Letters to the Editor

From the week of February 17, 2005

Between Iraq and a Hard Place

Band of brothers: Laura Bond's "Iraq and Roll," in the February 3 issue, was the best article I have read in Westword for months! It gave a real feeling for the horror of war. I'm glad that the members of Lucid Dissent found comfort in music. Rock on!

Julie Howard
Denver

Pay to play: I find it quite disturbing that Westword would spend five full pages on glorying mercenary musicians! These people who go over to Iraq to fight for American corporate interests and against democracy are cheaply paid professional killers and the enemy of world peace. Why aren't these bastards singing about the innocent, sovereign citizens they killed without mercy! These killers are not in Iraq to protect my freedom, nor my democracy; they are purely fighting for the corporate welfare of Halliburton, Bechtel, the Carlyle Group and other very evil entities.

Robert Mitton
Denver

Share and share alike: I thought Laura Bond's story was a good profile of people in my generation. I can clearly tell she is steadfastly against this war, or any war, any time. She profiles those of us who are on the differing political and social spectrum, but shows that we are just as normal and share a lot more similarities than we all thought. We are not all robots.

So for "Iraq and Roll," I salute you.

Jack Daniel
Denver


Ward Without End

CU soon: In the February 10 issue, I was very surprised to see no article on the situation at CU regarding Ward Churchill, free speech, tenure and our impeachment-worthy governor. Instead, just an op-ed piece by Patricia Calhoun. I hope Westword plans on covering this controversial issue and all the Pleasantville-like busybodies trying to get rid of liberals from society.

Doug Crawford
Denver

Cross words: Plaudits and kudos are due to Patricia Calhoun for her plum essay titled "Separation of Churchill and State." One can only imagine the pressures of press-time deadlines on the creative mind when confronted with a complex story such as that which surrounds the fast-breaking Ward Churchill Show. She is wise to eschew the easy, silver-tongued chapped lips of Peter Boylesed media judgment in favor of a wider view of the subject.

So how does one successfully capture the multi-dimensionality of such a high-profile brouhaha? By framing it within the context of a more obscure free-speech issue, as evidenced by the banishment and actual destruction of copies of Rudolfo Anaya's acclaimed book Bless Me, Ultima, that's how. If small minds in small towns can silence great works, then one wonders why the big brains of our flagstone institution can't put an end to mediocrity. But failing that endeavor, it's no big surprise that instructors such as Adrienne Anderson end up bearing the cross.

Franklin Boyd
Englewood

The rest is history: As Kenny Be's #15 Most Wanted Heartstopper in the February 10 Worst-Case Scenario (I'm blushing as I write this), I'm sure you'll find my thoughts fascinating and on point. That's my life's ball and chain: being irresistible and brilliant!

On to more serious matters: Patricia Calhoun's concluding thought on Ward Churchill was disturbing. "Revisionist history"? You can charge Churchill with a lot, but the example given about Nuremberg and citizens' obligation to compel their governments to follow laws is in no way revisionist. His essay lacked tact; however, his point was clear. (His attempt to be pejorative was unneeded. Why use a fascist parallel when U.S. capitalism has a clear history of terrorism?) I think it's important to simultaneously stand up for free speech and defend Churchill's main point, as unoriginal but sadly true as it is.

One question: Where's the condemnation when Ann Coulter says it would be "fun" to nuke North Koreans? Or when former Secretary of State Albright says killing over 500,000 Iraqi children due to sanctions is "worth it"? Maybe we should listen to what Churchill has to say, not merely defend his right to say it.

Evan Weissman
Denver

Ruling the roost: Ward Churchill's ancestors butchered the Aztecs' enemies in their imperial Tenochtitlan genocide upon the meso-American indigenous people in El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica.

Whose chicken is roosting?

D. Townsell
Denver

The revision thing: I got a few much-needed laughs out of what Calhoun wrote.

A question: When she said, "He should have won the award for revisionist history," could she be more specific? I may be getting nitpicky, but isn't it more accurate to say that Mr. Churchill was promoting some sloppy and far-fetched analogies -- i.e., equating World Trade Center workers to Eichmann himself, or the Nazi atrocities to a sinister and secretive American foreign policy that has historically sometimes (oftentimes?) been hypocritically at odds with the principles of freedom and democracy?

John Dwyer
via the Internet

Patricia Calhoun replies: To read Westword's coverage of Ward Churchill, start with "Civil Wars," a February 1994 cover story available in our online archives at www.westword.com. As for "revisionist history," I was referring to Churchill's own shifting history rather than his academic works.


Who's on First?

Free to be you and me: I don't understand tomes such as Adam Cayton-Holland's February 10 What's So Funny that invoke the First Amendment with regard to Ward Churchill (and his situation isn't remotely comparable to the one in Norwood). The First Amendment has been upheld in this case: Churchill has not been arrested, nor has any lawsuit been upheld against him.

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