Volume 22, Number 34 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 1 - 7, 2010
Letters to the Editor
Terror is non-partisan
To The Editor:
In the “Terror Talk” section of UnderCover in the December 25 - 31 issue, you quote Community Board 1 Chairperson Julie Menin’s recent blog where she writes that some “liberal activists” opposing the terror trials in our community are “ironically siding with many Republicans.” You state that it appears to be a dig at board members such as myself. I don’t think it’s a dig at me, since I’m not a liberal and have never been a member of the Republican Party. Nonetheless, comments like hers, politicizing a non-partisan issue, obfuscate the real life and death issues of having the trials in our community.
In Mrs. Menin’s blog in the Huffington Post, she asks “Why should that information about waterboarding and other methods of enhanced interrogation be locked away in a secret tribunal….We once and for all need to shed light on the fact that a means of torture was used.” It’s no secret that the confessed mass murderer Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was waterboarded and that that led to the capture of many more terrorists. Is it really necessary to endanger our city and strangle it with counter-terrorism measures in order to keep bashing George Bush and Dick Cheney?
Military tribunals are open and legitimate, having been authorized by Congress. These detainees are enemy combatants seized on foreign battlefields. Mirandizing them will hamper critical intelligence gathering, increasing danger to the homeland in the future. Nazi war criminals arrested after World War II were tried by a military court in Nuremburg. If the administration does insist on having trials in federal court, which, by the way, will greatly benefit A.G. Eric Holder’s former law firm, why not a change of venue? I think Chicago would be a great place for them.
The danger of terror attacks during these trials is very real, and while the N.Y.P.D. does a superb job in deterring these attacks, the federal government does not, as the attempted bombing of a Northwest flight on Christmas Day proves.
What about the immense cost of trying these enemy combatants in our civil courts? Security measures alone will cost about $100 million for starters. And the K.S.M. trial won’t be the last. At a time when the city, state, and federal governments are going broke, borrowing more money for unnecessary trials is insane. This money should be spent on the first responders, recovery workers, and Downtown residents who are suffering from serious illnesses due to 9/11 toxic exposures.
However, these issues are peripheral to the big reality, one that many in our community choose to ignore. We are at war, and here in New York City we’re on the front line. It’s a war against Islamic Totalitarianism, an ideology that wants to subject the entire world. The goal of the jihadis is to kill or convert everyone who does not believe in their version of Islam. Apologies from the president for past U.S. actions or bowing to the Saudi king will not stop this. Trials in civil courts to show the world how fair we are will not change to mind of a single jihadi bent on becoming a martyr. Before I covered the attacks of 9/11, I’d covered Hamas and Islamic Jihad rallies in Gaza. The hatred I saw towards Christians, Jews, and anyone else not a Muslim is difficult for westerners to comprehend. I was gratified that President Obama finally recognized that we are dealing with a powerful evil, but I’m dismayed that he is too timid to name the enemy and call for victory. Now is the time to wake up and get rid of political correctness. Don’t forget that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, besides masterminding the 9/11 attacks, beheaded Daniel Pearl. In these times, a bleeding heart can lead to a fate like his.
Allan Tannebaum is a photojournalist and a member of C.B. 1
Fund mass transit
To The Editor:
Outrageous and stupid are the cuts approved by the M.T.A. (news article, Dec. 18 – 24, “Bus & subway budget axe would cut deep Downtown”). Hello! The working/middle class is overloaded, with no respite in sight. Unemployment, (a reason why payroll tax is short $100 million) and foreclosures keep climbing while the banks take a free ride with our tax money and heavy interest rates. It’s amazing that bailouts are only available for corporations too big to fail; yet Public Transportation (a bigger corporation than all the A.I..G’s in terms of impact to the workforce) is not in the same league for a bailout, mind you, using taxes that should be allocated for public services? And what happens to the kids that cannot afford the subway/bus fare? A devious way of making public education available only to those that can afford to pay the fare. How cynical to balance the budget at the expense of the minds of our poor kids.
As reported by the N.Y. Times, so far the Iraq war has cost the American taxpayer an estimated $860 billion. It’s anybody’s guess what Afghanistan will cost. And let’s not forget the loss of life. Hard to put a price on that.
The M.T.A. and our legislators (if they are visionaries) should consider reducing by let’s say by 10% the tax money that goes to Washington’s war chest and use that 10% to improve our public transportation system.
Tax the bridges.
No more auto perks for government officials, no private limos at the expense of taxpayers, whether they work in N.Y.C., Albany or Washington. Let them take public transport or pay the congestion tax that Bloomberg wanted to levy.
We don’t need more private cars in the city. Mother Earth, (and us, think asthma, glaciers melting, floods, etc.,) is choking with carbon footprints. Mars or the Moon are not livable alternatives.
Christ’s no X-man
To The Editor:
Keep Christ in Christmas!
I try to be as “politically correct” as I can, around the holidays. I guess that “Happy Holidays” in a mixed crowd of my friends is a fine salutation, but, I also, firmly, believe in calling the holiday by its right name! In a recent edition of the Downtown Express, there were photos of the beautiful Christmas tree in front of the New York Stock Exchange (Photo caption, Dec. 18 – 24, “Xmas on Wall St.”). Indeed, it was majestic, and, I, having enjoyed a glorious 36-year career on the NYSE, was truly elated to see you report on the annual Christmas tree lighting and celebration that followed. It has thrilled the hearts of many for lots of years. Unfortunately, in my opinion, your reporting was marred a bit. The caption under the photo of the great tree read “Xmas on Wall St.” This is a very important time for Christians. Yes, Christmas time means Santa Claus, family gatherings, special meals, caroling, and, the giving of gifts. We believe that this was the “start” of the giving of gifts. God gave the world The Greatest Gift. His Son, Christ! In the future, please try to keep Christ in CHRISTmas!
Thank you. Happy Holidays and all the best in the coming year.
Joseph A. Morrone
Editor’s Note: Thanks to you for piquing our curiosity about “Xmas.” According to Merriam-Webster, the Oxford English Dictionary and other Internet sources, the abbreviation dates back centuries and is connected to the Greek letter chi (X), which begins the spelling of “Christ.” According to one source, old time typesetters were looking to save space and some work by abbreviating the word. Similarly, our headline writer was just looking to save space and not trying to eliminate Christ from the holiday. “Xmas” is pronounced “Christmas.” We hope you and all readers who celebrate the holiday had a Merry Christmas.