Letter of The Week
Arrested development

Re Sarah Ferguson's "Cindy Sheehan Arrested at the U.S. Mission to the U.N." [villagevoice.com, March 6]: Sheehan's arrest belies the very concept of democracy—both the one we allegedly have in the U.S. and the one we're allegedly fighting for in Iraq. The excuse of those who would not receive her peace letter in public because "she wanted a media event" is a lame one. Isn't the Iraqi war itself a daily media event? Doesn't Bush hold many media events to propagate support for his viewpoint? Our constitution guarantees free speech, free association, and the right to assemble to all Americans. Sheehan's arrest violates those rights. A foolish move—it will only serve to radicalize others to her cause, and the next protest will be even bigger. It would have been more astute for at least one person to accept her peace letter in person (media notwithstanding) with graciousness.

Michele Mateo-Rusin
Hollywood, Florida

Mother knows best

Thanks to Sarah Ferguson for her story about the arrest of Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, and others ["Cindy Sheehan Arrested at the U.S. Mission to the U.N.," villagevoice.com, March 6] during their efforts to deliver a message to our ambassador to the U.N. It's encouraging to learn that women from Iraq and the United States are banding together to bring an end to this disastrous war in Iraq. This important story was not carried in our local press. As a mother and grandmother, I find hope in the determination of other women to stop the killing. Julia Howe pointed out many years ago: We women are too tenderhearted to have our sons taught to kill other mothers' sons.

Cecile Meyeer
DeKalb, Illinois

Whose truth?

As a journalist, I am extremely offended by Jarrett Murphy's recent article on the 9-11 Truth movement ["The Seekers: The Birth and Life of the '9-11 Truth' Movement," February 22–28], which greatly distorted both the intent and motivation behind our getting at the truth behind 9-11. For instance, the article tries to harm the reputation of Alex Jones, one of the most heroic truth-telling journalists. Every article that Jones publishes on his website is meticulously researched, and reference sources are always provided. Murphy's article failed to mention that back in 1993 The New York Times pointed out the FBI's involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The Times is a major media outlet, and hardly a conspiracy theory rag. A CNN poll released in 2004 found that 89 percent of respondents believe that there was a government cover-up of 9-11. This is yet another major media outlet. The journalistic quality of Murphy's article is poor.

Kent Daniel Bentkowski
Buffalo, New York

Jarrett Murphy replies: The lone mention of Alex Jones in my 2,500-word piece merely stated Jones's beliefs that the FBI orchestrated the '93 WTC attack and that the 9-11 Commission released the 2001 PDB merely to cloak the conspiracy. The 1993 Times article cited above reported that an FBI informant who had been feuding with the bureau claimed that he warned agents of the attack ahead of time and they failed to respond, but cites no evidence that the feds knew the specifics of the planned attack. As for the poll numbers, they must always be treated with caution: A December 2005 Fox News survey found that 61 percent of Americans still believe Iraq had WMD before the war and either destroyed or still has them.

Press clipped

Over the past few weeks, some of the most vital, thoughtful, and incisive columns in the Voice's print edition have disappeared: Mondo Washington, Press Clips, The Essay, not to mention the termination of Bush Beat. While a feature-length article on dating is somewhat interesting and informative, it contains only a fraction of the insight and impact of one Schanberg paragraph. At the very least, please respond and let the readers know why these changes are being made, and what the editor ultimately hopes the print Voice will contain.

C. Tocci

Selective defenders

Re James Ridgeway's "South Dakota's Genius Scheme to Outlaw Abortion" [Mondo Washington, villagevoice.com, February 24]: The governor of South Dakota claims that banning all abortion in his state was the right thing to do because it will protect the most vulnerable "persons" in society. Yet there are a number of actual persons who are extremely vulnerable in this society, persons who are indeed vulnerable to rape and incest, persons whose vulnerability to natural disasters is compounded by their poverty, persons overseas who are vulnerable to collateral damage as a result of, for example, the Iraq war. There are a great number of vulnerable persons in this world to whom these right-wing fundamentalists don't claim any responsibility. In fact, by the logic of the South Dakota law, a girl or woman who is the victim of rape or incest, who happens to become impregnated on top of surviving a horrific ordeal, must carry a pregnancy to term. Doubly victimized. Under the South Dakota law the morning-after pill would also be banned. If the condom breaks, you're out of luck.

Chaiti Sen
Forest Hills, Queens

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