Jack Lessenberry, the real black mark of September 11 will always be that religious fanatics from other countries made a decision to kill thousands of innocent civilians, not that a very small number of people in our country illegally were held for questioning ("Why we aren't at war," Metro Times, June 19-25). If 20 U.S. citizens entered Saudi Arabia under false pretenses, took over airliners, and crashed into religious monuments and other key institutions, how concerned would that country’s citizens be to "stepping on the toes" of folks in their country illegally?
It would be foolish for us to not consider the "slippery slope" concept when examining the effect of government policies on our rights. But since the beginning of time, men have formed groups, clans, cities and countries for a lot of reasons — and security heads the list. We expect and demand our country to keep us secure, so that we can pursue life, liberty and happiness. If the folks in Washington get out of hand, we simply go to the ballot box and exercise another important right, the ability to choose the people we want to put in power to make those decisions on a national level for us. —Jim Harris, Sterling Heights
When Jack Lessenberry asserts that we are not at war, he confuses a legal expression with reality. Using the same standard, the Civil War was not a war. Last fall, Congress authorized force; the president is not acting alone. September 11, 3,000 people were murdered; our enemies then lacked the technical means to kill 30,000 or 300,000. Would a mushroom cloud over New Orleans be sufficient evidence that we are at war?
Since Mohammed Atta and fellow terrorists are enemy combatants (this status can be challenged in federal court) and not common criminals, civil due process is not owed them. Our courts do not recognize evidence from an illegal search. Should warrants be obtained for al-Qaeda computers in Pakistan? If someone tells John Doe that an accused terrorist met with al-Qaeda leaders, that is important intelligence, but in court it is merely hearsay. Should we let terrorists roam the country until they commit a crime, then pick up the pieces? Imagine the public clamor for draconian measures — not the current relatively targeted response — if such an encore attack occurs.
Hopefully, Lessenberry will continue to eloquently dissent — and express his passion for civil liberties. But we are at war, and his logic is, therefore, flawed. —Tom Schultz, firstname.lastname@example.org, Dearborn
New job for Jack?
I wonder why Jack Lessenberry, your best columnist, hasn't yet gotten around to proposing that George W. Bush be impeached. After all, there were a lot of people who wanted to impeach Clinton because he was (maybe) screwing someone in his office with her permission. Mr. Bush is screwing all of us with his total disregard of the Constitution, his bungling on the Middle East, his kowtowing in every possible way to big business and the super rich, and his turning everything — including his Great War — into politics.
Come to think of it, maybe we should let the Shrub and his cohorts destroy more of the Constitution; then it could be rewritten by the next administration to get rid of some of its worst provisions, such as a Senate which is not proportionally elected, life terms for Supreme Court justices, the fostering of gun nuts and giving far too much power to the states, which maybe at the extreme should be limited to fixing the roads and issuing fishing and drivers' licenses.
Mr. Lessenberry, think about it and jump in. —Frank Bredell, email@example.com, Lincoln Park
One sick man
Keith A. Owens, you are not alone in feeling that
R. Kelly needs psychological help ("I believe he can fall," Metro Times, June 12-18). This man, with all his fame and success, is sick. I'm sure he is not the only one in the entertainment business that has ever conducted such disgusting acts with young females, but he is probably one of the dumbest brothers because he has it on tape. I saw the tape, I heard his voice on the tape and I just could not believe it. Not only is he having unprotected sex with who knows how many women, but he is married and has children. I've always thought something was wrong with him stemming back to his relationship with Aaliyah. R. Kelly is a pedophile and he should not have gone this long without treatment for the disease. —Wendy Cason, Detroit