Letters – May

Letters to the Editor may be sent to: Honolulu Magazine, 1000 Bishop St., Suite 405, Honolulu, HI, 96808-0913, faxed: 537-6455 or e-mailed: letters_honmag@pacificbasin.net.

"Iraq: Was Bush Right?" March 2006
A University of Hawai’i professor, R.J. Rummel, Ph.D., wrote in support of the war in Iraq.

I must disagree with Mr. Rummel’s assertions that Bush was right in invading Iraq, and that it is the Democrats who are turning against the continued occupation of that country. It is the American public that is questioning the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq.

President Bush asserts that the United States invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and [has fostered the impression] that Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The first assertion has been proven false. Bush and his administration have been found to have purposely used their own skewed interpretation of intelligence [information] to justify the invasion. The second assertion has always been patently untrue. There were no Iraqis involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Rummel asserts that establishing a democracy in Iraq was another one of the goals of the invasion. All that we are going to accomplish by establishing a "democracy" in that country is to legalize and legitimize a fundamentalist Islamic theocracy that in the end will be hostile to the United States. We have created a whole new generation, if not generations, of people in that part of the world who hate the United States.

Despite Mr. Rummel’s sentiments in his concluding paragraph, there will never be "a world in which there will never be war," and to think that trying to impose democracy at the end of a gun is going to accomplish that is ludicrous.

Jerry Piller
Kihei, Maui

It seems to me that those folks who advocate the big, geopolitical ideas that potentially involve a lot of blood and money—ideas that are always worth "fighting and dying for"—are always the ones who are about as far away from the fighting and dying as you can get. (I know Professor Rummel’s fellow believers, Wolfowitz and Cheney, et al., fit this category; I don’t know if the professor does or not.)

I hope something good does come out of the Iraq situation. After all, it wasn’t supposed to cost too many lives and no more than $50 billion, and that was to be covered by the freely flowing oil. There would be no cost for cleaning up the flowers we were to be greeted with, as they are biodegradable.

Who knows? If we had properly finished the job in Afghanistan, functional democracies (even with freedom of religion) might have come to Iraq, Syria, some of our dictatorial allies (Saudi Arabia comes to mind), without us expending so many lives and mega-dollars on an invasion of a country that had nothing to do with attacking the United States.

Jao Ottinger
Makaha Valley

Professor Rummel’s article on Iraq eloquently states the long-term benefits of a democratized Iraq for the Iraqi people and for the rest of the world; the logic is sound. Unfortunately, the Bush administration has bungled the effort so badly from the very beginning that I fear there is little hope of success at this point. It truly breaks my heart.

Alex Viarnes

Spilling ink is far easier than spilling blood, and when we talk about lives lost in the war, we rarely talk about them as if our own lives are on the line. Maybe it’s because, in the comfort of our homes or offices, our lives are not at stake. If the professor really supports the war, I urge him to take up arms. Better yet, I encourage him to send his children and the children of all of our congressional representatives who support the war to Iraq. While it’s clear that Professor Rummel has fired off a lot of articles in his career, it seems less clear that Professor Rummel has fired any weapons. War is not abstract. War is killing. It sounds like he supports killing. War is peace?

Rock Tang

R.J. Rummel responds:
When the Korean War broke out in 1950, I joined the Army. After my basic training in the weapons of the time, I was given further training in a medical battalion in Fort Benning, Georgia. Once my training was completed, I volunteered for duty with American troops fighting in South Korea. However, when I reached Japan to be assigned as a medic to a unit then fighting in the deadly Pusan perimeter, I was assigned instead to an engineering battalion in Tokyo, where I remained for almost three years.

Pacifism [such as Mr. Tang’s only] helps make the world safe for the thug regimes that enslave their people and murder them en masse.

"Best of Honolulu," March 2006
Our annual guide to making the most of life in our city.

As an organization whose mission it is to promote and increase the professionalism of its statewide membership, it was with great pleasure that we found out our annual fund-raiser, the Diamond Head Arts and Craft Fair, was selected as HONOLULU Magazine’s Best Craft Fair. Kapi’olani Community College also benefits from this annual event by hosting its annual faculty/staff breakfast on the same day. Proceeds go to its staff development fund.

Roger Watanabe
Diamond Head Arts and Craft Fair
Hawai’i Recreation and Parks Association

"Indulge Yourself," March 2006
Contributing editor Joan Namkoong discussed how to prepare and enjoy foie gras at home.

Foie gras is horribly repulsive in every aspect, from the torture of the geese to any primped-up presentation upon a dinner plate. Please get civilized.

S.Z. Johnson

People who care need to join the call to ban foie gras in Hawai’i. The suffering involved in the production of this food is obscene and it cannot be justified. This is a "gourmet" nonfood for the unhungry, titillation for bored palates.

If the case for compassion does not move you, how about the health aspect? Why would anyone want to eat organs from a diseased bird?

Contact these representatives, who are on the Agriculture Committee, and ask them to co-sponsor state Rep. Chris Halford, who wants to ban foie gras in Hawai’i: repabinsay@capitol.hawaii.gov or reptsuji@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Lois Raynor

The Easter products story "Egg-stravagant," April 2006, was photographed by Jimmy Forrest, not Rae Huo.