On the 9/11 case
I read the special report on Stephen Cozen with much admiration ("Pinning the blame for 9/11," June 1). It is amazing that it takes a private citizen to competently pursue the real supporters of terrorism and the people who were responsible for 9/11. I just hope that Cozen will be as willing to take the case when it comes time for George W. Bush and his retired cabinet to answer to the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and the countless third-world countries who have been affected by U.S. aggression.
The people whom Cozen represents are not members of the U.S. government. They are the helpless victims of totalitarian actions, and to help the other people of the world who have suffered at the hand of American totalitarianism trumps patriotism and satisfies one of the greatest humanitarian efforts the world will ever know.
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The real threat
Mark Bowden states, "In the near future, [al-Qaeda] and other networks like it will be able to buy terrible weapons off the shelf . . . ." ("Handling a 21st-century threat," June 1). Is there evidence to back up this terrifying statement or is it pure fear-mongering? Bowden's claim seems ludicrous, and if these weapons stores do exist, it's time to prosecute the manufacturers and sellers.
There is no way any government can prevent a Timothy McVeigh-type from building a bomb. Therefore, to reduce the chance of terrorist attack, education must be the focus of this fight. Hopefully, the next president will use education to promote civil behavior, instead of cluster bombs and the 101st Airborne Division.
Mark Bowden didn't say anything very concrete in "Handling a 21st-century threat" (Inquirer, June 1) about terrible weapons that will soon be available to terrorists or the civil liberties that may be curtailed. But there was one specific claim: We no longer live in a "nation-state," but a "market-state."
That really explains everything. A nation-state is controlled by government, a market-state by corporations. A nation-state can defend civil liberties, but a market-state has no interest in them. The only freedom important to the market is the unfettered freedom to buy and sell. Consider the events after 9/11. A nation-state might have protected its citizens by immediately putting in place stringent requirements to inspect all shipping containers entering the United States. The market-state would never do this, as port fees would surely skyrocket and cut into the profits realized by importing cheaply made goods.
Perhaps we citizens of the market-state have bigger worries than al-Qaeda.
Randy J. Zauhar
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If the purpose of a columnist is to regurgitate conventional wisdom gleaned from the media echo-chamber with no new perspective or insight, then I can see why Kevin Ferris has a job ("A strategy for 'Our Guy'? Yes, it is," June 1). What I can't figure out is why The Inquirer - a pretty good newspaper most of the time - feels compelled to give him space. Is this some absurd attempt to appear "balanced" and provide a defense against claims of media liberalism? If it is, please just say so. Otherwise, it gives the appearance that thinking people actually sat down and gave Ferris' typical screeds serious thought before publishing him.
I was disappointed in Inga Saffron's lukewarm and nitpicking review of the new Comcast building ("Comcast's new tower a blank slate for city," June 1). Philadelphia is coming into its own architecturally speaking. World-class architects are flocking to our city with exciting projects, but what do I read? The jewel to the eye that is the Cira Centre is constantly dissed by critics. Now, it seems, it is the Comcast building's turn. I can just imagine what will be said about Frank O. Gehry's underground addition to the Art Museum. Let's revel in what is happening to our skyline instead of knocking down at every turn this new era in Philly buildings.
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