The veracity of the Winter Soldier Investigation is secondary, but Turse does no better there when he attempts to refute the claim that few of the veterans who testified were willing to cooperate with military investigators. Of the 36 witnesses contacted by military investigators, 31 agreed to interviews, he points out. But they would not provide the kind of information that could be used to verify their claims, particularly names. Supposedly, "they would not allow their testimony to be used to, as they put it, scapegoat individual G.I.'s and low-ranking officers when, they said, it was the war's managers—America's political and military leadership—who were ultimately to blame for the atrocities." Reasoning such as this cannot possibly lead to the truth when it borrows so heavily from the Eichmann defense, which exists only to deny responsibility.

Clay Boswell
Fort Greene

No one's calling you a moron

If reading Ward Harkavy's Bush Beat blog [villagevoice.com] and picking up links to sources of real news instead of listening to the vomit of the mass media makes me a moron, then so be it, I'm a moron.

Thanks, and keep up the good work.

Vince Lawrence
Wintersville, Ohio

Tant pissed

As an opinion columnist for The Athens (Georgia) Banner-Herald who was arrested in New York during an August 31 protest that I was covering, I must give a shout of appreciation to The Village Voice for your reportage before, during, and after the convention. The city's infamous "Gitmo by the Hudson" holding pens and Orwellian jail cells were no picnic. But such is the occupational hazard of journalism and activism as war abroad and police state tactics at home are the norm in a Bush administration that talks compassion while consolidating its power.

Ed Tant
Athens, Georgia

Smile for Bush

I read Tom Smucker's review of Brian Wilson's SMiLE ["Wilsonian Democracy," September 29–October 5] with mixed emotions. For one thing, I can remember the Beach Boys' late-'60s–early-'70s music quite clearly. I have been listening in particular to The Beach Boys Greatest Hits Volume Three: Best of the Brother Years lately, and the best of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks's collaborations still sound fresh and vital to me. It is clear to anyone with a soul that the Beach Boys were a choir group—they met and sang at church. Brian Wilson is a very spiritual guy. I'd go further than Smucker and state that Brian was and still is searching for the voice of God speaking to man in the wilderness of the 20th (now the 21st) century.

Brian was way beyond politics, and Smucker's final comments reveal where he is stuck right now—I don't think they reveal anything about Brian Wilson or "Wilsonian democracy." Brian's music is about the search for true freedom, and in that sense it is also about the loss of innocence and the desire to get back to something true and innocent and pure. The Beach Boys are real American music, and so is Brian Wilson. I look forward to listening to SMiLE, even though I'm probably going to vote for George Bush.

Paul Rosenbaum
Laurel, Maryland

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