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Views in brief

September 22, 2006 | Page 4

Taking on the beast of Bentonville
What Churchill really said
Freeing the innocent from prison

Why the levees broke

I, AND I'm sure many other New Orleanians, appreciate the continued coverage of New Orleans' plight in Socialist Worker.

There's one point I hope to clear up regarding Cindy Beringer's review of When the Levees Broke ("It's like they let it happen," September 1). The article reads: "As Lee's title reminds us, it was not Katrina that destroyed New Orleans, but the flood caused by the breaching of the levees. Computer mock-ups had long predicted that the levees would not hold up in a severe hurricane, and recently the Army Corps of Engineers was forced to admit to human error in the levee system designed for the city."

New Orleans' floodwalls were only supposed to protect the city up to a Category Three hurricane. It's now agreed that Katrina was a powerful Category Three storm when it made landfall. But Katrina missed New Orleans. The winds and surge that destroyed the 17th Street and London Avenue canal floodwalls amounted to Category One force.

What New Orleanians have now come to understand is that our "Category Three" floodwalls were really just a farce. Many of our "floodwalls" were, in fact, just concrete slabs stuck into the ground and made to look like functioning floodwalls. This amounts to total fraud on the part of the Army Corps of Engineers.

I don't think any of the predictions referenced in the article predicted that those floodwalls would have failed under the conditions that they did. The suffering, death and destruction of New Orleans were not the result of a natural disaster, but the result of a crime carried out by the federal government on its own citizens.
Will Buckingham, From the Internet

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Taking on the beast of Bentonville

I TOTALLY agree with the article on "Wal-Mart's drive to keep wages and benefits low" (September 8). As a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers, I have been close to some of the actions against Wal-Mart.

I feel that the publicity campaign has been effective, as far as it goes. Picket actions have been effective to the extent that Wal-Mart has not opened a prospective store in various locations. I know of one such example in Canada. Strong union states have fewer Wal-Marts. The company concentrates in right-to-work states.

One problem is that four in 10 people having a negative view of the company is not enough negative image to impact the world's biggest retailer.

Many people shop at Wal-Mart even knowing that the company pays minimum wage and minimum health benefits. In many cases, Wal-Mart prices are lower. In small towns, they have driven the smaller retailers out of business. The public has to shop at Wal-Mart. We must picket even in the small towns to drive them out of town. Keep up the fight!
Lance LaVenture, from the Internet

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What Churchill really said

I WAS pleased to read Dana Cloud's defense of Ward Churchill, who has been under attack by the right wing for his words on the September 11 attacks ("Why is the right after Ward Churchill?" August 11). However, Cloud wrote Churchill was wrong to compare "workers at the World Trade Center to Nazi functionaries, or 'little Eichmanns.'"

Churchill actually did not compare World Trade Center workers to the fascist Adolf Eichmann. In a press release, Churchill wrote, "It should be emphasized that I applied the 'little Eichmanns' characterization only to those described as 'technicians.' Thus, it was obviously not directed to the children, janitors, food service workers, firemen and random passers-by killed in the 9/11 attack."

Elsewhere in the press release, Churchill points out the CIA office that was located in the World Trade Center, who it seems Churchill is referring to as the "little Eichmanns." The CIA is responsible for overthrowing, and attempting to overthrow, democratically elected governments all over the world, and has also brought drugs into this country. I'll leave it to the reader to decide what nickname the CIA deserves.
Dominic Renda, New York City

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Freeing the innocent from prison

I AM proud that my state government has created the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission. This group will look at new evidence brought by people found guilty by the courts.

Thanks to DNA testing and prosecutorial misconduct, many people now realize that some prisoners that say they are innocent may actually be telling the truth. I would like to encourage the other 49 state governments to create similar commissions in their states.
Chuck Mann, Greensboro, N.C.

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