letters to the editor 88.
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Bravery & obsession
Sir, - Wendy Blumfield has helped women to become good mothers, and she is again an example of bravery ("Blitz veterans' stiff upper lip made coping with Katyushas easier," September 7).
In the same issue Shmuley Boteach hit rock bottom with his distasteful oedipal mammary obsession ("The day I became the breast-feeding monster").
We deserve better
Sir, - As the mother of a son who served in Lebanon and had to buy necessary items that the army didn't have, and as a northerner who for one month either sat on my stairway or sheltered with relatives, I was angry at Ehud Olmert and his government about how they didn't fight this war. But I didn't go out to protest because of depression and laziness.
("Olmert agrees to lift Lebanon blockade," September 7) pushed me onto the streets. The PM is ending the blockade even though the army believes we must continue with it. He is doing so because of international pressure.
The blockade is one of the few cards we hold in order to negotiate the return of our kidnapped soldiers. This government is made up of people who have no ideology and make decisions based on pressure and what their PR advisers suggest. In one of the most difficult periods in our country's short history we deserve better than this.
Sir, - What did Elhanan Tennenbaum have that the current Israelis being held prisoner don't?
Having abandoned their unconditional release, why aren't we getting our soldiers back in return for lifting the blockade? Impotence, the hallmark of this government, leads to capitulation.
Sir, - Re "Kadima rolls out mini-think tank to plan party policy" (September 7): Will this tank receive the anti-missile armor protection the Merkava didn't?
Sir, - As one of the world's foremost proponents of human rights and an internationally respected jurist, I am sure Richard J. Goldstone would agree that absence of evidence of guilt is not evidence of innocence ("Cheap shot at HRW," Letters, September 7). I refer to Human Rights Watch's findings that there was no evidence of a Hizbullah military presence in incidents it investigated where there were civilian casualties.
This is not surprising. According to the neutral Global Security Organization, mobile rocket launchers fire from preplanned positions and return within a few minutes to protected caves, or proceed to alternative firing positions. The Australian Sunday Herald ran pictures showing Hizbullah men riding in on arms-laden trucks and using high-density residential areas as launch pads for rockets and heavy-caliber weapons; and then, dressed as civilians, quickly melting into the background.
Moreover, HRW's investigators, by HRW's own admission, were not present when any of the incidents occurred but relied on locals, who may well be biased. ("How do we know? Through the same techniques we use in war zones around the world to cut through people's incentive to lie. We probed and cross-checked multiple eyewitnesses, many of whom talked openly of Hizbullah's presence elsewhere but were adamant that Hizbullah was not at the scene of the attack" - "Indiscriminate bombardment," Kenneth Roth, UpFront, August 17.)
If Judge Goldstone visits Gerald Steinberg's NGO Monitor site (www.ngo-monitor.org) I am sure he will be convinced that its conclusions are based on methodology of the highest academic standards.
Sir, - Amnesty and HRW have redefined the use of any advanced weaponry as a "war crime," the interrogation of any prisoner as "torture," and the prosecution of any inchoate terror plot as "persecution." In other words, they want to make it impossible to combat, investigate or prosecute terrorists, especially Islamist ones.
Perhaps the Europeans can make sense of such moral inversions, living as they do in places where police issue non-contestable fines for anti-social behavior ("ASBOs") but serious assaults, robberies, car theft and other crimes routinely go unprosecuted.
I applaud Prof. Alan Dershowitz for having the time and patience to respond to these latest absurd pronouncements of AI and Human Rights Watch. Such organizations used to expose human rights abuses. Lately, they've been inventing them ("Amnesty International redefines 'war crimes,'" August 31).
Here we go again
Sir, - One can readily agree with Michael Freund's comments on the eventual fate of Osama bin Laden and the extreme form of Islam his movement represents ("Laughing at Lenin and Osama," September 6). But despite the glittering shops and even the appearance of kosher restaurants in Moscow, we must be concerned.
Ultra-nationalist forces in Russia as well as Belarus are given free rein, and perpetrators of racist and anti-Semitic violence are seldom punished. Ukraine, long the center of virulent anti-Semitism, seems to be moving in the same direction.
Soviet Communism may have been defeated, but the West quietly watches what may prove to be an inexorable descent into state fascism in much of the old Soviet empire.
Not too soon for 9/11 movie
Sir, - In her review of United 93 (Cine File, Billboard, September 1) and in "Silver screen reflection" (UpFront, September 8) Hannah Brown and Emanuel Levy touched on the question of whether a 9/11 movie came out "too soon," a concern I find somewhat puzzling. No parameter, after all, exists to define when the intriguing mixture of history, fact and art is best forged. If anything, I'd rather be witness to actual events while they're still relatively fresh rather than blurred by legend and hearsay.
Mention, too, was made of the seeming paralysis that gripped the American military, and that a quicker, more decisive response might have resulted in a less tragic outcome. That is subject to debate, but for us here, the issue of timely response is, of course, critical.
Yet the American government can be excused for scratching its collective head in confusion on that fateful September morning. A scenario of four commercial airliners being simultaneously hijacked and converted into manually-operated guided missiles? It could hardly have been conceived as plausible, let alone likely.
Uncut hotdog and other foes
Sir, - Re "Law mandates food warnings to prevent children's choking" (September 6): I can't wait to see the statistical data and polls telling us that infants and toddlers have been ignoring labels on foods. This new law has to be one of the most idiotic recent additions to Israeli bureaucracy.
It's not food labels that will prevent choking, but mass education campaigns via TV, radio and other media.
A parent in a rush to get dinner on the table isn't really interested in reading the small print on food packaging. The money spent by food companies and government on conforming to and enforcing this new law would be better used to prevent needless deaths of our men and women in the IDF by augmenting their training to fight more risky adversaries than the uncut hotdog.