To the Editor:

A guest column in the Thursday, Oct. 11 issue of the Yale Daily News (“Hey Leftists: Better start waving that American flag,” 10/11)implied that peace activists are whiny anti-American neo-hippies who are out of touch with popular opinion and the modern world at large. The suggestion that anyone advocating non-violence is a neo-hippie is ludicrous, and the suggestion that I am somehow anti-American is frankly rather frightening.

I am thoroughly pro-American; I love my country, her people and the freedoms we all enjoy. But I deplore the U.S. government’s abysmal human rights record and commitment to brutal oppression the world over. However, a few twisted power elites do not a people or a country make.

How did we get to this point in international affairs? Some would point to the CIA’s role in destroying democratic institutions in the Middle East and Central Asia — such as the coup that ousted Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 in Iran. Others would point to terrorism sponsored by the United States, again through the CIA and their various “working groups,” such as the March 8, 1985 car-bombing of a suburb in Beirut, an attack planned by Director of Central Intelligence William Casey, which killed at least 80 people.

Or maybe we’ve done nothing wrong, and there’s just something about Arabs that causes them to reject reason and tolerance and embrace fundamentalism, working themselves into a religious frenzy until they’re ready to kill anyone who doesn’t feel the same way.

Sound racist? Good — it ought to.

Do the past sins of the U.S. government excuse what happened on Sept. 11? Absolutely not. Do they give some insight into how we got here and where we might be headed if we continue our current brand of foreign policy with our brothers on the other side of the globe? I think they do.

Tom Deere ’03

October 11, 2001