The danger dots
Re "Patt Morrison Asks: Brian Jenkins," Opinion, Nov. 20
Brian Jenkins agrees with Condoleezza Rice that "security has to be right 100% of the time but terrorists only once."
Actually, as Jenkins points out, it seems that terrorists don't have to be "right" (successful attacks) at all anymore. Just by attempting attacks, they send us into a fear-driven frenzy of responses that disrupt our society and economy without making us significantly more secure. In other words, they terrorize us into acting against our own interests.
Ever since the 9/11 attacks, I've been puzzled as to why our leaders don't advocate one of the most effective responses to terrorism: refusing to be terrorized. How about a national gut (and head) check, so that we can meet the challenge of terrorism intelligently and soberly, measuring the threat and understanding it for what it is.
Jennings demonstrates the lack of depth in his work on the whole question of "terrorism."
Jealousy of our way of life is not a motivation to commit suicide attacks. So-called terrorists are motivated by deep anger at our bullying tactics to impose our political and economic system. The British did it once, and now America is continuing the practice.
We can fight them with armies and security measures until we are bankrupt, but it is a losing strategy. Or we can stop our bullying tactics. The latter is simpler, safer, kinder, more just and cheaper.
In her interview with Jenkins, Patt Morrison shows her bias. She accepts, with no hard counter-questioning, Jenkins' renunciation of torture. She gives no hint of questioning security policies that would give preference to intelligent profiling over intrusive "junk" violations and full-body scanners.
Jenkins objects to
waterboarding and any form of torture. He suggests that lawyers who tolerate waterboarding be themselves waterboarded. I'm no lawyer, but I'd take a waterboarding if it would save the life of my wife or my daughter.
Morrison's subtle bias is not "risky business," but it lends a sour taste to the bulk of her interview, which lives up to her usual
John A. Saylor
Apparently Jenkins is one of the few with even the slightest clue as to what he is talking about, as well as what to do in this frustrating matter of responding to terrorists. I fully agree with him in this interview, especially his thinking on the media, experts and his opposition to torture.
I am a retired Marine and think his idea that lawyers undergo waterboarding before they issue relevant opinions should be mandatory. I agree that torture has done us no honor.
It worked in 1968
Re "Scared smokeless," Editorial, Nov. 22
When I was in the fifth grade, my father, a gastroenterologist, came to my classroom to present a slide show about the health effects of cigarettes. It was pretty gruesome; the most graphic slide showed an entirely black lung on an autopsy tray.
Many years later at a high school reunion, a few of us were chatting when someone suddenly thanked me for having my father come to class that day. He recalled the impact that single slide had on his choice never to start smoking. To my surprise, others recalled their visceral reaction to the lung photo.
It may not have deterred everyone in the room that day in 1968, but it clearly made a life-altering difference for some.
Jacqueline Jacobs Caster
Great editorial on smoking. Most everything was included. Being a dentist, I talk with patients on this subject if they are willing to engage.
Two additional points come to mind. First, we all pay for smokers' unhealthy habit in taxes and insurance rates, as smoking contributes to so many diseases.
Second, smoking in some movies is over the top. Studies have shown that young people are more likely to light up after watching movies in which smoking is prevalent. I asked a director recently about that; his reply was that's the way society is. I don't think so.
Putting up with Palin
Re "On pop culture and politics," Nov. 20
Sarah Palin's conclusion that John F. Kennedy's faith did not inform his politics is correct.
In 1960, while attending a rally in Gonzaga University's crowded gym, I watched a young, handsome, charismatic presidential candidate work his political magic prior to securing the Democratic nomination in Los Angeles. We all believed he shared our values, and we agreed with his view that he could be both a good president and a good Roman Catholic.
In retrospect, voters should not have worried about his religion in the first place. JFK was never a convicted Catholic, merely a cultural one. Had he undergone the level of personal scrutiny that dogs candidates today, he never would have been elected.