Readers respond to recent articles on Kissinger, DiIulio, McDonald's and McVeigh.

By Salon Staff
Published December 7, 2002 9:29PM (EST)

[Read "The Day Henry Kissinger Cried" by Stephen Talbot.]

I read your interesting and astonishing article about Kissinger.

The "domino theory" question at the end stunned me. I'm disappointed in not reading the follow-up question from Talbot: "So, why were we in Vietnam in the first place?" (Of course, with no mention of "war criminal.")

Peripherally, I just saw again the David Frost Nixon interviews. Frost asked (in 1977) whether the domino theory had finally been discredited, since Southeast Asia had not all gone Communist. Nixon replied, "Let's wait another five years."

In 2002, we have a peaceful, growing Vietnam. What confused, paranoid, "men's men" we tragically elected -- and in 1968, too.

-- Kamalesh Thakker

This article made me cry. Kissinger is truly a heartless sociopath, and it was an unbelievably cynical slap in the face to the victims' families, as well as to all Americans, for Bush to appoint him to head the 9/11 commission.

How fitting that a president who avoided service in Vietnam would appoint a man who cavalierly dismisses so much war blood soaking his hands and his personal history.

-- Nancy Wiebe

My only criticism of your commentary was the last bit about the current Bush knowing "all about" Kissinger. I am skeptical of Bush knowing any modern history -- or any history, for that matter -- nor how it's doomed to repeat itself.

-- Christine Severson

Thank you so much for the Kissinger article. Articles like this are the reason that I subscribe to Salon Premium. Where else am I going to hear the truth?

-- Robert Nevitt

[Read "Bold Words From a Wobbly Man" by Joan Walsh.]

John DiIulio fits the classic mold of a "useful idiot" for a devious, secretive government. He is also an idiot savant -- an ivory-tower intellectual who seems sincerely to believe that the folksy posturing of a shrewd politician is the sign of genuine piety. He is thus a useful idiot savant.

-- Coby Lubliner

DiIulio's creepy apologies to the White House would present little surprise to TV news viewers in foreign lands. Part of the process of a White House visit by foreign statesmen in the Bush II era has become the televised acknowledgment by the visiting foreigner of all that is wise and good about Bush, particularly in his lead against the war against terror.

The visitors unfailingly look as though, just off camera, somebody is holding a pistol to the head of their favorite child. It's more likely, though, that it's been explained to them that this unprecedented groveling will help their country benefit through trade agreements.

This explanation, if correct, is threat and bribery on a global scale. The justification for suggesting it is the peculiarly unconvincing way in which the visitors praise their host.

-- Paul Lynch

Joan Walsh believes that DiIulio should apologize to the American public. But I wonder about all those journalists who daily sit before Ari Fleischer -- do they ever ask him for an explanation of such Soviet-style tactics as were worked successfully on DiIluio?

I wonder if it isn't the press, who on a daily basis grovel to this administration, that makes such grotesqueries possible. They should either ask the hard questions or themselves apologize to the American public.

-- Edward Ryan

[Read "Falling Arches" by Michelle Goldberg.]

Wow. I thought there was no good news anymore until I read your article about the McDonald's bombings. If extremists -- or even just people with healthy taste buds -- could torch every McDonald's in existence without hurting any personnel, and blow up all the KFCs to boot, the world could only become a better place.

The only thing that irks me, as an American, is that McDonald's and Americanism are considered synonymous. I've lived in America all my 47 years, and I never gave that corporation permission to represent my culture. I haven't even eaten at a McDonald's since I became old enough to know better. Let the world know that many of us Americans consider corporations like McDonald's oppressive alien entities. And pass the gasoline!

-- Kyle Gann

[Read "Did Timothy McVeigh Have Iraqi Helpers?" by Eric Boehlert.]

I understand that the Oklahoma City bombing does not reverberate very strongly in the minds of most Americans. Compared to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the tragedy of April 19, 1995, now seems important only in that it helped to better prepare intelligence and emergency workers for post-terrorism readiness.

The Oklahoma City bombing registers very strongly for me. I am from Norman, Okla., and was going to school at the University of Oklahoma on the day of the bombing. April 19, 1995, was my 20th birthday.

I find the allegations of Iraqi conspiracy very unsettling in their bald attempts to politicize a human tragedy. The circumstantial evidence quoted, be it 2,000 pages' worth or 2 million, does not account for two basic failings in its logic: one, that McVeigh's copy of "The Turner Diaries" did not classify Arabs as Caucasians, and two, that the date's significance -- the two year anniversary of the raid of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas -- holds no special importance to Iraq that we know of. McVeigh mentioned it frequently.

To use this event to foment hatred for all things Arab, or to attempt to add anecdotal justification to an invasion of Iraq, is to capitalize on the deaths of 168 Americans who, perhaps not coincidentally, were murdered by a fanatically right-wing, white American man.

-- Rick Lockett

Another reason right wingers are so keen on the supposed McVeigh-Iraqi connection is the hope that McVeigh's beliefs and actions will be distanced from their own political views. The truth is that Timothy McVeigh was the end product of rhetoric that the right still uses to further its interests.

-- Bill Faulk

[Read "Day of the Dead" by Max Blumenthal.]

Thank you for reminding me why I became a Salon Benefactor. This is investigative reporting at its best.

I hope this gets picked up by other media, and I hope there's a followup. This is exactly the nightmare scenario that NAFTA opponents envisioned: If you set up a place that's attractive to corporations because it's cheap and unregulated, the people they exploit will be lucky to get indifference from their employers. There's no transportation for the workers because that costs money. There's no attempt to care for the employees or follow up on their disappearance because that costs money, and the employees are disposable -- there's no shortage of desperate people to take their place on the lines. Nobody should be surprised that this has happened, but everyone should be outraged.

Give 'em hell, boys and girls. And again, thank you.

-- James Robinson

Salon Staff

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