Letters to the Editor

Dick's Tricks

Re: Jack Lessenberry's "Should We Bring Back The Draft" (Metro Times, March 22), no question bringing back the draft could increase opposition to the war in Iraq (if that's possible) which could lead to a change of course as it did in Vietnam. But I don't think it would with this administration. However, speaking of the draft, I watched the vice president on Face The Nation, and, while he was not in the room, I hold him responsible for my accidental fall from the couch. No circling the wagons on this one. It happened when he said: "I didn't ask for this job — I was drafted." I wouldn't care if he was staying in a 200-year-old farmhouse on the northern coast of Maine without insulation and windows in the middle of January with a raging nor'easter in the forecast: "Draft," "drafty," and "drafted" are words that should be banished from the vice president's vocabulary. Use of the word "drafted" from a man who requested, received and accepted five deferments when he faced the draft previously is unbelievable! Apparently he would rather start a war and send other people's children off to battle than serve in the military during one. —Michael Ash, Springfield, Mass.


Draft corrections

As a Vietnam-era draft resister, I continue to oppose, as does Jack Lessenberry, the restoration of a draft. However, Lessenberry's article neglects several important aspects of the present war machine and the anti-war movement, both past and present.

Just for the record, the anti-war movement did not disappear after the Vietnam Peace Accord and the institutionalization of the all-volunteer army. During the 1980s, millions of people, including lots of students, demonstrated against Reagan's nuclear saber-rattling and proxy wars in Central America. It is, however, unfortunately true that beyond the brief moment in February 2003 before Bush's Iraq War, a mass anti-war movement, bereft in particular of college students, has been absent from the national scene. On the other hand, lots of new people have joined the anti-war movement, including the parents and relatives of killed and wounded U.S. soldiers, such as Cindy Sheehan and Fernando Suarez. And tens of thousands from other sectors of the U.S. population will be joining them in New York City on April 29.

As for the present volunteer army, Lessenberry is correct in noting its class and racial composition as a reflection, in effect, of a poverty draft. He is incorrect, however, in suggesting that the military doesn't want "recruits with ... criminal records." In fact, there have been several recent stories about how military recruiters are desperately signing up whomever they can find, whether literate or not, gang member or not. In addition, the Pentagon has been privatizing lots of services that used to be done by the military. And billions of our tax dollars now go to these mercenaries from Vinnell, Blackwater, etc.

If we are to defeat this insatiable war-machine, we do need students to come out of their privatized entombment in front of video games and cable television. They should take a lesson from their peers in France who are demonstrating by the millions, shutting down universities and high schools to protest the policies of an arrogant right-wing government. If you want to shape the future, you've got to be active in the public world. And if we want to stop this war and the insane policies of the Bush administration, we've all got to get out into the streets —Fran Shor, Royal Oak


Theoretically speaking

Jack Lessenberry: Thanks for your piece about our retrograde legislators' attempts to alter the biology curriculum in favor of intelligent design ("Proof Darwin was wrong," Metro Times, March 15). As you wrote, no serious biologist questions the theory of evolution (or natural selection, the mechanism that drives it).

Our legislators, and half the country, are laboring under a persistent misunderstanding of the word "theory." In common parlance, a theory is a guess about how something works, as in, "I have a theory as to why George W. bobs his head all the time."

This is not the sense in which the word is used by scientists. Among scientists, an untested notion is a hypothesis. A theory is not the same as a hypothesis. A theory is a body of work and conclusions, validated by numerous, mutually reinforcing experiments, that has led to a large understanding of a particular field, such as the theory of gravity, for example. These legislators are acting as if the teaching of biology depends upon Darwin's hypothesis.

Although Darwin's ideas were hypotheses at one time, they aren't any more. These gents, who don't understand the distinction, are to biology what the Flat Earth Society is to astronomy.

And I know that you already know all this. I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate your levelheaded description of what our Neanderthal state reps are up to. I just can't keep a civil tongue in my head when I start talking about such folks and I appreciate that you somehow managed to in your article. —Patrick O'Connor, Pontiac


Nasty in the back

As I was skimming through the personals section of the Feb. 15 Metro Times, I stumbled upon the most repulsive ads that a magazine could print. I am disappointed and disgusted that Metro Times, which I highly enjoy, would devote an entire 10 pages to foul play. In the "personal services" section, I discovered prostitution ads, veiled with an "escort" title. One ad stated "Showers, massages and everything in between"; another ad states, "Ask about [the] 2 guy special!"

To call ourselves an intelligent society would imply that we learn from our mistakes. This is not the early 20th century, when our ignorance of the consequences of promiscuity was excused. Yet, to advertise casual sex as if it is harmless fun is misleading and degrading. It is a shame that such informative and mentally stimulating content is coupled with such vulgar and provocative trash. Even though I disagree with these tasteless ads, I realize that they are the fuel for distribution. In other words, even though I would like to see these ads discontinued, they are a very important ingredient in this rich literary pie. —Cybil Richard, Wixom


Erratum: In last week's News Hits column on Tiger Stadium ("Tiger tale," Metro Times, March 29), we incorrectly stated Karen Elizabeth Bush's city of residence. She lives in Rochester.

Send letters (250 words or less, please) to 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226, fax them to 313-961-6598 or e-mail [email protected]. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and
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