Letters from the Issue of October 15, 2009
You bet we're a beacon: "Holy War" (Trevor Aaronson, October 8) is yet another tragic example of how this country made the decision many years ago to forego the collection of real intelligence and instead use racial profiling, torture, and fear tactics to wage its war on terror. The United States is this man's country just as much as it is anyone else's. Let him stay! Reform the corrupt and backward immigration system, and block the holes through which asylum seekers like him are sent to persecution. Ronald Reagan (ironically) said it best: America is (and should be) a beacon of freedom in the world for refugees.
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The FBI? Desperate? No!: It is ironic that this government acts like the Gestapo and threatens people (citizen and non-citizens) to get its evil way. It is even more ironic that a Jewish lawyer is helping an imam to get out of the mess generated by a tax-supported government agency. This tells me how desperate the FBI is, because its agents really don't know how to infiltrate terrorist groups and gather intelligence.
You hear this? Investigate this man!: I know Imam Fadi personally. He is in no way involved in terrorist activity. The FBI has harassed plenty of my friends (citizens and non-citizens), claiming to be in search of terrorist information. Their tactics are illegal and wrong! It won't be long until I'm investigated.
Well, on second thought: I hope the FBI gets rid of these dangerous people. How can anyone with information about intended bad actions be let free? These people are giving our Islamic religion a bad name.
Muslims got a bad rap: At the end of the day, it has yet to be proven that a Muslim has known about an impending plot (going back to 9/11) and not come forward about it. So, for starters, this makes the FBI out to be Gestapo-like storm troopers. Second, some of these spectacular attacks that have been thwarted by the FBI came in the form of entrapment. Third, it would be better for the FBI to develop relationships with Muslim-American leaders and scholars. The bureau needs to make a genuine effort at outreach and provide the community with the ability to come forward (privately or not). Recruiting the Muslim-American community in this manner builds trust and patriotism, and makes everyone safer.
Ira's da man: Ira Kurzban is an exceptional individual. Without men like him allowed to practice law, U.S. jurisprudence and the Constitution would be just as big a sham as that of the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, or any other banana republic. Kurzban is truly one in a million (unfortunately). If he were only interested in making a buck, the government would have to hire someone to do the kind of work he does, and the world would be justified in calling the American court system a sham.
Of course, politicos love manipulating him as a cost-free, so-called politically independent vehicle for various agendas and free media air time, which is why they allow him to practice.
A Beef with Wagyu
It's not that old: "Bogus Beef" (Jackie Sayet, October 8) was a well-written and well-researched piece of journalism. As a former member of the American Angus Association, I can attest to the article's accuracy. Writing anything that takes local merchants to task takes courage, and you are to be congratulated for assuming this responsibility. The companion piece, of course, is steak houses that serve choice and call it prime (less an issue right now, with a surfeit of prime beef in the marketplace).
One clarification: You say Wagyu were imported in the "Second Century to work the rice fields." There might have been cattle in Japan then, but in truth, modern Wagyu are the product of crossbreeding with a number of European breeds that were introduced to Japan in the late 19th Century as part of the modernization process after the Meiji Restoration. The Wagyu beef breed was homologated (to use the technical term) early in the 20th Century. I've had it — it's great stuff — but it isn't "ancient."
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