Clods and Monsters

Kedwards offers no solution:Great story on the presidential election. ("Raging Bull," Michael Lacey, October 7). I work in politics, and I'm going insane right now. I can't wait until this election's over.

My view is that the world is better off without Saddam and his sons running Iraq, but obviously there's no way to prove it. I've got my complaints about the Bush administration and the way they run things, but imagine if the world had been on our side from day one, instead of pooh-poohing us through state-run media from the peanut gallery.

What if France, Germany, Russia and China understood the importance of ridding the world of Saddam? What if Canada and Mexico had the minimal stones to give us a unified Western Hemisphere front without having to send troops or incur any significant political cost? What if the U.N. decided it was an insult to its mission that Saddam had defied them for over a decade and sent some blue helmets to help out? What if Turkey had allowed us to run from its soil down through Fallujah in '03? What if Bush had actually thought a little bit about the postwar situation before it actually came about? Maybe Bush's democratic vision would actually be viable. Instead, the world wants us to fail, and we are failing, and it's deplorable no matter how you look at it.

But liberals have no answer either. All they do is point fingers and offer no solutions, especially Kedwards, who complained the troops had no body armor, then voted against the $87 billion supplemental. That really steams me!

I thought your story was one of the most well-balanced articles I've ever read in New Times. As a Bush supporter, I can say that I will vote for him while holding my nose and believing he is the lesser of the two evils.

Furthermore, I grew up just a mile from Michael Moore in Flint, Michigan, and remember his paper. He was then as he is now, one of the biggest assholes you will ever meet in your life. Michael Moore grew up as the fat kid everybody picked on, and therefore he developed either a hatred or cynicism for anything he could criticize. He will continue to find fault with anything he feels he can make into a movie.
Richard Kyle, Via the Internet

Pseudo-gonzo hit piece:"Raging Bullshit" would have been a better name for Mike Lacey's hit-piece on Michael Moore, which is filled with more misinformation and disinformation than a stump speech by Dubya himself.

Lacey's delivery is admittedly more amusing that Bush's, though perhaps not for the reason he believes; the overwrought, pseudo-gonzo prose cannot help but lead most readers to suspect that the article's author has been receiving his medication from Rush Limbaugh's former housekeeper.

But timing is everything, as the saying goes. And just the week before Lacey's piece appeared, Moore released his latest book, The Official Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader. In short, it completely shreds the attacks leveled by Lacey and his new best friend, David Hardy. Moore certainly doesn't need me or anyone else to defend his work, but there's just too many howlers in [the Hardy/Lacey] deranged diatribe to pass up.

For starters, Moore has never said or written anything stating that Saddam Hussein was anything less than a brutal SOB. Is it remarkable that David Hardy can edit a best seller excoriating Moore that does not contain a single pro-Hussein quote attributable to its target? Indeed, all along, Moore's point has been that Hussein was our SOB. Hussein was not a Marxist or a pro-Soviet SOB, nor was he a "jihadist" SOB. He was, for most of his career, a pro-United States SOB, just like Bin Laden during the Afghan conflict, and just like Manuel Noriega when he was helping the Contras terrorize Nicaragua while importing cocaine into this country. It is our foreign policy establishment that creates these regional, Third World Frankensteins who eventually break their chains and turn on their masters (just like the character in the Mary Shelley novel). Then, it becomes necessary to send in the Marines -- all in the name of "freedom and democracy."

Lacey's summarization of the results of the newspaper consortium looking into the last presidential election is a real corker. The consortium wasn't even formed for the purpose of determining whether "Bush stole the election"! It was formed for the purpose of determining whether Gore would have won the Florida election (and therefore the national election) if there had been a statewide recount, as Gore's team had argued before the various courts. Three guesses -- the first two don't count -- as to what the consortium's conclusion was.

Lastly, Mr. Lacey, you proclaim a newfound allegiance to Mexico. I wonder, have you bothered to ask the Mexican people what they think of this announcement? Or do you intend to impose yourself upon them, as George W. Bush has now imposed American rule upon Iraq?
Lee R. Poole, Phoenix

Network newshounds lie:I really enjoyed your article on the upcoming presidential race. I like to call myself a semi-moderate Republican. Your closing paragraphs go on about how we're failing in Iraq, but the funny thing for me is that I know a handful of people who served or are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and every time they get to come home on leave, they are astonished at how negatively the progress in Iraq is portrayed on network news.

They say that 95 to 99 percent of what is going on is positive and the only thing we get to see or read about is the other 1 to 5 percent about suicide car bombs, beheadings and the like.
Kelly Roszak, Ahwatukee

Put on a thinking cap:Obviously Michael Lacey doesn't have kids, or otherwise he'd be thinking of how to dump Bush. Not whether Kerry deserves his vote. Get off your high horse, Lacey, and think, idiot!
Jesse Sinaiko, Chicago

Dubya's a doof on TV:I recently read your article "Raging Bull," and I want to admit that I was one of those who fell into the trap of [Michael Moore's movie] Fahrenheit 9/11. I can't believe that happened to me. I consider myself an open-minded person and try to take everything I see and hear with a grain of salt. Never once did I question the information Michael was giving. He presented it so matter-of-factly.

Ever since Bush has been president, I think I've been judging him on how he speaks. Are all American Bush-haters bashing the president because he looks like a moron on TV? Is that fair without any other information? Absolutely not!

It's not all about people who look great on camera and can memorize a scripted speech. I think this country needs and wants an actor -- someone who looks pretty on stage. We need to be more alert about what we read and see on TV. Especially the kids coming up.

Your article woke me up. Neither of our selections this election year is worth a shit. At least Bush has taken the bull by the horns and decided to do something, although it's unfortunate that our citizens need to fight this war. But that is the price of freedom. Thank you for giving me another side to the story.

Yo soy Americano!
David S. Robinson, Phoenix

Learn to write, fool:Until now I have found New Times to be an informative alternative news source, which I have appreciated tremendously. I've most enjoyed the recent writings on Joe Arpaio's exploits as sheriff of Maricopa County, and I have found myself going out of my way every Thursday to get a copy to devour.

However, I have just finished reading "Raging Bull" by Michael Lacey, and I am thoroughly disappointed with his writing. My own point of view and opinion aside, his prose has me wondering exactly what junior college he attended to receive his writing certificate.

In this article, there is not one topic addressed. The article is an incoherent rambling of several topics that are vaguely related and very loosely tied together. The article was first about voting, then about Michael Moore, then about genocide, then . . .? This should have been either several different articles -- or one book.

How can he cite the 9/11 Commission's report to substantiate one of his claims, then disregard the validity of that same report later, within the same article, just because it contradicts his own personal agenda.

A recurring theme throughout this piece is the atrocities perpetuated by Saddam Hussein's regime, most specifically genocide. I do not know what it has to do with his lack of interest in voting, the candidates or even Michael Moore. Then, he strays onto ASU's art exhibit put on by a [radical] professor.

Lacey ends it all with: That he can't vote for either of these two candidates. I had completely forgotten he was writing about the candidates by this time. I had thought he'd changed topics to Michael Moore, justifying war and God knows what else! Please leave writing to those with a coherent idea of what it is that they are trying to express, no matter what their opinion may be. And to your editor[wholetthisgetpublished] . . . what the fuck?!
Chris Burns, Glendale

Look out for firebombs:I just wanted you to know that I thought "Raging Bull" was one of the best articles I have ever read. Unfortunately, those who should read it will once again turn a blind eye, and start planning on how they can fire bomb your office.

Best of luck. I can't recall when an election has turned so many people against one another. I just wish I could say that after the election we could move on, but I fear that is also just a pipe dream.
Sean Kirschenmann, Phoenix

A big shit sandwich:Like a true "raging bull," Michael Lacey came out wind milling at everything that moves in his polemic. Yep, there's a lot of blame to go around, a big shit sandwich to be eaten, and nobody feels obliged to take a bite. It's easier just to point fingers at others for creating it.

Well, at least one knows where you stand, albeit that's considerably to the right of where I stand, and I'm not one of those bleeding-heart, self-righteous liberals you decry. Fact is, I'm considerably left of most of them, which is actually not that far left since politics in this country have been skewed so far right over the last decade or two.

Yes, there is a faction of Islamic fanatics who seriously want to hurt us, but I personally don't consider them that big a threat at this point. I do consider those who want to implement a police state, step-by-step, through popular fear of them my enemy. The latter are a monster the United States has nurtured by its neo-imperialist policies. We want puppet governments abroad, and we will do anything to secure them, be it via buying friends or instilling fear of our sheer military muscle in as many Third World countries as we can.

A lot of people like you are chagrined by the shit coming down in Iraq. Believe me, you ain't seen nothin' yet! Soon, the real shit's going to hit the fan. I, too, am dismayed, but not surprised because I've seen it coming.
A. Wayne Senzee, Via the Internet

Georgie's the real wuss:I take issue with the cover of your October 7 issue. Calling John Kerry, a decorated war hero, a "wuss" is offensive. In contrast, George W's daddy enabled him to evade his military service altogether, so who's the real wuss here?

Branding a man who has courage, values, morality and humanity as a "wuss" is typical of Republican low tactics. The Republicans can't debate Kerry on substantive grounds so they have to attack his character. Your newspaper should be above buying into that kind of trash.
Mark Broder, Mesa

Liberals aren't "muddled":Let me get this straight . . . in his 22-page cover commentary, Michael Lacey is upset because, among other things:

a) The New York Times contained the words "weapons of mass destruction" more often than the words "mass graves" at a time when the badness of Saddam Hussein is taken for granted and everyone (the leadership of both parties, media talking-heads and citizenry) have been attempting to establish or undercut the Bush administration's casus belli -- the existence of weapons of mass destruction.

b) Domestic political dissidents chose to criticize their own policymakers' recalcitrance in continuing to push a failed oil embargo, rather than line up outside Iraqi embassies in a futile attempt to embarrass an unabashed foreign dictator who was, predictably, siphoning off Oil For Food funds. (This embargo is estimated by international humanitarian organizations to have caused half a million Iraqi civilian deaths when funding for state-run hospitals, clinics, and pharmaceutical firms dried up.)

Lacey seems to have forgotten that it was those awful lefties, not the U.S. conservative movement, who were most stridently upset when in 1988 Saddam Hussein gassed a whole Kurdish town. Until that embarrassing incident, the U.S. government had been moderately supportive of Iraq's suppression of leftist Kurdish rebels (who were also waging a guerilla war of secession across the border in Turkey, another U.S. ally), just as it had supported Iraq in its war against Iran and in the suppression of its own Shiite majority (who sympathized with and might have emulated Iran).

Lacey is perhaps understandably upset, since the left has since moved on to other issues, such as whether the president is to be trusted -- whereas conservatives can only hope that everyone will remember what a bad, bad man Saddam Hussein was and forget that the official rationale for the war was strategic, not humanitarian.

Now, if only Mr. Lacey will ask himself how many mass-graves are said to exist within the borders of Red China, and why the issue of communist atrocities is no longer of rhetorical importance to U.S policymakers now that China is an important source of cheap labor for U.S.-owned multinational companies. Could it be that the left is more astute than "muddled" in its cynicism?
Mark Adkins, Phoenix

Moore's immoral, not Bush:Bravo Michael Lacey! This was the most refreshingly "journalistic" article I've read in this millennium. I wish more people would stand up against genocide anywhere. It appears Mr. Moore's in favor of diabolical people such as Hussein. It calls Mr. Moore's morals into question infinitely more than the president's.
Caroline Butler, Via the Internet

You're biased, not Moore:Who is Michael Lacey, to judge Michael Moore and what he does? Granted, he is just another source of misinformation, but no more so than the 9/11 Commission Report. Does Lacey really think that the government report isn't protecting a vested interest? How dare he slander one man by presenting "facts" from a biased source!

I love to read New Times, but this article, "Raging Bull," is the most worthless piece of crap I've ever read. I thought you had a grasp on what was going on in the world. But this article proved that Michael Lacey is just like any writer from any other corporate owned, full-of-shit rag.
James Sheehan, Via the Internet

Stop whining and vote:It's easy enough to find fault with candidates and politics in general, which is why, perhaps, so many choose to be cynical. However, Michael Lacey seems unaware that his decision not to choose is itself a powerful choice in favor of the status quo. In fact, this argument favors reactionary politicians and agendas, which are furthered when voter participation is lowered.

Be disgusted all you like, but don't think it's an excuse for abrogating your own responsibilities, or those of your readers. If this country is led down a dark path, we will have not only politicians and voters to blame, but the millions who stood by and were content to whine.
Ryan Smith, Battle Creek, Michigan

Kerry can learn, Bush can't:Thank you Michael Lacey for your insights and for having the guts to write them down. I want to say, je suis francaise . . . but it's not true. I am not thinking with enthusiasm of going to the polls, but I will still vote.

I think Kerry is a wuss, too, and I wish someone in his campaign would lock Kerry's wife in a closet. But at least he might be able to see truth in what you wrote, and change. I don't think Bush could ever get there.
Linda Watson, New York


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