Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, April 23, 2003 at 1:00am

Arena Football, yes; WNBA, no


I read this past weekend a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) franchise is possible for Nashville. The Gaylord Entertainment Center would be the place where they would play.

I think this would be good for women's sports, but I believe an Arena Football League team here would do much better. Bud Adams and the Gaylord Entertainment staff should work out a deal so we can have this sport back where it belongs.

A failed basketball league has played at the Municipal Auditorium with empty seats. An Arena Football team back in Music City is what the area needs, not a basketball team. Please bring back the fun and excitement.



Patriotism is not gag order


I wish to share a few thoughts with Jonah Goldberg in response to his April 15 commentary "The antiwar crowd has lots of explaining to do."

Patriotism is a love for one's country. It is not a weapon, nor is it a gag order against those citizens who speak out when they feel their government is not acting in their best interest. The brand of national pride Goldberg displays with statements like "I want to rub it in the antiwar crowd's face so badly" was explained best by Alexis de Tocqueville: "It is impossible to conceive a more troublesome or more garrulous patriotism; it wearies even those who are disposed to respect it."

The U.S. government has a long history of destroying dictators that it has armed and supported until they outlive their usefulness and profitability to U.S. interests. There was never any question that Saddam Hussein is a murderous tyrant, nor that Saddam's regime would be decimated by a U.S. attack.

What millions of Americans - and countless millions around the world - object to so passionately is the arrogant, hardheaded, "my way or the highway" attitude adapted by the current administration. At the same time we rush to claim that we have "liberated" Iraq and brought the Iraqis their long-awaited "freedom," the government we installed in Afghanistan is crumbling, and Osama bin Laden is still at large. The question many of us ask is simply, why now?

The most troubling reason, of course, is that the administration has convinced the majority of U.S. citizens that Saddam was responsible for Sept. 11, 2001, despite a complete lack of credible evidence - as the CIA will confirm. Reinforcing this belief ensures that the U.S. public stay fearful, reactionary and glued to its television, awaiting the latest Pentagon-approved bombing footage, field reports and poll numbers. It also ensures that we don't ask any questions of our leaders about their fiscal irresponsibility, our decayed economy, and pending environmental disasters.

What good is the liberation of a hundred children from a gulag when we have slaughtered many times that number to rescue them? What good is the successful routing of a dictator when we, having forsaken and angered our allies, now have to foot the entire bill for rebuilding Iraq at a time when our nation runs a deficit in the billions? How can a government claim to support its troops when it cuts veterans benefits to pay for the war? What good is an administration that sees war as an inevitability and hence an opportunity for profit?

Perhaps the administration will soon answer these questions and prove that it has a coherent plan for rebuilding our own ravaged country. If it is anything like the convoluted, improvisatory plan for Iraq's reconstruction we've seen so far, patriots are wise to be skeptical.



It will take time for Iraq democracy


We Americans strongly favor democracy, freedom of the press, religion, etc., and rightly so. When our great country came into existence 200 years ago, most nations were ruled by some sort of authoritarian system. Today there are over 100 democracies in the world. The United States has been a fine example and has used its influence for good. But it has taken time - a lot of time.

Our revolution from Great Britain was so successful because each colony had its own legislature with people experienced in making laws and governing. However, in South America countries with an illiterate, inexperienced populace ended up with some dictator when the colonial yoke was overthrown. Later the same thing happened in Africa.

What can we expect in Iraq? Are they ready for democracy? Should we force it on them? What about women's rights? Remember, it was 120 years before women were given the right to vote in the United States. Religion plays a strong part in Iraqi life. What should we expect here?

It takes time for public opinion to change. Spain brought the tomato from South America to Europe in the 1500s. In many areas it was thought to be poisonous and was cultivated only for animal food. It was in the 1800s before it was fully accepted for human consumption.

It takes time for public opinion to change. To push too fast in Iraq would be inconsiderate, irresponsible and dangerous.



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