Put your pants back on!

Readers respond to "Bushes Against Bush," by Shanna Germain. Also, letters about Anne Lamott and a nurse's dispatch from Baghdad.

Published April 1, 2003 8:44PM (EST)

[Read "Bushes Against Bush," by Shanna Germain.]

If Shanna Germain wants to get naked in the mud with a bunch of other people, that's fine. I just wish these people wouldn't pretend they are doing it for peace. It's just one of those things that makes the whole antiwar movement look silly.

-- Shari Litsey

Apparently none of the organizers or participants in the nude peace protest consulted with anyone who knows Chinese. The character that they formed is only one of the characters in the two-word phrase for "peace." By itself the character actually means "flat" or "level"! Now if only the pro-war people could be so absent-minded...

In any case, though, kudos to the nude protesters for supporting a just and worthy cause! (For peace, of course, and not for "flat.")

-- Hong-Chang Liang

[Read "Baghdad Diary," by Cathy Breen.]

With all due respect to Ms. Breen's obvious compassion and commitment ... how many of Saddam's victims has she visited in the hospital? You know, the ones taken away from their families in the night, tortured, mutilated, abused, murdered ... often with their relatives forced to watch.

The injuries of innocents are horrific and terrible beyond words' ability to convey. Yet if the good people of the world refuse to do something about the architect of huge horrors and atrocities (how many dead at the hands of Saddam's secret police?), then still more innocent people will die at the hands of their own government, not ours.

The wounds these children have suffered are beyond regrettable. But to do nothing is to condemn countless other Iraqi citizens to equally horrible and unjust suffering under a totalitarian regime.

-- Roy Griffis

Cathy Breen surely writes of horrors of the bombs on Baghdad in a way to make this reader share her revulsion. I appreciate that; none of us should be allowed to ignore the injury of children.

But I wonder if she could manage to get her government handler to take her to the prisons where dissidents to the Iraqi regime are being reeducated or to visit the families of those in prison, executed or missing. Are there any children in those families? How do they feel? It is very difficult to find out about the victims of the regime's secret services; perhaps there are none and we are being misinformed about them. We need to know about them too to see if they are worthy of our sympathy. We found out after WWII that a number of people had suffered in Germany and elsewhere because of the fascist governments there.

-- Chuck Richey

Breen: Here's the answer.

Saddam and his Baath party have been responsible for the slow, deliberate strangulation of the children of Iraq for over 20 years. If you would prefer that this continue, indefinitely, and under his sadistic son Uday for the next 40 or so years, then I can understand your outrage. I'm sure you'll be long gone from Baghdad when the last victim of Saddam and his sons falls in 2040.

-- David Patterson

Ms. Breen,

You write movingly about the children of Iraq, some of them grievously wounded by bombings, some of them undoubtedly from coalition forces. They ask you whom to blame. The answer is simple: Saddam Hussein. Not George Bush. Saddam Hussein. He's the one who attacked Kuwait. He's the one who gassed and killed hundreds of thousands of his own people. He's the one who made his country an outcast in the international community. He's the reason they live in misery.

And he's a dangerous man at the head of a potentially very wealthy country. The Iraqi people, who are mostly innocent in this, did not take care of him, so we have to.

-- Benjamin Renaud

[Read "Good Friday World," by Anne Lamott.]

I am so thrilled that Annie Lamott is back writing for Salon. This is a strange time to be alive, to be reading the news, and most days I am afraid of what headlines I will read. Every time Annie's column is published, I get to take a few minutes away from that and sink into the tiny slip of a peaceful moment that she provides, and my soul gets a little slice of peace back. I am grateful for that today. So I say, thank God for Annie, for the comfort that she brings, and for the humanity that she shares. Maybe if we all keep listening for those little moments of peace, we can expand them and connect them, and soon there will be no more room for war in the peace that we have created.

Thanks for bringing Annie to me, and for your continued coverage of the things the mainstream doesn't want us to know about, and for your courage. It helps bolster mine.

-- Harmony

Dear Anne,

What a beautiful piece. Ache, forgive, live, find peace in the midst of it all. It's the first time I've read something about the war and didn't feel that deep plummeting sickness inside. It made me cry, for its strength in gentleness. For yours.

Thank you,

-- William Routhier

When I forwarded Anne Lamott's article to friends of mine, I titled the e-mail "A Flower in the Desert," because it was the only thing I've read lately that makes any sense. God bless Anne for sharing her insights with us. Her article is a shining example of why I subscribe to Salon; it made me a little less ashamed of being an American right now.

-- Dave Brackenbury

Dear Sir:

I force myself to get through these articles because I usually read most of what you put up on your site.

Do you get positive feedback from this kind of writing? Just curious. Knowing that someone actually likes this will make it possible for me to hug myself, buy myself a felt pen or maybe a pair of socks, and begin to love again. That is, unless it's raining, because that scares me, all the lightning and thunder and big nasty black clouds, but then I feel better because I know someday the sun will come out and warm the earth with its tender golden rays, and then I realize that hey, life is great and if we would all just love each other like I love everyone even though they don't love me, the world would be this great lovefest and that would be lovely, wouldn't it?

Until then, I am going to hide out at home with a big bucket of Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream until the world comes to its senses.

-- Brian Asmus, Taipei, Taiwan

By Salon Staff

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