- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Revealing photograph

I appreciate the points made in yesterday's editorial on the Dixie Chicks ("The Dixie Chicks' landslide"), but it omitted an important fact that might tell a lot about their views and personalities.
Consider the cover photo of this week's Entertainment Magazine, being promoted prominently all over the media. The trio are completely naked, with provocative slogans written on their skin, including "Dixie Sluts." Indeed.
As a person who is very much for everyday decency and family values, I find this cover photo both disgusting and revealing (no pun intended). It seems to me that these women are saying, by this cover, "The heck with you all, we're the Dixie Chicks; we're sexy, we're shocking, and tough luck if you disagree with us."
Not to mention the hypocrisy. They all have families (good for you, girls, I do appreciate that) and often mention their families' importance to them. Then why create such a disgusting cover photo, which certainly will be offensive to many, many parents?
I imagine this cover photo will create a lot of interest in the Dixie Chicks and perhaps sell more records to young men, but I wonder how it will play with the Chicks' country audience overall. It seems the Chicks are just lowering themselves to the depths of marketing sleaze because, as your editorial points out, their sales have plummeted.As is said often on Madison Avenue, "Sex sells."
I would say to anyone seriously wondering where these ladies are coming from, all apologies from them aside, just look at this magazine cover.A picture is worth a thousand words.


Deja vu all over again?

Here we go again. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is saying that an Islamic state in Iraq will not be tolerated ("White House rules out theocracy led by Shi'ites," Page 1, Saturday). If this policy is followed, it will lead quickly to the Bush administration, with the consent of Congress, taking America down the same road Eisenhower took in Vietnam.
In that similar situation, after the French defeat in 1954, an agreement was made to hold elections in Vietnam to decide the government for a new, post-colonial country. It subsequently became clear to the Eisenhower administration that the Communist Party was likely to win. The American government would not permit that to happen. An American-sponsored government was created in South Vietnam. In the ensuing struggle, more than 50,000 American soldiers died, and between 2 million and 3 million Vietnamese. At the war's end, Vietnam got the same government it would have gotten had the 1954 elections been held, perhaps only more repressive.
Now that it seems possible that honest elections in Iraq will result in an Islamic state, similar to that in Iran, it also seems likely that the current American government will make the same mistakes in Iraq that the Eisenhower administration made in Vietnam. The argument will be that American lives and money were given to free Iraq, so America deserves to form the government.
That is a nice idea, but unfortunately, it won't work that way. Unless the Bush administration is willing to accept the results of free elections and avoid the kinds of manipulations that were used in the Vietnam era, we are in for more tragedy. All the death and suffering in Vietnam was a waste; let's not do it again in Iraq.

El Cerrito, Calif.

Too many Zimbabweans

An article about the ongoing acts of aggression by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's party against citizens of Zimbabwe ("Zimbabwean killed in Iraq gets no respect from Mugabe," Page 1, Saturday) makes the claim that "more than 600,000 Zimbabweans live in exile in Britain." This is nonsense. According to the Home Office, the total number of asylum seekers coming to Britain from Zimbabwe in 2001 and 2002 came to just 10,000. That's just applicants, whether admitted or turned away.

Hastings, East Sussex,
United Kingdom


There is an error in Stephen Goode's review of Rebecca Solnit's book "River of Shadows" ("The 19th-century photographer who changed the world with his horses," Books, Sunday). Mr. Goode writes in the opening paragraph: "Eadweard Muybridge was the 19th-century photographer who first took pictures of horses in motion, freezing their movements in a series of frames. The photographs were a revelation it was 1878 and their fame spread throughout the world. They showed that horses always had one hoof on the ground, even at full gallop, a fact that surprised many, who assumed the speeding animals, at least part of the time, had all four legs raised above the earth."
Not so. Muybridge showed the reverse, because of the opposite popular belief: that horses always had at least one foot on the ground. His photographs of a running horse show that the animal had all hooves off the ground in one frame.

Post-doctoral fellow and imager lab manager
Imager Laboratory for Computer Graphics, Visualization and HCI
Vancouver, British Columbia

Division in the ranks

I am amazed at how frequently the media err in referencing military ranks.[EnSpace]For example, yesterday's Page One article "Iraq war's color lines" shows a basic lack of understanding of military structure.
The sentence "Air Force Cmdr. Valerie Bryant of the 82nd Airborne Division, the first woman to command a jump unit" is full of inconsistencies. First, commander is a Navy, not an Air Force rank. The 82nd Airborne Division is an Army unit, neither Air Force nor Navy. If somehow your reporters could have thrown in a Marine designation, all four branches of the armed forces would have been credited in one erroneous sentence.

Glenn Dale, Md.

Steel data

Lewis Leibowitz, counsel to the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC), accused me of making unsubstantiated claims about the inaccuracy of a CITAC estimate that steel tariffs and higher steel prices eliminated 200,000 jobs from March to December in 2002 ("Fabricated steel," Letters, yesterday).
The behavior of steel prices in both U.S. and foreign markets is critical to the effects of tariffs on U.S. metal fabricators. Data published in December by the independent consulting group World Steel Dynamics showed that prices for hot-rolled, cold-rolled and galvanized steel rose more in Europe and Japan than in the United States from March to December. My own published price comparisons for hot-rolled, the basic commodity or marker in the steel market, show prices were higher in Europe and Asia than in the United States by early 2003.
Unfortunately, the CITAC econometric model considered changes in U.S. prices but not in foreign prices. This is a critical omission because the relative cost of materials for metal fabricators in the United States actually improved vis-a-vis foreign competitors during the period studied.
In the industries the CITAC study claims lost 200,000 jobs, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show employment actually rose from March to December. Those data were reported on Page 21 of the CITAC study. The reader may look there for more evidence of the health of steel-consuming industries.

Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
College Park



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