LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 

postscript

Best Of Local?

To the Editor:

I think it would be a good idea if you were to urge your readers to focus on local businesses when voting for the "Best of Memphis" (September 30th issue). Starbucks is the best coffeehouse in Memphis? All Starbucks are the same everywhere you go and don't reflect the individuality and character of our city. Blockbuster is the best video store?

It's like if I had a friend named "Dave." If you asked me what I liked best about Dave and I said, "I like his Nike shoes, his Tommy Hilfiger jeans, and his Polo shirts," it would tell you nothing about Dave.

When friends come in from out of town, I don't take them to McDonald's to eat; I take them to Pho Hoa Binh. Mom-and-pop businesses are an endangered species, and preserving them preserves our culture and gives something back to our community.

Christian Walker

Memphis

Editor's note: Sounds like your friend Dave is a shallow consumerist.

Bush, Bush, Bush

To the Editor:

In the blink of an eye, George W. Bush has squandered the goodwill, the budget surplus, the moral authority, and the strong military that were left to him. I know some people support him and his tragically dim-witted policies, but the first debate revealed him as the petulant little incompetent he is.

Carolyn Adler

Memphis

To the Editor:

President Bush made his glaring naivete about the situation in Iraq clear during the first presidential debate. When asked to explain his remarks about miscalculating the conditions in post-war Iraq, he replied, "It's hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is."

It is clear to me now that President Bush only understands what's at stake in this war abstractly -- on paper and on TV. I can't help but suspect that if he had ever put himself in harm's way as a soldier, then his decision to commit troops in Iraq would have been tempered by the knowledge of the sometimes irrevocable sacrifice in sending a family member or loved one to war. At the very least, it no doubt would have prompted him to develop a better exit strategy before invading a country that posed no immediate threat -- a fact his own administration now admits.

I absolutely agree with President Bush's determination to stop terrorism, but I am increasingly distressed by his unwillingness to rethink an obviously ineffective strategy. His plan is not working, and the fact that he is refusing to entertain alternatives to this approach is making my choice in November clear.

Christine Smith

Memphis

To the Editor:

John Kerry has made a reasonable suggestion for burden-sharing in Iraq. He said as president he would convene a summit of major nations to move others to share responsibility for rebuilding Iraq. Not surprisingly, President Bush reacted angrily to this suggestion, as he did to Kerry's proposal that we talk directly with North Korea to try to resolve that increasingly dangerous situation.

By rejecting these and other sensible ideas, Bush continues along the path which has led to our growing isolation in the world. His failure to respect the views of other nations and to pursue cooperative global efforts has made the world a more dangerous place. By spurning international law, Bush signals that the U.S. need not follow the rules we expect other nations to follow.

Bush has caused the U.S. to unilaterally break or reject widely accepted treaties on trade, arms control (including nuclear proliferation), criminal justice, and the environment.

Over the protests of the International Red Cross and others, including U.S. military lawyers, Bush's counsel scorned as "quaint" and "obsolete" some Geneva Conventions provisions prohibiting abuse of POWs. We all know the disastrous consequences at the Abu Ghraib prison.

In leading us to war with Iraq while the U.N. inspectors were still at work, Bush ignored the overwhelming consensus of world opinion. All these actions have now come back to haunt us, and they will continue to do so as long as Bush remains president.

T. J. Walsh

Memphis

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