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Views in brief

April 28, 2006 | Page 12

Bush's plans for Iraq
Mozart's problematic politics

Smothering antiwar debate

ON APRIL 12, Vermont House Democrats killed the Vermont Guard resolution for the second year running. The resolution would have mandated six public hearings around the state on the deployment of the Vermont National Guard to Iraq.

A year ago, more than 50 Vermont towns voted in favor of this resolution. On the eve of the final vote in the legislature, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and other party leaders intervened to scuttle the resolution on a procedural vote.

This year, faced with a new, much stronger resolution in the legislature backed by antiwar forces calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, Democratic leaders professed confidence that the weaker National Guard measure would pass. But the party's aim to keep debate on the bipartisan war safely contained prevailed again as the Appropriations Committee rejected the bill.

Democratic Chairwoman Martha Heath agreed with National Guard commander Brig. Gen. Michael Dubie that if the resolution were to pass, the hearings would have to be tightly run in order to prevent them from becoming an "antiwar forum."

Another Democratic Committee member not only voted against the resolution, saying that six forums were too many, but said that he resented the 25 phone calls he received from constituents in support of it. "I just found that very distasteful," he said. So much for accountability.

Meanwhile, the state's top Democrats intervened elsewhere to squelch yet another grassroots effort--this time an initiative to impeach George Bush. Antiwar activists passed resolutions in eight Democratic county committees this spring that called on the Democratic-controlled Vermont legislature to initiate impeachment proceedings against Bush. Under current U.S. House rules, impeachment proceedings would commence upon receipt of a resolution adopted by a state legislature.

Democratic leaders wanted nothing to do with this. The State Committee swiftly gutted the resolution by turning it into a purely symbolic statement. While congratulating themselves for calling for Bush's impeachment, the leadership successfully removed all the teeth and any reference to the legislature acting to force the issue in Congress.

Vermont's Democratic party has once more undermined popular initiative in order to smother debate about the war.
Cynthia Little and Paul Fleckenstein, Burlington, Vt.

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Bush's plans for Iraq

WHAT IS the future of Iraq? Not good. The best outlook is that it will exist as a "protectorate" of the U.S.

We are three years into the five years of U.S. control hatched from the interim government and U.S. plotting, with the United Nations putting the stamp of legitimacy on the nefarious deal. We have endless debate which so far has not yielded one single piece of legislation nor changed one iota the U.S.-directed course in Iraq. All this discussion is merely smoke and mirrors so the public can feel it is making an impression.

Hardly. During these years in which the Iraq people work toward democracy, the U.S. controls the country. All the resources are now controlled by multinationals existing out of country. I see the confusion and mistakes as being intentional as to thwart directed effort of the Iraqis themselves to arrive at a government.

As the efforts meet with half-hearted support of the U.S., the U.S. propaganda will become more reluctantly angled to the idea of a US/Kurdish/Iraqi cabal in which control of the country stays in U.S. hands and fails to pass to 100 percent Iraqi control.

If anyone thinks the U.S. moved into Iraq to build $5 billion worth of modern military bases just to turn them over to the Iraqis, there must be a bridge in Brooklyn that is for sale at a bargain price they need to invest in. And all this "dogma" democracy we are hearing at home--it's just so we can give the appearance of our democratic legacy of governmental voice.

Has anything changed? Will anything alter the five year plan for U.S. control of Iraq? The future is this: Sometime next year before the U.S. elections and before the five-year deadline for turning control over to the Iraqi government, the Bush administration will announce the return of all National Guard troops--his gift to the Republican faithful--and the troops who will then be regular Army will reduce their presence by retiring to the walled bases.

The occupation will continue. It's the Vietnam plan updated and implemented. This occupation has been the goal of the U.S. administrations for the past 15 years. Unable to provoke an armed confrontation with various Middle Eastern nations, the Bush administration used the 9/11 crisis to invade and establish the bases long planned for.
Kate Sisco, Duluth, Minn.

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Mozart's problematic politics

NICOLE COLSON'S article on Mozart is an interesting look at an aspect of the composer not often discussed ("Mozart's music in revolutionary times," April 14).

I agree wholeheartedly that he was influenced by the ideas of Enlightenment and by the political events of the time in which he wrote. However, I think her analysis of his opera Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) is lacking.

It is true that he aware of the subversive political nature of Beaumarchais' Le Mariage De Figaro, when he selected it. However, his opera is a water-downed version of the original play. The aria "Se vuol ballare" ("If you would dance"), is taken directly from Beaumarchais while his most scathing critique of the aristocracy is cut entirely.

In Le Mariage De Figaro, Figaro says: "Because you are a great nobleman you think you are a great genius...Nobility, fortune, rank, position! How proud they make a man feel! What have you done to deserve such advantages? Put yourself to the trouble of being down- nothing more! For the rest--a very ordinary man! Whereas I, lost among the obscure crows, have had to deploy more knowledge, more calculation and skill merely to survive...Yet you would measure yourself against me."

A misogynistic diatribe that condemns women for their lustfulness and fickleness replaces it in the opera. It takes a passage that was revolutionary in content and an attack on the organization of the society, reducing it to a defense of the status quo.

Nicole pointed out that this strain of sexism is seen in his other works including The Magic Flute. Mozart also omits or tones down several other passages including a lengthy speech by Marcellina, Marceline in the play, in defense of women that denounces the double standards that exists between the acceptable behavior for men and women. In the end, I think that he robs the play of much of its revolutionary content.

In spite of these facts, Mozart does stand as a wonderful example of how artists are influenced by the events and politics surrounding them.
Katrina Yeaw, Florence, Italy

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