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Monday, March 6, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Letters to the editor

Traveling in terror

In the real world, enemies have a way of sneaking up on you

Editor, The Times:

On the same day Rick Steves claims [in "The real threat to U.S. security," Times guest commentary, March 2], "(t)he greatest risk to our society today is not Islamo-fascist terrorism, but the people who use that term to scare us," an Islamo-fascist terrorist car bomber killed an American diplomat in Karachi, Pakistan ["Suicide bomber kills diplomat, others, before Bush visit," News, March 2].

And Steves adds further insult to that tragedy by linking military spending to global warming.

They've tried Steves' approach in Europe already, practically dismantling their militaries in places like France and Denmark; yet, what has this achieved? Riots, looting and burning cities throughout Western Europe.

These are things we haven't seen in Seattle since folks supporting this viewpoint showed up to protest the World Trade Organization in 1999.

I would have a lot more respect for Steves if he took some revenue from his "Europe Through the Back Door" travel empire and put his money where his mouth is — guidebooks for Americans traveling in the Islamic world, and Africa. Maybe then he will gain an accurate perspective on what it means to work for peace.

— P. Scott Cummins, Seattle

Beware trip mines

Rick Steves asks for courage and eloquence from the "left" in his masterpiece of delusion. Does he really think eloquence is a substitute for reality?

A large reason for the small defense budgets he idolizes so much is the American willingness to "step up" and do the right thing while others relax in our shadow.

Steves is right about Osama bin Laden not wanting to invade us. He only wants us to heed Steves' prescription for us.

— Robert Avant, Kirkland

The time machine's destination

I want to thank Rick Steves for his rational analysis of the state of our Union.

The dysfunctional leadership of our nation threatens everything we hold dear. Increasingly isolated by our own policies and manipulated by fear, we seem to be in the grip of a nationalist frenzy that has short-circuited all reason.

We need to step back from this madness and ask ourselves who benefits from our insanely large military budget that is sapping our national wealth. Certainly not ordinary American citizens who struggle to keep up with the rapidly rising costs of housing, health care and education while the government continues to reduce basic services and supports.

We need only to follow the money to recognize who/what is siphoning off our vast national resources. The military-industrial complex about which President Eisenhower once warned us has indeed become the huge insatiable parasite he feared. We are its host and it's time to just say no.

— Diane Love, Bellevue

Professing peace

Bringing down the danger curve

Regarding "Peace class lands UW prof on list of 'most dangerous' " [Local News, Feb. 28], about a local professor who made the list of "The Top 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America," a book by the right-wing author David Horowitz: I know it's ridiculous, but why does Times reporter Nick Perry find it odd for a teacher of "peace studies" to be considered a danger to the Republican Party?

Think about it: What is the one thing the right enjoys more than taking food from orphans and widows, or beating up the helpless and disabled? Obviously, it's a nice bloody war in which they themselves do not have to fight.

They can't allow anyone to interfere with their power to send people they don't know to other parts of the world so they can kill (and be killed by) a lot of other people they don't know. The right-wingers certainly don't want the voters to notice the crooks and liars hiding behind their manufactured war hysteria. That would be extremely dangerous!

— James Freudiger, Seattle

Credit no credit

How come Nick Perry left out of "Peace class lands UW prof on list of 'most dangerous' " the basic fact that this guy [David Barash] is a biologist and unqualified to teach "Peace Studies"?

The principal point I made in my comments to Perry was that professor Barash has no academic credential to teach about the issue of war and peace. His expertise is biology, not political science.

The fact that he is writing textbooks on "Peace Studies" and teaching classes in a subject for which he is not qualified is a form of consumer fraud and reflects a widespread intellectual corruption in the university.

— David Horowitz, Calabasas, Calif.

Support for troops

Center holds out hope

Regarding "MS diagnosis may be too late to help veteran of first Gulf War" [Local News, Feb. 22]: Like Harry White, I'm also a military veteran with multiple sclerosis. But I served in Vietnam (1966-67) and over the years I have run into several Vietnam veterans who have MS.

While MS strikes women at a higher percentage than men (65 percent of people with MS are women) the disease seems to hit veterans hardest in the male population. Partly because of that, and the high rate of MS in the Northwest population, Seattle's Veterans Administration Hospital has one of the most progressive MS treatment centers in the country.

Called "MS: Center of Excellence," this medical center provides care and treatment of veterans with MS. A veteran doesn't have to have his MS "service connected" to get treatment there. Veterans can check it out at www.va.gov/ms

— Steve Johnston, Bellevue

A job for everyone

Shirkers need not apply

Thanks for the great news about virtual unemployment in Washington ["Jobless rate hits 6-year low," Business & Technology, March 1].

With unemployment at its lowest level of 4.6 percent in spite of our growing population, we should all have a positive feeling about our state's economic future.

The article cited a few reasons for this fantastic development: the construction industry, our state's role with regard to shipping and trucking, and so on.

However, I was surprised the article omitted any credit for George W. Bush. After all, any time unemployment showed a modest increase in our state the past six years, we all lambasted him as the cause. To avoid hypocrisy, I think it only fair to give credit where credit is due.

Let's all raise a toast to the real reason for reduced unemployment in our great state: Democrat, Republican and those like me who favor less government, regardless of blind affiliation.

— Dave Newman, Normandy Park

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