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I had a chuckle this evening reading your tirade directed against Harry Belafonte. I find it absurd you place so much emphasis on what Belafonte has to say. But then, of course, you are in the business of pounding the bushes in search of enemies of the state. I bet, if you asked Colin Powell about your campaign to place a $58,000 ad in college newspapers he would tell you, like the character in mafia films, to forget about it. He has apparently already written the incident off, why can’t you? Oh, I think I know why — because you need enemies to hunt down, particularly African-American enemies.
As for Powell, if you ever get a chance to speak with him personally, you may want to ask him why, as a staff army major in Vietnam, he felt in necessary to suppress the inquiry into the My Lai massacre, or why, as a military assistant to Caspar Weinberger during the Reagan administration, he helped to deceive Congress about the trading of weapons with Iran, the illicit proceeds of which went to finance another illicit operation in Nicaragua. Or what about the declassified documents implicating Powell in the secret arming of Iraq in the years before the Gulf War? Maybe you can include these things in your $58,000 ad. I’m sure more than a few university students would be interested in why our government sold chemical and biological weapons to a dictator they now insist must be disarmed.
Some of us are old enough to remember when you supported the Black Panthers, that is until they killed your book-keeper Betty Van Tanner. Of course, that was a terrible crime, the work of thugs, akin to what a paramilitary thug in El Salvador might do to a "progressive" nun. More than a few of us who know your history, even read your old magazine, are sadden by the vehemence and viciousness you direct at progressives, especially progressives of color. I can’t speak for others, but I never seriously considered Belafonte a progressive. You may want to go back to bashing Noam Chomsky. At least he has some substance you can dig your neo-con, former pinko incisors into. He sincerely inspires you to pile up the rancorous adjectives.
I am increasingly startled and, alternately, amused by your far right-wing "fatwas" against Hollywood types (do you really take Barbara Streisand seriously or, for that matter, Oliver Stone? — you need to find enemies of more substance) and, of course, the Stalinist fellow travelers you imagine ensconced in universities. Mountains are rarely made of mole hills, but never mind.
I work for a university in New Mexico. No, I am not one of those Marxist professors you rant about. I am professional staff, which is to say I build distance education websites for K-12 children, teaching them math, history, and geography. Last time I checked, we were not inserting Marxist propaganda on those web pages; no hatred preached against whitey, no multicultural propaganda, no excuses for al-Qaeda, not even antiwar sentiment. Of course, thanks to your hero, our unelected president, we may lose much of our funding. I guess spending billions of dollars on the up-coming decimation of Iraq is more important than literacy for impoverished children. I can’t think of anything more patriotic than making sure children receive a decent education.
Please go ahead and publish your ad in our campus newspaper. I’m sure they can fit it in there next to the antiwar demonstration announcements which are, as of late, plentiful. I also encourage you, Bill Bennett, and Daniel Pipes to come down here and explain to the students why they should support the bombing of innocent Iraqis. Or, for that matter, locking up Americans sans due process because they may have searched "dirty bomb" on the internet. I might even attend such a meeting. Lately, there has been quite a bit of antiwar activism on the campus here, as well as on others all across the country. Did you happen to notice the 100,000+ people opposed to Bush’s impending war in Washington this past weekend? Dare I say you have a lot of work cut out for you? More $58,000 ads will be needed, and soon. You may want to explain to the young folks here why people such as Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Richard Perle, and you didn’t bother to serve in the military. Well, I know why you didn’t, being a Marxist at the time, but what about the others? College students tend to notice those kinds of things, especially when their elders climb up on high horses and preach about service and country.
Finally, in regard to the $58,000. Maybe you could skip the vindicative campus ads taking Mr. Belafonte to task for his remarks and donate the money to one of the schools here. New Mexico is the poorest state in the union; there are a lot of kids — white, Hispanic, and Native American — who would sincerely appreciate a computer in the classroom or more books in the library. But then, of course, that would not be an ego boost for you, nor would it advance your agenda or make you feel better about your "red diaper" past. It would help out the kids, though.
KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org