Monday, May 24, 2004

Hard-nosed reporting

Nice sleuthing on the part of Public Interest Watch, a big-business front group that breathlessly proclaims it has “uncovered” our warehouse while refusing to disclose its industry funders (“Treasure trove,” Inside the Beltway, Friday).

What extraordinary detective skills it must have taken to notice the mailbox with the name “Greenpeace” on the front of the building. Thanks for the giggle.


Operations manager



Remembering WWII

In the article laying out the chronology of World War II on Friday (“Uncommon valor, common virtue”) you briefly stated: “1941 March: Bulgaria and Yugoslavia join the Axis.” By failing to add that this was followed by massive street protests in Belgrade, Serbia on March 27, resulting in the overthrow of the government and the subsequent rejection of the Tripartite Pact, you partly misled your readers.

The truth is that in reaction to the decisive refusal of the people in Serbia to join the Axis, Adolf Hitler decided to bomb Belgrade on Easter April 6, 1941, destroying parts of the city and killing several thousand people. Serbs and Montenegrins were among the staunchest anti-Nazi allies throughout World War II.


Press counselor

Embassy of Serbia and Montenegro



Your special commemorative section “Uncommon valor, common virtue” (Friday) is to be commended. It is informative and truly pays tribute to those who fought and those who fought and died to defend democracy.

I am a grandmother who is proud to remember the dates of her 10 grandchildren’s birthdays, but also proud to remember the dates when we celebrated the end of the war in Europe — V-E Day, May 8, 1945 — when President Truman declared the end of fighting there, and V-J Day — Aug. 15, 1945, when Emperor Hirohito of Japan declared to his people that they had been defeated.

Though I was a child at that time, I vividly remember celebrating both occasions in New York’s Times Square.

Being a modern grandmother, I “googled” to check my memory of the date of V-J Day. states V-J Day was Aug. 15. The British Imperial War Museum site gives Aug. 15 as the date. cites Aug. 15 as the date for V-J Day, as do other sites. The Sept. 2 date in your timeline was the date of the formal surrender of the Japanese to Gen. Douglas MacArthur on board the USS Missouri.

The emperor had declared his country’s defeat on Aug. 15. The Japanese “gave up” on that date. The fighting officially stopped on that day, and the date we all remember and celebrated as V-J Day was Aug. 15. Please correct your timeline to show the true date of the capitulation and ultimately the “formal surrender” of the Japanese on Sept. 2.

We who celebrated on Aug. 15, 1945, do not want to discover that we were wrong and that the war was not over.


Arlington, Va.

Following Stanford guidelines

Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA ) would like to address three inaccuracies regarding Stanford University’s special fees election in The Washington Times article “Chicano group denied funding” (Nation, May 9).

First, MEChA’s special fees request amounted to less, not more, than $40,000. Second, El Centro Chicano is a division of Stanford University’s Dean of Students Office. El Centro Chicano is not “the school’s Hispanic umbrella group.” Most important, the student elections at Stanford were not a referendum against MEChA. Simply, student organizations with proposed annual budgets exceeding $8,000 are put on a spring-quarter ballot so students can vote on their funding requests. More than 20 percent of undergraduate groups on the ballot in 2004, of which MEChA was one, did not pass.

MEChA lost by just 33 votes. Groups that received fewer votes than MEChA include the Stanford Axe Committee, an organization dedicated to maintaining the traditions of Stanford and Stanford Athletics and promoting school spirit; and Mind’s Eye, a literary journal.


MEChA co-chairman

Stanford University

Stanford, Calif.

To accept, or not to accept

In reading Charles Hurt’s story “Kerry eyes delaying acceptance” (Page 1, Saturday), I noticed that he reported some of Sen. John Kerry’s supporters were collecting and spending millions to aid his campaign but failed to mention that President Bush’s supporters also are spending millions to help get him elected.

Was the oversight just that, or was it a deliberate attempt to mislead the readers?


Statesville, N.C.


If Sen. John Kerry does delay his nomination as mentioned, the Democratic National Committee should be forced to forfeit all taxpayers’ money it has received to put on this ‘non-nominating’ convention in Boston in July. If the Democrats want to have a get-together, fine, but not with our money.


Geneva, Ohio

This land is whose land?

When defending the retention of the Gaza settlements, Rebecca Chesner (“Israel’s Gaza presence,” Letters, Sunday) uses the ploy of offering numerous confusing arguments. However, the real injustice is easily shown:

The U.S. King-Crane Commission of 1919 found that just 10 percent of the indigenous population was Jewish, and they did not want a Zionist state installed.

When the United Nations installed Israel on 51 percent of the land in 1948, the indigenous population was not consulted. Nearly a million villagers were driven into exile. So much for the democracy Mrs. Chesner advocates.

Israel has 78 percent of the land and is still annexing more. David Ben-Gurion, the first Israeli prime minister, said in 1956, “If I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. This is natural. We have taken their country.” There you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth.


Harrow Middlesex, England


What a bit of Israeli propaganda by Rebecca Chesner. There was no democratic election regarding Gaza by the people of Israel — there was a Likud election, in which 50,000 settlers determined Israeli policy. Many people surmised that the reason Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon failed to call a general election was because he wanted his initiative to fail.

Then there is the other little matter unmentioned by Mrs. Chesner: The occupation of Gaza is illegal under international law. She is all hot and botheredbysomething (falsely) construed as undemocratic, but something illegal is fine by her as long as it favors her policies. It is tiresome having to correct all these Zionist letters. Please give us a break.


New York

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