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April 8, 2005 | Page 4

"Liberty" for corporations
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What "turning point" in Iraq?

Media bow to "right to life"

ONE OF the most striking aspects of the media's coverage of the Terri Schiavo debacle has been the huge amount of attention they have given the so-called "right-to-life" protesters.

The media's portrayal of these protests has been remarkably even-handed and positive. Protest leaders, such as Operation Rescue's Randall Terry, have been interviewed respectfully and at length; even parents who arranged to have their minor children arrested in front of TV cameras have been depicted as heroic.

Compare this to the media's treatment of recent antiwar demonstrations. The media consistently downplayed antiwar protests, underreporting the numbers of protesters. What coverage the media have given has focused on unrepresentative acts of literal or symbolic violence--scenes of protesters scuffling with police, of black-clad young people smashing windows, of protestors burning American flags, and so on. And antiwar spokespeople are almost never interviewed or asked to comment about anything.

The result is that while "right-to-life" protesters are portrayed as brave citizens standing up for a just cause, antiwar demonstrators are depicted as a roiling, inarticulate mob bent on violence. Can anyone think of a more flagrant example of right-wing media bias?
Dennis Fritz, Laredo, Texas

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"Liberty" for corporations

AT THE end of your article about Bush's hypocrisy in addressing the Lebanon issue you stated, "What the U.S. is spreading in the Middle East isn't democracy. It's the ironfisted grip of U.S. imperialism ("Hypocrisy on the march," March 11).

While I certainly agree with this assessment, there is another interpretation I have long held. What the neocons and their figurehead Bush are aiming for is nothing less than worldwide, unregulated, pseudo-free market capitalism. They speak of democracy, but have no intention of allowing it to get in their way.

When Bush speaks of liberty, what he means is the liberty of U.S. corporations to control and profit from all forms of industry in any country they choose--for example, Coke trying to control water rights in parts of Asia.

What gives them the right to even attempt such a thing? As a U.S. citizen, I have never wished for anything in my entire life as much as I wish for this undemocratic, un-American idea to fail--to fail so badly it will never be tried again.
Don Groves, Oregon City, Ore.

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Thanks for your paper

YOUR NEWSPAPER and the topics it covers are excellent. It's important to me to delve into theoretical issues including the subject of the environment and its relationship to imperialist policies. Greetings from the city of Salta in Argentina.
Héctor Rodríguez, Salta, Argentina

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What "turning point" in Iraq?

THE JANUARY 30, 2005, election is proclaimed to be the turning point of the war in Iraq. Believing the Bush administration's propaganda about it, Congress asked for a schedule to withdraw the U.S. troops the next day. The administration protested that withdrawal would only broaden the war.

George W. Bush is correct. Most of the voters thought this would speed the departure of the occupying army, and the remainder supported one side of the existing civil war: the side backed by the Americans.

Civil war has never required a majority. Twenty percent of the population kicked off the American Revolution, and historians agree there was never more than one-third actively supporting the victors.

Many turning points have been proclaimed in the Iraq war. The death of Saddam Hussein's sons was applauded as one. It was not. Capturing Saddam Hussein was alleged to be one. It was not. That absurd Constitution of June 2004 was another one. Just read it to discover why it was not. Most recently, leveling Falluja to "save it" was advertised as the biggest turning point of all.

Iraq has cost the U.S. more than $160 billion so far. Over 1.350 U.S. soldiers have died. About 10,000 have been wounded. Less publicized, on January 11, 2005, it was reported that over 5,000 U.S. troops have deserted.

The Iraqi rebels have 40,000 hardcore fighters, supported by 200,000 part-time fighters and volunteers. The U.S. has about 120,000 troops engaged in Iraq now. This one-to-three ratio in active combatants supported by a population core is substantially superior to the ratio of Viet Cong forces to U.S. troop strength throughout the Vietnam War.

There were 1,400 attacks on U.S. troops in September 2004. There were 1,600 attacks on U.S. troops in October 2004. There were 1,950 attacks on U.S. troops in November 2004. It isn't better. It's getting worse. One might believe we are not welcome.
Richard Geffken, Sumter Correctional Institution, Bushnell, Fla.

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