Letters to the WSWS
12 May 2003
Below we post a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site.
Before Bush and Blair could attack Iraq against international law, the UN charter and worldwide international and public opinion, they needed a “big lie” as a pretext for the attack. Iraqi WMD was the “big lie” and they dutifully followed the advice of their Nazi mentors:
Nazi Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, in his 1925 book Mein Kampf, said: “The broad mass of the nation ... will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.”
Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
Nazi Reich Marshal Hermann Goering, before committing suicide at the Nuremberg Trials, said: “Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
Perhaps this was the most shocking aspect of the “shock and awe” campaign. An excuse was needed to justify the systematic murder and maiming of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children in an unrestricted campaign of violence and nonexistent Iraqi WMD provided that excuse.
The awesome part of the campaign has commenced with the rapacious and naked greed of the occupying nations’ grab for oil and reconstruction contracts, in a sickening display of capitalist avarice and gluttony, for the benefit of multinational British and American companies.
It is shocking that the British Parliament, western press and media organizations, and the American Congress, can turn a blind eye to this illegal mass murder for profits. As the saying goes, for evil to triumph all that is required is for good people to remain silent, as the innocent people of Iraq are crushed and exterminated under the neo-conservative, high-tech, military jackboot, for profit.
10 May 2003* * *
A Canterbury Tale has long been one of my favorite films. In fact, I love all the Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger films, especially A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway to Heaven its US title) with Kim Hunter and David Niven, and I Know Where I’m Going (with young Wendy Hiller). Not to mention The Red Shoes, although it is not really my favorite, even if it is the best known of his films. The elements of fantasy, mystery, and the fascination with all things human or of the human imagination are always present in these films.
There is wit along with sentimentality, humor, compassion and love (even in Peeping Tom, his disturbing film about voyeurism). In fact, Powell writes in his autobiography that the way A Matter of Life and Death came about is that he was asked by the British government to “make the Americans love the English” at the time before the US entered World War II. And he did!
I was privileged to meet Michael Powell at a celebration of his works at the Film Forum in New York City during the 1980s, shortly before his death. He was a small, dapper and courtly elderly man who kissed my hand and tried to look down my blouse! This was in keeping with the sensual nature of the man as he revealed himself to be in the autobiography and it made me smile.
Serious but cheeky, he gave a short talk before that night’s film showing. He seemed pleased at the tribute being given to his films and surprised that he had lived long enough to receive it. A truly memorable encounter.
9 May 2003* * *
As a reader of the New York Times for many years, I was profoundly sad to have to send them an email recently regarding their slanted and biased reporting on the American Civil Rights Commission hearings where the Republicans were trying hard to put their own people on the board.
It so happened I had watched the full hearings on CSPAN the day before and was shocked the Times was not saying what had happened, but what they want you “to believe happened”...
Is this still the America we all have been so proud of?
Keep up the good work!
T from New Jersey
3 May 2003* * *
I read an article from 1998 and was overwhelmed by your eloquent command of the English language. I also am in total agreement with your comments regarding the objectives and goals of the present leadership in the United Auto Workers union to date. As a parent and veteran member of the UAW I have never been offered an application for temporary summertime work for any of my three children, but have seen hundreds of family members and friends of my so-called union brothers and sisters hired time and time again. The local representatives themselves have ingratiated numerous family and friends with jobs and have never alerted the membership on a whole on the need for manpower. My reason for addressing this particular issue is that I look upon their discriminating hiring practices as a guaranteed increased profit sharing for them (avoiding the high cost of higher education, ensuring their offspring of benefits to offset their out-of-pocket costs and overall maintaining a majority vote in any election). This is obvious and very easy to prove. They have taken nepotism to an all time egotistical, self-indulgent, arrogant high.
They say “go to union meetings, you will be in the know.” Ha, there is never any “know” to learn at a union meeting, other than which bar they will all be watching the game at, just as soon as they can wrap up this obligatory function that never lasts more than an hour. I could go on for hours and hours. I am not just some crybaby wanting my share. I want for everyone. I have always held steadfast to my beliefs that everyone is entitled to the same treatment in the union. I have never taken any kind of perk from them for fear that at some point I would have to pay up—and from a female standpoint, paying up can be a very humiliating experience.
I have heard stories and seen the looks on women’s faces who have been used and then tossed back on the line. The new UAW looks out for their own while management looks the other way. The number of 1995-2000 seniority union offspring that are given appointed jobs is pathetic. One union “crony” has no less than 5 of his children and their husbands on off-line jobs that should have by rights gone to seniority employees. They make the excuse that they have college education and therefore are qualified. Bah, there is only one school that a line worker can go to that gives them the experience to see the changes that are needed to make a miserable employee’s work life better and that is “The School of Hard Knocks.”
This is just a small example of the great lengths the union uses its influence to make you either conform to their way of double standard thinking, or be left out of the loop. I know much more and if a full investigation were to commence they couldn’t run fast enough to cover their behinds. As you said, “the overall intellect of the upper echelon is lacking..” what do you think the monkeys on the lower rungs of the ladders are like? Let’s put it this way, if I were a Harley ridin’, animal slaughtering, NASCAR enthusiast, I would fit right in. I have labeled the UAW the “Hillbilly Mafia”. The only support they get from me is that two hours of green fees for Black Lake [union resort] they take out of my check on the first Thursday of the month.
8 May 2003* * *
Thank you so much for reporting on the American Airlines wage concessions. I was a flight attendant from 1978 through 1984. I flew for Western Airlines. The CEO at the time, Dominique Renda, did the exact same thing. He asked for a 12 percent pay cut, after four years of no pay raises and one other 10 percent pay cut and threatened bankruptcy. Employees, of course, took the pay cut rather than become unemployed. Six weeks later it was announced that the top 17 executives were given enormous raises. I’ve never seen so much anger among employees. A large percentage, I believe it was one third to one half of the flight attendants quit. We were not able to effect any change at the time, as Ronald Reagan was intent on breaking the backs of unions.
This apparently is an old strategy in the airline industry and is unconscionable. I’m so glad you have reported this most recent attack on corporate employees. Thank you.
26 April 2003