No blow?
While I can certainly understand the impetus for the “America Blows” article (News and Features, June 29), I found it short-sighted. First of all, throughout the history of this country (most of which is pre-Bush), it was the dedication and hard work of immigrants that created our culture. Many of our contributions to the worlds of art, music, science, and culture were made by immigrants.
In fact, it was a German (and unfortunately a former Nazi officer) who enabled one of our greatest feats as a country: landing a man on the moon. The author of the article even mentioned a number of classic rock (again, pre-Bush) songs about America written by foreigners. Clearly, if America blows under Bush because of our lack of a “meaningful” contribution to culture, it has always blown.
Second, one has to wonder why so many talented foreigners come here. Sure, a part of it is probably that more money is available. However, I believe it is more than that. True artistic and athletic success has always been measured as excelling in the American market. Our market, throughout the 20th century and even into the 21st, defines global success. As the world shrinks and new markets have opened up around the globe, it is still America to which the most talented emigrate. How can that be if, as you say, “America blows”?

Sonia Chawla

Raising discourse
I would like to thank you for your piece on Professor Andrew J. Bacevich (“Bacevich’s War,” News and Features, July 6). Bacevich was my advisor in undergraduate study at Boston University, as well as a mentor.

While my opinion is hardly objective, I believe you have done the professor justice by your piece. You have succinctly explained Bacevich’s arguments in The New American Militarism and his greater philosophy about American foreign policy and the use of violent force to achieve an end. Most important, you have captured the general essence of Bacevich’s personality: short but fair, gruff but encouraging, serious but oftentimes funny in an off-handed way, confident but slightly self-deprecating.

The professor’s critics of late have sometimes had their merits but I’ve often found them to be partisan, close-minded, and viciously brutal. Whether or not folks agree with his politics or political philosophy, he has always been keen on self-criticism and review.

What has happened to his family is horrible and, like you said, is incredibly bitter and ironic. Yet what you have done is vitally important and timely: you have helped to raise the level of discourse to a point where respect and sensitivity for the man and his family can occur.

Chris J. Glassanos
Washington, Dc

Unseen gem
Ed Siegel’s review of Slings and Arrows (“Backstage Masterpiece,” Arts and Entertainment, July 6) gives the best series on television its due. Unfortunately, this program did not get the viewing audience it deserved, but it would be interesting to see how popular it might have been if it had been widely publicized.

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Related: Bacevich’s war, The war grinds amid a disengaged public, Play by play: March 6, 2009, More more >
  Topics: Letters , Boston University, William Shakespeare, Andrew Bacevich,  More more >
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