Kitry Krause’s article on Scott Portman, “War: What It’s Good For” [March 7], starts right off with the claim that “we seem to have forgotten…Saddam Hussein is torturing and killing his own people.” Not only is this statement absurd (Bush never misses an opportunity to mention Saddam’s cruelty), but it’s incredibly insulting to the millions of well-informed citizens who oppose this war on humanitarian grounds. I defy either Krause or Portman to tell me–with a straight face–that the driving force behind the planned Iraqi invasion is human rights.

The upshot of Portman’s argument is that the only salvation for the Kurds is for the U.S. to oust Saddam. This conveniently overlooks Bush’s promise that, once the war is over, he’ll hand over the Iraqi Kurds to Turkish control. Those are the same Turks, by the way, that tyrannized their own Kurds and carried out the Armenian genocide. As Atom Egoyan’s film Ararat showed, Armenians are still waiting for the Turks to come clean about their own pre-Saddam human rights violations.

Possibly the low point of the article is the statement that “for 12 years the world has tried to change the situation in Iraq without force,” calling the postwar campaign a “nonviolent intrusion.” Whether Krause is completely clueless, or just chooses to ignore the history of bombings since the gulf war ended, is immaterial. This is sloppy journalism, pure and simple.

The marginalizion of dissent in the corporate media is a long-standing issue. A new problem is that the media empires are also attacking any alternative outlet that gives voice to grassroots concerns. Unfortunately, more and more papers like the Reader are giving in to this pressure (or maybe getting worried about their advertisers). Cover stories like Kitry Krause’s, stories that you might expect to see in the Trib, are now being published in the name of “evenhandedness.” Here’s hoping the Reader has the courage to reclaim its muckraking roots. It’s hard enough to find good probing journalism these days without another alternative paper throwing in the towel.

Chris Onser


Kitry Krause replies:

I never suggested that human rights are the driving force behind the potential war but rather that they should be. My statement about the world’s “nonviolent intrusion” referred only to sanctions.