’Raq-ing Bungalow 8

To the editor:

I am a 29-year-old Army officer serving my second tour in Iraq; the first was in Baghdad, my most recent takes me further north to Mosul. On an otherwise uneventful day, I happened across George Gurley’s article “Bungalowing Iraq” online [The New York World, Feb. 19, 2007]. I write to you tonight not with any sense of animosity or anger, but a sense of enjoyment and confusion that a war that has taken up such a large part of my life—and an ever-increasing number of my comrades’—has little or no impact on so many in America. Whenever I’m in the United States, I have noticed a growing sense of disconnection—greater than the now-growing discontent—amongst my friends and family and the majority of Americans I meet. Mr. Gurley has captured that disconnection with a sense of the ironic and a wit that I have thoroughly enjoyed. I want to thank him not only for his observations, but also for simply showing up to ask the question. It’s Friday night here in Mosul, and between the mortar attacks and I.E.D.’s, I hope to take some time and watch a movie, read a book or call home—none of which are “normal” Friday-night activities for my peers. Regardless of what happens, know that Mr. Gurley’s article has made this a noteworthy day. Please keep up the good work and, when I come back to N.Y.C. to visit friends, maybe he can ask me about Iraq if I ever make it to Bungalow 8. I will be the guy who isn’t drinking the $350 vodka.

Derek Bennett

Mosul, Iraq

To the editor:

I just read Mr. Gurley’s article about Iraq while serving in Iraq. It gave me a chuckle. Too bad we have not managed to mobilize a nation. Thanks for doing it. I hope you plan a sequel or update at some point.

Maj. G. Joseph Kopser Jr.

Mosul, Iraq

Love the New Look

To the editor:

Let the word go forth from this time and space, to print media and Internet alike, that the torch of journalistic integrity has passed from venerable broadsheet to innovative tabloid. Yet The New York Observer remains Gotham’s superlative paper of rectitude and discovery.

Indeed, the inaugural edition (Feb. 19, 2007) of the redesigned newspaper was a triumph. From Nicholas Von Hoffman’s incisive take on George W. Bush’s sub rosa plans for an Osirak-style bombardment of Iran—and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s interest-group-driven complicity—to the subversively skewed comics of Drew Friedman and K. Bidus (can William Bendix sightings be far behind?), The New York Observer offers readers first-rate reportage, informed opinion and cant-free political analysis.

In an age of public corruption, corporate malfeasance and constitutional breakdown, The Observer boldly answers Juvenal’s timeless query: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who watches the watchmen?)

Rosario A. Iaconis

Mineola, N.Y.

Spitzer Tzu?

To the editor:

“Gov. Spitzer: Don’t Get Even, Get Humble” [Editorial, Feb. 19, 2007] mischaracterizes the opportunity the Governor has and his tactics. He was elected because of his independent positions regarding the status quo in Wall Street, the insurance industry and other areas. His success as State Attorney General made the voters take him seriously as Governor. Albany needs help, and confrontation may be the only way to accomplish the goal of reviving the Legislature. What looks like revenge may simply be the tactics necessary to make reform real.

Steven A. Ludsin

East Hampton, N.Y.

Truth as Collateral Damage

To the editor:

Joe Conason is right that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should come clean about their role in outing Valerie Plame, but it’s unlikely they ever will [“Bush and Cheney Must Come Clean,” Feb. 12, 2007]. Clearly, they believe being in power means never having to say you’re sorry, which is the least they could have done when confronted in the first place. No doubt the reason that Patrick Fitzgerald chose not to charge anyone—using the arcane statute covering the disclosure of classified information to inappropriate sources instead—has to do with the difficulty of proving intent. With the Bush administration, the intent is always to do what it wants whenever it wants at whatever the cost, while whoever or whatever gets in the way—including whole populations—is seen as necessary collateral damage.

Lynn Geller


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