Torturous Middle East struggle
Stephen Hecht's letter (Forum, Feb. 8) asks us to rejoice at the vision of Soviet Jews arriving in Israel and immediately receiving their gas masks. We wonder why the Palestinians, native to the area, have yet to receive masks.
Mr. Hecht forgets a few things. One is that 90 percent of Soviet Jews want to settle in the West not in Israel. They go to Israel only as a last resort, when no alternative exists.
Second, the United Nations has declared that Zionism is racism. In fact, Israel is a textbook apartheid state. (I have firsthand knowledge of this, having existed in Israel as a non-Jew.)
Third, the Zionist mission to have Israel serve as a haven for the Jewish people is doomed to failure. The Palestinians, the rightful residents of the area called Israel, have been treated so horribly that the concept of peace in the Middle East is laughable.
Mr. Hecht must remember that there are many more Jews living in the United States than in Israel, the so-called "Jewish homeland." The reason is clear: Israel is hell, for Jews and non-Jews alike, and no one wants to live in hell.
Kirk S. Nevin
Bloody dictators like Saddam don't leave opposition leaders to succeed them. If Saddam goes, which seems likely, who will accept responsibility for this large and strategically critical part of the Middle East? Internally, Saddam's henchmen in the Baath party are unacceptable and the Iraqi religious fundamentalists may be even more dangerous to peace and stability. Syrian- or Iranian-sponsored puppets are a less attractive alternative.
King Hussein of Jordan's Hashemite family has historic claims to Iraq. His cousin, Faisal II, was killed in an Iraqi coup in 1958, and Saddam Hussein supported the coup. It is interesting that King Hussein's recent speeches elaborately praise the Iraqi people but fail to mention Saddam or Kuwait. The reason for seemingly cutting off his nose with the West may be the possibility of gaining a bigger nose to the east! King Hussein is moderate, Western-educated and married to an American. Some form of governance by King Hussein over the Jordanian-Iraqi territory, perhaps followed by a plebiscite, would be the most acceptable option for both the U.S. and Israel.
Roger C. Kostmayer
"So the mood of the Washington march . . . was a lark, a festival . . . I felt happy," writes Nora Jacobson (Other Voices, Feb. 1), as she demonstrated against the war in the Persian Gulf one recent Saturday.
Perhaps a more fitting way of coping with her "despair" might be to donate a pint of blood for the troops and civilians overseas or to volunteer her services to a local veterans hospital.
Instead of marching for herself, as she describes it, this victim of "depression" and "malaise" could more profitably spend some of her free time helping those who are the true casualties of war.
Ann P. McBride
The United States should be careful to win this gulf war at the bargaining table as well as on the battlefield. When the Iraqi forces have been crushed, we should dictate terms that should settle at least some of the sores of the region. First, northern Iraq should be cut off from the rest and renamed Kurdistan. Leave it to the Arabs and the Kurds to decide the details of the proper boundary, but give the Kurds the homeland they should have gotten at the end of World War I.
The rest of Iraq should be renamed Palestine. Settle all the Palestinians there. They and the Iraqis are all Arab brothers and sisters who should be able to get along with each other. Perhaps put King Hussein in charge. Let him and the Arabs choose who should rule the region with him.
Forbid the re-arming of Palestine. Use this as a starting point for disarming the region.
Total the dollar costs of the war and divide the responsibility for these costs among the various nations who benefit by having their oil protected: Germany, Japan, etc. If they do not pay up their share immediately, levy a "war tax," say 200 percent of the list price, on any product which contains even one small part from that country. Do not lift this tariff until that country's share is completely paid up.
Arthur S. Jensen
In response to a Feb. 1 column by Kevin Cowherd, I am a toll collector who has read his column many times, and I'm shocked to discover this guy is writing humor. I sure can understand his head-banging, if in fact humor is what he is supposed to be writing.
Why would anyone try writing a newspaper column, when he or she could be a toll collector?
From what I've been able to observe, basically the job description for "humor columnist" reads:
1. Keep pocket dictionary on desk.
2. Steal jokes from late-night comedy shows.
3. Find any segment of society to criticize.
4. Repeat Step 1.