Letters

Salon readers blast the president's speech. Plus: Is anyone grokkin' the Supreme Court's Grokster decision?


Salon Staff
July 1, 2005 12:31AM (UTC)

[Read "Mission Continued," by David Paul Kuhn.]

I am a Republican. And like many other Republicans, I am scared. I am scared that my president has lost even a fleeting relationship with reality. I want terrorism stopped, and I fear now that he is making it broader.

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Why did he even give the address? What did he tell us? How many times are we going to be asked to pretend there was a connection between 9/11 and Iraq?

I believed my president when he took leadership after 9/11. I no longer believe that he knows what is going on.

-- Matthew Roche

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I wish that I could be surprised that President Bush says the sacrifice of our soldiers is "worth it," when he doesn't have a horse in the race. As far as I know, he doesn't have to wonder whether he'll find out one of these days that a son, daughter, father, mother, niece, or nephew is dead because of an improvised explosive device or a shortage of armor.

-- Lorcan Murphy

With regard to the president's "resolve" to "stay the course," etc.:

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First: It may indeed be true that fighting the war in Iraq makes us (temporarily) safer at home. Terrorists need no longer travel to America in order to attack us: We have offered them a convenient nearby target. Will the cynicism of this ever be spelled out, or will we continue to hear only of the brave sacrifice of "our" soldiers? (They really are "our" soldiers for us in Vermont, who have furnished more than our share of National Guard for Iraq. My tiny village of 1,300 people has 63 men there this year.) Say it loud, and say it proud, if you can: We are sending our young people to Iraq to be targets so that terrorists won't find us here at home.

Second: Bush seems to operate on the assumption that "terrorists" exist in finite supply, and if we kill them all, that will be the end of it. But just because the U.S. armed services are having a problem with recruitment doesn't mean that al-Qaida and its allies are. Just as the "war on drugs" will never be won simply by targeting the poppy fields and the users, but only by addressing the conditions that make drug cultivation and drug use attractive, so the "war on terror" can never be won simply by slaughtering more and more people.

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-- Linda M. Maloney

Most discussion of the future prospects for the war in Iraq, including the president's speech Tuesday night, involves acknowledging the objectives of a democratic government there and an army and police force capable of assuring peaceful conditions. We are far from that state of affairs. And it promises to cost plenty in lives and dollars to get there.

But that might not be even half of it. What is neglected in this future projection is the fact that the United States is going to continue to insist upon major permanent military bases there. Some suspect that this issue of permanent military bases was a main reason for the war in the first place, Israel and Saudi Arabia each having its own drawbacks.

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Whatever the origin of this underpublicized objective, it will prove to be an extremely costly one. After all, this is not like taking over and setting up shop in the Philippines 100 years ago. We profess to insist on a democratic government in Iraq, but it will be a popularly elected government that agrees to major permanent U.S. military bases.

-- Jack Vast-Binder

[Read "Supreme Court's Unsound Decision," by Siva Vaidhyanathan.]

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With all due respect to Siva Vaidhyanathan and the others bemoaning the Supreme Court's decision, I find the idea laughable that future inventors will not be able to distinguish between such technologies as the VCR and the iPod, which are designed for legit use but could be used for copyright infringement, and businesses like Grokster or Kazaa, which use technologies primarily to make money off copyright infringement. Yes, a few such inventors may be stifled, but only because they are not motivated to truly work out this challenge in their minds.

Those who simply dismiss any technological innovation in the future as potentially risky are suffering from the same sort of knee-jerk, cover-your-ass ideology that drives some municipalities to ban the private religious use of public lands, because they don't want to put the mental effort into interpreting what are actually pretty straightforward Supreme Court rulings regarding the free exercise of religion.

The Supreme Court cannot simply hand down a blanket decision on the use of technology and copyright infringement, any more than it can issue a blanket statement about religion in America. State funds going to an exclusive religious monument, and companies that use technology primarily to profit off copyright infringement, are no-no's, while a private group holding a baptism at a public park (which has been defended by the ACLU) and a VCR or an iPod are perfectly acceptable.

Read together and in context, the Betamax decision and the Grokster decision create a very clear picture of what is and is not acceptable.

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The Supreme Court's job is not to absolve citizens of the need to think.

-- Michael Moroneso

I respectfully disagree with Siva Vaidhyanathan's article on the Supreme Court decision in MGM vs. Grokster. The piece reflects only one side of a complex issue. I am a composer-musician and I depend on intellectual property rights to feed my family. Check out Tuesday's New York Times editorial on the same subject and compare it to your piece. I think they got it right.

-- Charles Bernstein

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