- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Colonial-era biological warfare

I wish to add a footnote to Saturday's editorial "Smallpox," which described the potentially lethal effects of that disease if deliberately spread among a civilian population. There is a historical precedent in America. During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), Lord Jeffrey Amherst, commanding general of British forces in North America, concurred in the use of infected blankets as fomites to spread the Variola major virus to the Ottawa Indians in the Ohio River Valley. This abhorrent action, which was followed by epidemic smallpox among those Indians, is well-documented by very extensive and readily available extant correspondence between Amherst and his subordinates.


J.L. CHURCH

Durango, Colo.

Prose, purple and unappetizing

By most accounts, A.M. Rosenthal was a serviceable editor while at the New York Times, but as a columnist, he would benefit from some editing. Over breakfast, I read his latest piece ("Mentioning the unmentionable," Commentary, Monday), which remarks on the "disease of anti-Semitism" that is "eating pits into the European face and soul" while people of good heart are busy talking about "how to salve the new sores grown up between Europe and the United States." Urrp.

If all this, per the headline, involves "mentioning the unmentionable," I'll opt for the status quo ante delirium. And finally, pray tell, what do "nasties" seeking to divest Harvard of investments in Sharon's Israel have to do with this alleged "new flood of anti-Semitic filth?"


ROBERT HELLMAN

Tracys Landing, Md.

Concerted effort to shoo-away fans

While I enjoyed Scott Galupo's review of Friday's Rolling Stones concert ("Stones still have it on 'Licks' tour," Metro, Monday), I would like to make a few catty comments. I was one of those "few thousand more Washingtonians" whom Mr. Galupo accused of neglecting to pony up for Friday's show. Yet, when tickets first went on sale to the general public, only remote nosebleed seats were offered, which was particularly galling because we knew very well that blocks of decent seats at the same price were being held back. Sure, they eventually were released, months later, but by then, I and many other fans had found other uses for our time and disposable income.

How much did ticket sellers expect for those nosebleed seats? After the obligatory facility/tax/processing charges, about $115 a pop. That's before they nailed those who ended up attending with the surprise $25 parking charge after delaying them for hours in traffic. If I'm going to be gouged and abused, I sure would like to actually see the band.

While it's a shame that the area couldn't muster enough "true fans" to attract a follow-up show at the MCI Center, who really is to blame? When were we fans, either those who attended or those who refused to attend, ever treated by the concert promoters, stadium owners and Ticketmaster as fans or consumers or even cattle? Tell me a single time when we were considered to be anything but "walking wallets."

Perhaps at the next Stones concert, several thousand more music reviewers could take up the slack for the honor of Washington.


MIKEL R. RYAN

California, Md.

'What's wrong with this picture?'

Three white men in Texas drag a black man James Byrd to his death in 1998 and, among other charges, are charged with a hate crime. Perfectly logical.

Two black men in Kansas are accused of executing five whites after the commission of many, many acts of brutality and are not charged with hate crimes ("Wichita to revisit brutal slayings as testimony begins," Page 1, Monday).

What's wrong with this picture?

The New York Times carries 102 staff stories regarding the Texas crime and zero regarding Reginald and Jonathan Carr's Kansas murder spree. What's wrong with this picture?

Court TV will not carry the Kansas trial because of a conflict with another trial in New Jersey. How could I have missed whatever it was that happened in New Jersey that was so terrible? What's wrong with this picture?


ED BACHTELL

New Carrollton

Armed forces should defend U.S.-Mexican border

Contrary to the argument advanced in yesterday's editorial "Immigration conundrum," refusing to use our armed forces to protect our country from illegal aliens crossing the border eliminates the only strategy that can succeed.

The editorial argued against using the military because given "the drug cartels' ability to infiltrate cultures of all sorts, our armed forces must be protected from the inevitable taint of drug-related corruption." This is specious. The same argument could be applied to any U.S. personnel from any part of our government doing the same task.

Therefore, The Washington Times is either not thoughtful or not serious enough to embrace the necessary means of protecting our borders and enforcing our immigration laws.

In any case, The Times should not feel isolated. Such insincerity is widely shared by the rest of the press and by every president and Congress since Lyndon B. Johnson.


GARY GAMAGE

Everett, Wash.

Got beer?

I read with interest but was unconvinced by Dick Boland's column deriding PETA's anti-milk ads ("Spare the cows," Commentary, Sunday). These ads point out that even beer is healthier to drink than cow's milk. Indeed, I live in Belgium, where some schools provide low-alcohol beer to elementary school students to help them stay away from fattening drinks such as milk. When I was lucky enough to visit America, I couldn't help but notice that milk was everywhere. I also couldn't avoid noticing that it showed in people's waistlines.

I wonder if milk drinkers realize that cows suffer in the dairy industry. They are artificially impregnated and have each calf removed, which is very stressful for the mother and terrifying for the calf, so that the milk intended for the calf can be poured on cereal.

I'm glad People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is bringing attention to the unhealthful qualities of cow's milk and the mistreatment cows suffer in the dairy industry. There are plenty of delicious alternatives, such as rice and soy milk, which give both calves and bathroom scales a break.


PIERRE DE GROOTE

Ghent, Belgium


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