By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
COMBATING TORTURED LOGIC
Re Chris Thompson's 'Chasing Rummy' [December 511]: Andy McCarthy is quoted as saying that the Center for Constitutional Rights and our president, Michael Ratner, are behaving in an "ethically improper" manner by filing criminal complaints against Donald Rumsfeld in Germany and France.
CCR has joined with several human-rights organizations in Europe to file criminal complaints that charge Rumsfeld with authorizing and encouraging torture in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture, and several other international treaties.
Rumsfeld has committed crimes that are of such enormous magnitude that they have become international crimes; as such, the courts of many countries can prosecute him under the principle of universal jurisdiction, with which Mr. McCarthy is apparently unfamiliar.
Torturers are enemies of all humanity and therefore can be brought to justice anywhere, as in the case of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Moreover, as the Bush administration has made no attempt to charge Rumsfeld with war crimes or crimes against humanity, we and other human-rights organizations are asking courts in other countries to bring Rumsfeld to justice.
This is not unethical behavior. What is unethical and immoral is the program of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment that Rumsfeld promoted at Bagram, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, and other sites around the world.
As for David Horowitz's statement that Mr. Ratner has "been a committed enemy of the United States for his entire life," I simply respond with this quote by Teddy Roosevelt: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public . . . It is unpatriotic not to oppose [the president] to the exact extent that . . . he fails in his duty to stand by the country."
Center for Constitutional Rights
GOING TO EXTREMES
Re 'Rudy's Ties to a Terror Sheikh'[December 511]: Wayne Barrett surely does the country a service by exposing Rudy Giuliani's ties to the emir of Qatar, a man whose family may have coddled terrorists.
However, his case is so irresponsibly and indiscriminately made that it ends up looking like an endorsement of the Islamophobia it ought be castigating. "Rudy has been doing business with the very man who made the attacks on 9/11 possible"? Is this not a tad hyperbolic?
Barrett lambasts the emir for such things as funding Al Jazeera (since when does he support the Bush administration's attempts to censor media outlets that criticize the "war on terror"?) and for daring to express solidarity with the victims of Israel's barbaric 2006 invasion of Lebanon. What gives?
Worse, Barrett's text is set within a framea caricature of Giuliani in a keffiyeh and some sensationalist photosthat helps to turns the piece into something verging on the downright racist.
I expect this kind of trash from the Post, but am sickened to see it appear in a supposedly progressive organ under the byline of an estimable journalist.
Joel Rivera and Maria Baezbut especially Riverarepresent the absolute worst in ignorance and idiotic sycophancy. Try having a conversation with him or his father [Bronx Democratic Party boss José Rivera]. My God!
TAKEN FOR A RIDE
Re 'Bill to Ban Horse and Carriages Met with Unbridled Anger' [December 511]: It is hard to imagine that in 2007 we are still enslaving horses to pull carriages in some cities. When I was on my senior-class trip to Chicago a few years ago, I saw horses pulling carriages with a look in their eyes like they have just given up on life. Horses in New York City work in all weather extremes. The past year I have read too many stories of carriage horses dying. It is very saddening.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Robert Sietsema's columns are the first thing I read every week in the Voice, and I barely even look at other restaurant reviews. I've tried so many places over the years based on his reviews: Bulgarian food in Long Island City, burgers in Harlem, German food in Bay Ridge, Yemeni food on Atlantic Avenue, great Indian food in the Flatiron district, the best tacos on Roosevelt Avenue, and on and on.
He's the ultimate food critic for "foodies", which is probably why he is by far the critic most referenced on Chowhound. Time Out New York did a "rate the critics" issue a few months ago, where they panned him and said he was only good for "college students looking for a burrito." No surprise that it had to publish at least three letters to the editor singing his praises the next week. I don't know if anyone at Time Out has ever read his columns, but I do know that if it ever reviewed a single West African restaurant, I highly doubt that anyone on its staff would even have a point of comparison.
Not so for Sietsema. You guys have made some changes recently, and while I'm not exactly shedding a tear over the loss of Christgau, if you ever dumped Sietsema, I don't know if I would even bother picking up the Voice anymore.