Re P.J. Tobia's 'Afghaniscrewed' [March 25-31]: Lo! Another article about why we are occupying Afghanistan that does not contain the words "oil," "pipeline," or "energy."
We can pretend all we like that there is a "coalition" of nations that just want to "do the right thing," but, as in Iraq, control of trillions in potential energy wealth speaks louder than any PR blather.
Great article! If I didn't know that it was 2009, I could swear this article was written in the '60s about our involvement in Vietnam. Doesn't our government ever learn?
Benjamin J. Greco
West Babylon, New York
Your story about Afghanistan was very one-sided. One of the reasons I left the "peace" movement was because of its one-sideness. What is the alternative to fighting in Afghanistan? If we leave without leaving a stable, democratic government, the Taliban takes over again and shelters Al Qaeda, which will plan bigger 9/11s.
I do not see the "pacifist" left doing what Gandhi advocated and forming a nonviolent army to do civil disobedience against the Taliban. Of course it is easier to just pick on the U.S. and Israel. If the author of this article thinks he is so right, he should talk to a former Vietnamese boat person or a political prisoner in Hanoi's jails today. The left was wrong about opposing Nixon's Vietnamization then, and it is wrong about Afghanistan now.
Secaucus, New Jersey
Help has already been on the way
Re Tom Robbins's 'From Mayor Fix-It to Mayor-Won't' [March 18-24]: I believe your article oversimplifies and unjustly diminishes the city's current homelessness-prevention efforts by focusing on the rising number of families entering the NYC shelter system, which is a result of larger economic challenges.
In fact, the city invests heavily in a variety of creative initiatives to assist families facing homelessness, including the Homebase program. As a Homebase program director, I see people every day who have lost their jobs and their homes and depleted their savings. However, thanks to the city and its commitment to prevention programs such as Homebase, many of these clients receive the services they need to regain independence before ever having to enter a shelter. In difficult economic times, a lot of us may feel the financial strain. But every day, I witness the city policies that serve as a safety net for those who need it most.
Joseph R. Funt
Bushwick Homebase Program
It's easy to be critical on an issue like homelessness, which no mayor or governor of any party or ideology over the past 30 years has completely fixed. Perhaps, since the response from some quarters is often thankless, our leaders shouldn't even try. Of course, there will always be some who are never satisfied-taking shots is just what they do.
I am more interested in finding solutions. And so is Mayor Bloomberg, who has been pushing the envelope.
Bowery Residents' Committee
A different slant
Re Sarah DiGregorio's 'The Right Stuff' [February 18-24]: As one of the veterinary experts interviewed by Ms. DiGregorio, I would like to respond to the very slanted nature of her piece.
The fact remains that no matter how clean a facility may appear on a very public tour, a foie gras liver has been artificially expanded to 10-12 times its normal size. No degree of cleanliness outweighs the undeniable fact that these animals are in liver failure prior to slaughter, that they suffer, that this process in no way mimics the natural pre-migratory gorging of wild ducks, and that there is no need to be cruel to an animal in order to sustain ourselves.
Holly Cheever, D.V.M.
Vice president, New York State
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