The gospel according to Gideon

Re Joy Press's "Rage Inside the Machine" [April 14-20]: As Gideon Yago trudges through the halls of MTV, has he forgotten that he's actually working for one of the worst abusers of freelancers and temps? Finding an employee at MTV with benefits is like trying to find Osama bin Laden. MTV is notorious for its 14-hour-a-day underpaid staff killing itself trying to get a foot in the door that never opens. Mr. Hip to Be Square likes to say he wants to change things from the inside, but saying and doing are two different things. There are plenty of people in the line at MTV's time clock that could use more than Yago's lip service.

Mike Buckley
Upper East Side

Nixon's the one

Ted Gup's "The Failure of U.S. Intelligence" [April 14-20] makes no mention of the changes at the CIA, cultural and legal, that resulted from the Watergate investigations. The Nixon White House broke the law by enlisting the CIA in domestic matters within the United States against political rivals. This might not be the sole factor in the decline of the CIA, but without question it should be noted. It would have been the beginning of the end for certain CIA practices, resulting in the review, and then decimation, of the Clandestine Service at the CIA.

John Nolan
Staten Island

Up with Gup

I want to congratulate and thank you for publishing Ted Gup's "The Failure of U.S. Intelligence." This non-political analysis does not bash Bush but clearly lays out the facts to the American people, asking them to judge the state of our intelligence community—which is in very bad condition.

It is now the responsibility of the administration, Congress, and the intelligence community to get their collective houses in order so that we can effectively deal with the very serious threat of terrorism. The time for name-calling and finger-pointing is over. It is counterproductive and serves no useful purpose except to aid and abet the activities of our enemies.

Ralph Miano
New Providence, New Jersey

Taking a chance

Re "Soldiers Choose Canada" by Alisa Solomon [April 7-13]:

The picture painted of Brandon Hughey and Jeremy Hinzman is the picture you can paint of almost anyone in the military. We're all good ol' boys who had money and college waved in front of our faces, so we signed. We signed and we swore an oath, to God, country, ourselves, and our fellow soldiers. Nobody wants to go to war and fight for something they disagree with and possibly get killed in the process.

But isn't that what happens frequently in the U.S. military? Vietnam was only 30 years ago. You're taking a chance when you sign your name, but you're signing your name just the same. It's not like Hughey and Hinzman were drafted.

The article mentioned low morale in the military. I wonder if anyone has considered that low morale can also be caused by deserters. I share the same political views as those two in Canada, and I commend those who are able to think for themselves, because that is hard to do in the military. The difference between us, however, is that when my time came to go to Iraq, I went. I know of six people in my own small unit who decided to leave for one reason or another right when we needed to stick together and support each other. Everyone has unspoken fears and doubts about war, but having a guy standing next to you makes you feel stronger and more self-confident. When you turn around and he's not there because he got scared, where does that send your morale?

Jeff Bringhurst
Fresno, California

Alisa Solomon replies: Jeff Bringhurst is certainly correct that desertion can contribute to low morale. However, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey did not leave because they "got scared" but because they have a conscientious objection to the war.

In interviews, both expressed sadness on a personal level over leaving their fellow soldiers. But they did not want to participate—or help others "feel stronger and more self-confident" in participating—in what they regard as a criminal enterprise. Signing a contract does not mean abdicating moral judgment.

Asian: the new black

Re David Ng's "Hung Out to Dry" [April 7-13]:

As a black person, I can only say one thing: Join the club! TV shows that pass for comedy, like Eve, Whoopi, and Chappelle's Show, contain some of the worst stereotypes this side of the original minstrel shows of the 19th century. It is unfortunate and amazing what stereotypes people will perpetuate and accept under the auspices of "entertainment."

I agree with everything Mr. Ng writes about the phenom except for one thing: There have always been quite studly Asian males. John Lone, Chow-Yun Fat, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee, Bruce Lee—for me, the list can go on, but as with any ethnic group, one gets tired of seeing the same handful of typecast people again and again. Still, I'd take a martial arts master over a pimp/drug lord any day!

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