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Brits Equally To Blame
While I have previously appreciated much of what David Walters has had to say, "Hopeless in Gaza" (May 19) exists somewhere between misrepresentation and complete fabrication. Sir David of Arabia seems to buy into the myth that the English are our smarter, more civilized cousins who have somehow been dragged to war kicking and screaming by their overzealous kin on this side of the Atlantic. This couldn't be further from the truth. I have spent time living in England and was there in the lead-up to the war, and what struck me as odd was the complete disconnection they have from the rest of the world. The English are a myopic bunch of stubborn, beer-swilling has-beens who are as completely ignorant about their own past as they are about current affairs.

While many view this as Dubya's war, there are many kiss-and-tell books out in Britain that equally point the finger at Blair. In fact, according to his aides, that was the first topic he brought up at their very first meeting. Contrary to Walters' assertion that Blair is contemplating stepping down, he seems to be desperately clinging to his role as Labour's leader. Your portrayal of him as somehow taking more responsibility than Bush is, to this point, completely false.

I also had a hard time believing your defense of the British soldiers. Yes, those pictures are false, but that isn't the only accusation on the table. There are a number of ongoing investigations, including one woman charged with molesting little Iraqi boys. The truth is, England is just as guilty as we are, maybe even more so because they've made this same mistake before. There is plenty of shame to go around...Make sure England eats her fair share.

-- Jacob Norris, Charlotte

Sesquipedalian Counterbalance
In his review of Troy ("The Fog of War," 5/19), Matt Brunson gives disproportionate attention to scriptwriter David Benioff's ostensible allusions to the aftermath of the war on Iraq. While this Spike Lee cohort may indeed have intentionally larded his dialogue with enough anti-Bush subtext to galvanize any incipient Kerry sycophant, Brunson would do well to note that director Wolfgang Petersen -- no stranger to the World War II film after the revisionist Das Boot (1981) -- has provided considerable balance and resonance to Troy through some fairly self-conscious visual parallels between the monumental beach landing of the Greeks and that of the Allied forces at Normandy, specifically in numerous medium close-ups whose composition is clearly reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan and in two prominent reverse-angle overhead panning shots virtually lifted from The Longest Day -- anachronisms that transcend politics by evoking both tragedy and heroism.

The filmmakers' recognition of this dynamic does much to explain the reason for Homer's enduring stature as arguably the greatest poet in human history and that of The Iliad as the ultimate literary referent on the perennial subject of war: the ability to create a frisson that is at once antiwar and promilitary, a tendency most recently realized to extraordinary effect by Ridley Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer in Black Hawk Down.

It is this ambience above all that should be apprehended in the film by those who, in Brunson's phrase, "regularly attended their high school English classes." Perhaps Mr. Brunson's own attendance was...well, irregular.

-- Dean A. Hoffman, Dept. of English, UNC Charlotte

The Gutsy Truth
I wanted to give you praise on your awesome article regarding home schooling ("Homeschool Horror," by Quinn Cotton, May 5). I am so glad someone finally had the guts to say the truth. I find this type of old-fashioned way of keeping kids safe from the outside world usually does the exact opposite. It breeds socially inept kids who turn into dysfunctional adults. I speak from first-hand knowledge, with my niece and nephew. The only difference is that my sister-in-law is not a Christian fanatic only a lazy person whose motive was to get out of working. Anyway, I support your article and thank you for writing it.

-- Becky Bonwell

Lunatic Morons
The homeschooling article by Quinn Cotton was right on. What kind of a lunatic moron would love their kid enough to keep them home and school them themselves? Obviously terrorists. It is the same to teach someone how to behave, and to love to learn and respect others as it is to teach them to murder mindlessly so they can go to heaven and rape 20 virgins. Great journalism if I do say so myself.

-- Mary Bonnell, Omaha, NE

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