9 minute read

Who Is the Real Dean?
“Howard Dean is hard to pigeonhole, because he is not an ideologue and doesn’t surround himself with ideologues.”
Laurence E. Thomson
Richmond, U.S.

The major contribution that Howard Dean has made to the presidential campaign is to provide voters with a clear and dramatic choice [Jan. 12]. In recent years, Democratic and Republican presidential candidates have run poll-based campaigns that have all sounded the same. Dean is not George W. Bush; Dean has different ideas about how to keep America safe and prosperous. If he becomes the Democratic nominee, voters will have a real choice this November. Isn’t that what democracy is all about—two candidates with different views?
Paul Feiner
Greenburgh, U.S.

Discouragingly, Dean reminds me a lot of the Democrats’ 1984 presidential candidate, Walter Mondale. In that campaign, Mondale proclaimed he would raise taxes. As a result, he went on to lose by a landslide, with Ronald Reagan winning 49 states. I fear a similar scenario may transpire in 2004, considering that Dean is talking about rescinding all of President Bush’s tax cuts.
Michael Dukes
Toronto, U.S.

Despite the TIME/CNN poll numbers that put Dean within 5 percentage points of Bush, 46% to 51%, voters will wake up to reality on Election Day. Dean is like the crazy guy in your neighborhood who everyone thinks is kind of cool but who would never be called on in an emergency.
Steven F. Dittmann
Arabi, U.S.

Speaking of Dean, you asked if the country is “willing to elect a Brahmin who grew up in wealthy East Hampton, New York, and on Manhattan’s Park Avenue, who brings virtually no national-security experience to a post-9/11 nation …” I ask if the country is willing to re-elect Bush, a Brahmin who grew up the son of a rich politician with a summer estate in Maine, who had no national-security experience when he entered office and who has effectively turned much of the world against the U.S. since 9/11. I’d take the Brahmin doctor who, I believe, genuinely wants to help people in this country over the Brahmin oilman who caters to his wealthy and powerful friends.
Zoe Weil
Surry, U.S.

The Power of Populism
Joe Klein questions the wisdom of the Democrats using classic populism (“the people vs. the powerful”) as a strategy to win the presidency [Jan. 12]. I say more power to them. It is the common people who work, pay taxes, fight our wars and cry out for fairness. Klein noted that the by-products of the 1890s’ wave of populism were a progressive income tax, antitrust legislation and other reforms. Dean is proposing the same type of progressive political, social and economic agenda.
Onofrio Perzia
LeRoy, U.S.

If the only alternative to Bush-style litism is classic populism, I’ll take it. For millions of Americans who lack jobs, health care, homes and a rosy future, populist issues are more important than the risk that they will die at the hands of some terrorist.
Jon Koppenhoefer
Springfield, U.S.

Delays Ahead
“Grounded by Terror,” on the cancellation and rerouting of international airline flights because of security concerns [Jan. 12], provided an excellent snapshot of what life will be like for the traveling public in 2004 and beyond. Only law-enforcement, intelligence and security agents need to know the specifics of a terrorist-threat assessment. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security did a good job of preventing a holiday-season terrorist attack in this most difficult time. The majority of the traveling public does not mind security inconveniences if everyone is flying safer.
Dan R. Thies
Interlachen, U.S.

Cattle Crisis
“How Now, Mad Cow?” described the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a dairy cow in the U.S. [Jan. 12]. Mad-cow disease? They should call it mad-human disease! Only we humans would make a cannibal out of a vegetarian animal by feeding it contaminated meat-and-bone meal, exposing it to a horrible nervous disorder and then be mainly concerned with our inability to eat it. Which species, I ask, is mad?
Lakshmi Jackman
Austin. U.S.

Victims, Not Enemies
Your article “Giving Aid to the Enemy” reported on U.S. humanitarian assistance to Iran after the disastrous Bam earthquake [Jan. 12]. Although I can understand the tension between the U.S. and Iran, I feel that your headline fueled the perception that both Iran’s government and its people are hostile to the U.S. The people of Bam suffered a tragedy of unimaginable proportions and are now forced to live in destitute circumstances. It is unfair to the victims to align them with the unpopular theocratic regime under the heading “enemy.”
Jessica Lajevardi
Windsor, Canada

Iranians are by no means “the enemy.” They are people who have been devastated by a disaster. The assistance was for the injured, their friends and their family, and should be viewed separately from the tense political situation between the U.S. and Iran. This is a time for countries around the world to join together to help our fellow human beings in need.
Emily Clare
Edmonton, Canada

You Gotta Have Friends
Charles Krauthammer indulged in some macho breast thumping about the U.S. standing tall and alone [Jan. 12]. That would be great if we Americans were as consistently right as we think we are and if our leadership knew what it was doing. The sad fact is that Americans have always been ignorant about the outside world, and that costs us dearly every day. Moreover, the Bush team may be setting a new low in the quality of American leadership—no mean feat.
Eric Collier
Silverthorne, U.S.

Krauthammer mistakenly identified the Iraq-war coalition as America’s main allies in the war on terrorism in the post-9/11 world. This is way off. In Afghanistan, many of what Krauthammer calls neutral countries (former U.S. allies) are involved, including Canada, France, Germany and Turkey. None of these countries supported the invasion of Iraq, but that wasn’t because they didn’t consider themselves America’s partners in the fight against terrorism. It was because invading Iraq had little or nothing to do with combating 9/11 terrorists. Krauthammer attempts to blur the lines between the war on terrorism and Bush’s vendetta against Saddam Hussein.
Paul Ruddock
Daejeon, South Korea

A Threat Within Pakistan
You reported on the assassination attempts on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [Jan. 12]. Today the ranks of Pakistan’s army are brimming with self-styled Islamist officers who maintain strong connections with the mullahs. Despite the rhetoric of moderation, Musharraf continues to seek support from anti-U.S. Islamic parties. The threat from within the ranks of Pakistan’s armed forces is as strong as the external threat from Islamic hard-liners. If Musharraf falls, there is no guarantee that only a moderate general would take over. Unless the lingering shadow of the army and its ever intrusive intelligence agency recedes from the country’s societal life, Pakistan will continue to be a dangerous and unstable place, with or without Musharraf.
Muhammad A. Khan
Lahore, Pakistan

No country or leader has done more in the fight against terrorism than Pakistan’s Musharraf. The attempts on his life are ample proof of his value. Run-of-the-mill politicians in Pakistan would never dream of taking the stances and actions taken by Musharraf, like his approach to the issues of Kashmir, the Taliban and religious extremism. Politicians need votes and have to please the masses, no matter how. Luckily, this is not the case with Musharraf. Pakistan needs a clean, honest leader like Musharraf, and the U.S. needs him, too.
Isphanyar Bhandara
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

A Star in Her Own Right
Richard Corliss’s so-called appreciation of Hong Kong pop star and actress Anita Mui, who died in December from cervical cancer, was downright condescending [Jan. 12]. Corliss compared Mui with Greta Garbo, but he gave Mui only a fraction of the respect that Garbo has received. Corliss seemed unaware of the tapestry of friendships Mui wove throughout her life in the treacherous world of show business and unaware, too, of the professionalism she displayed in the series of performances she gave in the months before her death. Mui was more than an “Asian Madonna” or a Garbo. Please refrain from using Western icons to stereotype our artists. They deserve the status of originals.
Chen Yixiao

Spare the Civet!
The Chinese government has begun culling masked palm civet cats in Guangdong wildlife markets after tests suggested a link to a possible SARS case in that southern Chinese province [Jan. 19]. Surely the first SARS outbreak should have taught the Chinese to modify their eating habits. Severe penalties should be imposed on restaurants still serving civet. The thought of thousands of these pretty creatures being slaughtered is extremely distressing. Can’t we call upon organizations concerned with animal welfare to request a release into the wild of civets and the complete ban on their capture and use as food? The survival of mankind depends on the intelligent modification of human behavior, which is the only solution to reducing aids and SARS.
Elizabeth Davies

Setting the Record Straight
Our report on mad-cow disease [Jan. 12] had a headline that read in part, “Big Beef was doing fine until disease felled a heifer …” The animal that became ill was a six-year-old dairy cow—one that had already borne a calf and thus was not a heifer, a young female cow that has not yet had a calf.

In our report “Riding The Tiger” about Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s beleaguered tenure [Jan. 12], we incorrectly reported that the Pakistani Senate chairman, who would run the country if the President were assassinated, was Illahi Bakhush. He is Mohammad Mian Soomro.

In our story “Shaky Footing” on the Indian economy [Jan. 12], we mistakenly said that Oil & Natural Gas Corp. is the largest oil refiner in India. In fact, it is the largest oil producer. Indian Oil Corp. is the largest oil refiner in the country.

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