowitz completely ignores the sharing of needles by IV drug users as a mode of transmission of HIV. In doing so, he undermines any point he was trying to make in his article. The truth is that HIV has spread due to needle sharing and to people of all persuasions having unprotected sex with people they do not know well enough to trust.

AIDS is a preventable disease. If African-American and Latino communities want to take action against HIV, they would be better served examining sex and drug-taking attitudes and behaviors within their own neighborhoods rather than pointing fingers of blame at urban gay communities.

-- Margot Corrigan

It's a shame Mr. Horowitz must resort to such brazen attacks to say what is relatively a minor point. Yes, the queer community did attempt to block some of the early efforts from public health officials to intervene. This fact is hardly hidden; Horowitz is not discovering some massive gay leftist conspiracy. Once again, with political and personal attacks he manages to offend those who might otherwise listen to him. I'm afraid that his never-ending quest for more open dialogue shall continue its current course: driving the left to rage and making the right feel smug and self-righteous. But perhaps that's what Horowitz wants after all.

--Allan Friedman

David Horowitz's venom toward the left undermines a sound and convincing argument. By weaving his own contempt for lefty politics, the "immorality" of sexual promiscuity, the "homosexual agenda" and his own radical past into an otherwise well-researched column on why efforts to prevent the AIDS virus went wrong, Horowitz betrays the virulence of his own views.

That's why reading Horowitz is so confounding. One can never separate his anger from his arguments, and because his hatred for the left is so embedded in his research -- in his very thought processes -- taking anything he says at face value is virtually impossible. It's depressing to contemplate how such a great mind became so vengeful.

--Jason Owens

My initial reaction to David Horowitz's commentary "The plague abettors" was of anger and thoughts that Mr. Horowitz has no idea what he is talking about. But as I kept reading, I realized, as I have known for some time now, that he is right. The PC rhetoric about AIDS is indeed what has fostered the spread of this disease to other communities, and we in the gay community have to face up to the fact that we had the power to stop the spread. Until the gay community stops dancing around the fact that we could have stopped this plague and take responsibility for our actions, this disease will never truly end. The guise of sexual liberation for what many gay men practice (promiscuity, multiple partners) is killing us. It is time to stop the PC lies and own up to our responsibilities to society.

-- Michael Burgreen

Read The mystery of John Doe No. 2

The author of the following letter wrote a book that Salon writer David Neiwert criticized in his story.

I request a right of reply, since David Neiwert carried out a hit-and-run on a book I wrote four years ago about the corruption of the Clinton administration, and more importantly because he traduced those who have done the best work to get to the truth about the Oklahoma bombing,

Neiwert seems to want to have it both ways. He seems to fuel suspicion that the FBI has not come entirely clean about the Oklahoma bombing. In doing so he borrows heavily from the magisterium of documents and witness testimony collected by Oklahoma journalist John Cash and bombing victim Glenn Wilburn, whose two grandchildren died in the day-care center. He borrows, but he defaults on payment of the debt. Instead he pirouettes to kick them in the groin.

None of us who have delved far into this case claim to know exactly who carried out the bombing, or why. We have merely present -- or rather presented -- evidence that the FBI did not tell the truth. I left America four years ago and have not followed the ins and outs of the Oklahoma story, but I must protest at the cavalier assertion that Carol Howe -- the ATF's undercover informant -- has been discredited. I know that a huge effort was made to discredit her after she emerged as the prospective star witness in the McVeigh trial. (Ultimately, Judge Matsch, who I regard as one of the central villains of this saga, refused to let her testify.) She was prosecuted on trumped-up explosives charges by the U.S. Justice Department, though the prosecutors knew perfectly well that the explosives in question had been given to her by the ATF in the first place as part of her federal government cover.

Fortunately, she was acquitted. It strikes me that she held up very well under the attack. As for her allegations, they are contained in official ATF and FBI documents that came to light as a result of legal discovery in the course of her trial. The documents speak for themselves. They reveal that she had penetrated a group of violent neo-Nazis bent on blowing up federal buildings in Oklahoma.

Neiwert says the FBI conducted 35,000 interviews. Perhaps he could explain why they did not interview a group of people with ties to McVeigh who were overheard by a paid [government] informant planning to blow up federal buildings, and who were already listed in FBI archive documents as having the technical capability of detonating large ANFO bombs.

And perhaps he could explain why the FBI intervened in February 1995 to stop these individuals being arrested by the ATF, when the ATF quite rightly decided it was time to stop them? It is not Carol Howe who has some explaining to do; it is the FBI. As a liberal magazine, I should have thought Salon would agree.

-- Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

By Salon Staff

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