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    Clear-thinking people may disagree

    Re: The Sept. 11 attacks have left us behaving in un-American ways, by Bill Maxwell, Jan. 13.


    © St. Petersburg Times
    published January 20, 2002


    Re: The Sept. 11 attacks have left us behaving in un-American ways, by Bill Maxwell, Jan. 13.

    Free and open debate, that is the American way, says Bill Maxwell. Except, it seems, when it comes to relations between America and Israel. On that issue, "no clear-thinking honest person" would dispute the connection between American support for Israel and the terrorist jihad against America.

    Many "clear thinking, honest" Americans recognize that America was attacked because of what it represents to the forces of Islamic fundamentalism. America is the enemy to Osama bin Laden and his supporters throughout the Muslim world because we stand for everything they oppose: tolerance for all viewpoints, instead of rigid adherence to religious dogma, equality of women to pursue their own lives, instead of forced inferiority and suppression, and freedom for individuals to make their own life choices, instead of forced submission to the dictates of self-anointed despots.

    And those Americans base their views on the clear statements of bin Laden long before Sept. 11. In his pronouncements he made it clear that America was the Great Satan, which was despoiling the sanctity of Arab territory by stationing its soldiers on the holy land -- Saudi Arabia. In fact, the attacks on America were planned, organized and rehearsed at the very time when the Clinton administration was putting maximum pressure on Israel to make concessions to secure peace in the Mideast and at a time when Yasser Arafat was a frequent guest of honor at the White House.

    Free and open debate, Mr. Maxwell, for all Americans on all issues. Don't close the door on this one -- and, please don't impugn honest Americans with ominous rumblings about how disagreement with "certain groups of so-called Americans can get you killed." Unless you are reading some newspaper that the rest of us can't get access to, the only Americans I know of who have been killed since Sept. 10 were the 3,100 innocent victims of terrorism in the World Trade Center, and the wonderful young Americans who have given their lives in Afghanistan to protect us.

    Ronald Diner, Largo

    Absurd assertion

    The absurd assertion in this column that the "continued denial of a relationship between Israel and the twin towers tragedy is bad for everyone" and that "no clear-thinking, honest person would deny that Israel and the United States' support of the Jewish state's policies were a source of terrorists' anger" is a clear indication of Bill Maxwell's disingenuous, misanthropic view of the state of Israel

    It surprises me that a learned columnist, with a teaching background, could swallow the mantra emanating from the anti-Israeli Arab world. However, based on Maxwell's repeated anti-Israeli columns, I am not really surprised.

    Bennett Hoffman, Clearwater

    A necessary refutatio

    In previous columns Bill Maxwell presented a pro-Palestinian point of view wherein he argues that Israel is an occupier and oppressor. Some scholars balance Maxwell's point of view with historical evidence showing the conflict as Yasser Arafat's war to eradicate Israel and push all Jews into the sea. Other informed historians point out that Palestine is not a country, but a region, and the Arabs who live their are referred to as Palestinians. In Sunday's column, Maxwell breaks new ground with a pro-terrorist argument.

    With Maxwell's help, I now understand that Israeli and American policy, not terrorist insanity, is to blame for the deaths in New York City, at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. Terrorists anger justifies killing themselves and others.

    A pro-Palestinian position, though it lacks historical credibility, deserves the attention of concerned citizens. Most Americans support the creation of a Palestinian state when the terrorists stop killing Israelis and when the Arabs of the region agree to allow Israel to exist peacefully as a state. A pro-terrorist position that blames the victims and justifies what the terrorists did must be refuted, a refutation held by most clear-thinking, honest persons.

    Will Grant, St. Petersburg

    Embarrassing lette

    What a thoughtless and embarrassing letter. I am assuming that the letter writer is blaming African-Americans for the crime rate in this country today, as if no other race has criminals. And to end the letter with a lame statement that his ancestors would have "picked their own cotton" is ignorant

    Instead of plagiarizing a bumper sticker that he saw at a gun show, why not take a look at some of the U.S. casualties from the war in Afghanistan and look at their race. The very same people being blamed for the "devastation to society" are risking their lives for the letter writer and his freedoms.

    Scott Harris, Tampa

    A biased approac

    Robyn Blumner wrote an article on a subject she is obviously very biased about and which, I believe, she did very little research on. How many transsexuals (of which I am, pre-op) did she interview? How many cross-dressers, therapists or gender doctors did she talk to? How many gender clinics or support meetings did she go to? Just how much research did she actually do before she wrote her article? I'm guessing not much, after reading it

    There are many reasons why laws are passed to protect the minorities of this country. The disabled (I belong here) have the ADA. People of color, ethnicity, etc., have many civil rights laws to protect them, as do gays, lesbians, bisexuals, older employees (I also belong here at 56) and so on. These laws are necessary to try to put all on an equal plain. It doesn't always work that way, but it's a start. And when the laws don't meet the intended goals, they can be amended.

    I would also like to know the purpose of adding the comment about the furries (absolutely no offense intended). It had nothing to do with the main topic. My belief is that it was added to further show the transgendered in a discredited light to garner support for her views. It's an old ploy used by the prejudiced.

    Kenneth K. Wagner, Deerfield Beach

    Undermining Catholics

    Re: Sexual abuse cases still plague the Catholic Church, Jan. 13.

    Here we go again. Twice in one week you saw fit to publish stories concerning sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests. Not once in the five years I have lived in St. Petersburg, can I recall a story in the Times related to the good work that these men bring to this community, country and the world. Sure, there are some bad apples and they should be dealt with accordingly, but there are bad apples in the clergy of every faith.

    You seem to delight in undermining the Catholic faith in your newspaper at every turn. I have observed that Protestant, Hebrew and even Muslim happenings are dealt with quite differently by the Times.

    I am an adult convert to Roman Catholicism and very active in my church. The good that Roman Catholics bring to this community continually amazes me. I find it very sad that the Times takes such a warped view toward my church, a view sure to fester the intolerance that the uninformed have of what the Roman Catholic Church is all about.

    Robert H. MacPherson, St. Petersburg

    A job well done

    Re: MacDill dominates chunk of sky, Jan. 13.

    This past Sunday, Jean Heller had an article concerning MacDill Air Force Base airspace, written no doubt to clarify the situation created by Charles Bishop when he violated that controlled airspace on that fateful Jan. 5.

    The article was an outstanding example of well-researched and fact-filled journalism, totally objective in content. The graphics that accompanied the article were a great asset in depicting the whole "mystery" of controlled airspace, and show the readers what the true facts of this tragic situation were.

    Bishop basically was in MacDill airspace shortly after he lifted off the ground, still on the western side of the bay. Being a retired military pilot and former Pan Am airman, I can appreciate the accuracy of this article. Heller should be commended for her superb article.

    John Benenati, Brandon

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