Dear Mr. Cohen:
Perhaps you can answer how the Times decides when to end new comments on op-ed essays. My guess is that the Times reacts against critical trends, and it's understandable why responses to you recent essays are overwhelmingly critical.
To be blunt, you sound like a 5th grade school teacher -- in keeping with a newspaper that doesn't remotely measure up to the standards it claims to set. More like Defender of the Faith than a defender of America.
The US has military bases in how many countries? One hundred fifty? More? The nation has been at war _continuously_ for over sixty years (undeclared and arguably all unconstitutional). No Third World War? Tell that to Vietnamese, Iraqis, Iranians, Cambodians, Laotians, Chileans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, Timorese....
Racism towards Arabs (whom you neglect to mention in your quasi-mea culpa) is soaring. Members of Congress brazenly tar all Arabs, all Muslims.
Two successive administrations, including the one hailed as the most liberal in generations, have missed _no_ opportunity to attack civil liberties. Civil liberties "haltingly advanced"? Obama is halting, not advancing.
As your colleague Paul Krugman and many other moderates and liberals have noted, the US is substantively an oligarchy. The "American dream" is dying. Wealth rules, with the eager support of all three branches of government, including, again, the "most liberal" President Obama. The president has acted to advance poverty and inequality, which are growing rapidly.
Though environmental disasters are widely recognized, the government and people show, at best, blithe indifference. Perhaps on no other count can the worst of the US be seen. The Times takes part as it focuses attention on China, though the US towers in its responsibility for ecological catastrophe. The US has repeatedly fought legislation in Europe to regulate GM foods, pesticides and plastics. Some aim.
We are indeed heirs of fortitude and foresight. Obama shows NO sign of heeding this. And you do nothing for future progress by carrying on the grade school teacher's mission of indoctrination.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Roger Cohen offered a weak essay lauding the wonders of America. He was inundated with criticism. He responded with a tip of the cap and further defenses. Here, my response.