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Letters from alums about The Nation and Katrina Vanden Heuvel ’81

March 17, 2004

While I like to count myself among those that make the effort to entertain Katrina's thoughts as plausible from time to time; I have to say, of late, she has tended to alienate my viewpoint. Out of concern for the failures of 9/11, I turned, like many, to The Nation for alternatives that might have prevented, or solved, the terrorist dilemma. I don't feel truly satisfied with any of her solutions, unfortunately.

Although I respect her hard-line criticism of corruption within the implementation of my Iran-contra plot, for one (which I based on p. 518 of James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake"), it is clear that she possesses nearly zero comprehension of any of the issues involved, and, along with her husband Stephen Cohen, seems to long for the days of communist Cold War Russia.

Her recent characterization of George W. Bush's presidency as the "most extremist administration of [her] lifetime" also strikes me as callow, inasmuch as the lies of Richard Nixon still permeate our culture to this day. Nixon's act of memorializing J. Edgar Hoover, for example, strikes me as rather more extreme than most of the cited examples of Bush's extremism. Where are the facts behind her assertion?

Though there truly is something beneficial about criticism, her tendency is far more toward diatribe than an analytical and impartial discussion of issues. I suspect that Katrina will believe and say whatever she wants, regardless of facts or evidence, so long as it marches to the beat of a Leftist drum.

Nicholas Meyler '81
Agoura Hills, Calif.

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Februrary 27, 2004

I usually enjoy reading the "A moment with ..." column in each issue of PAW. When I read the interview with Katrina vanden Heuvel it struck me that you should start including an opposing view. In this case might I suggest someone with a more rational viewpoint, like Ann Coulter?

Bill Krivoshik '79
Wilton, Conn.

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Februrary 23, 2004

it was very satisfying to be able to agree enthusiastically with almost every point made eloquently by Katrina Vanden Heuvel '81 in the February issue of PAW. The one point which is, in my opinion, wrong is her contention that "universal health care is a core human righ."

A "right" is a claim right, and there is no constitutional or legislative support for such a "right." H. Tristan Engelhardt, a distinguished physician and ethicist, thought that the reason medical care was not a right "should be apparent" since "right to health care constitutes a claim against others for their services or their goods."

Admittedly, an enlightened society might be expected to facilitate a system by which citizens receive medical care efficiently and at a reasonable cost. In my opinion, the system of payment for medical care in this country is a disgrace, with the blame resting on physicians, successive federal administrations, the AMA, insurance companies, and others.

It is imperative that all concerned sit down and fashion a payment system which, I hope, will be based on the ability of people of all ages to pay. It is absurd for seniors who may be very wealthy to pay virtually nothing under the current Medicare system.

John T. Farrar '43 MD
Williamsburg, Va.

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February 15, 2004

Deep thanks for the interview with Katrina vandel Heuvel '81. Her words about public policy and the role of the press should give all Tigers pause, even those who are not liberals. One exception to vanden Heuvel's observations is Princeton's own Paul Krugman. It is so pleasing to see us in the nation's service.

Joe Illick '56
San Francisco, Calif.

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February 14, 2004

Bravo. It comes as something of a relief to see that there are still some Princeton alumni who cherish and are prepared to defend the liberal values that made this country great.

As both a Princeton alum and a subscriber to The Nation I am proud to support Heuvel's struggle against the extremists currently leading America from its most cherished ideals.

Isaac Boxx '99
Austin, Tex.

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February 12, 2004

Anticipating a virulent reaction from my fellow graduates to your interview with Katrina vanden Heuvel '81 (February 11), I am writing to let you know that there is at least one "old alum" who subscribes to the philosophy of The Nation, the wonderful political weekly of which Ms. vanden Heuvel is editor.

I believe that her assessment of the reasons for The Nation's increase in popularity is "right on." The Bush administration has indeed "manipulated and deceived the American people," and only an independent voice like The Nation is capable of exposing these frauds. Thank you, PAW, for understanding this, and for giving Ms. vanden Heuvel an effective platform to publicize her views.

David W. Pratt '59
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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February 11, 2004

Thank you for the "A moment with...." interview with Katrina vanden Heuvel '81 (February 11, 2004). It was of great interest to me because I have been an admirer of Katrina for some time.

A month ago I sent her an e-mail in which I told her how much I enjoy The Nation and the good work she is doing. I cited her as one of my scarce heros and assumed that as editor she wrote most of the lead editorials which continually fan the flames of my liberal passions (Bill Greider '58 also helps with this). I hope at her 25th reunion there is an apprporiate panel on which she will be invited to participate.

Stokes Carrigan '52
Wayne, Pa.

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February 11, 2004

Only a mushroom cloud over Manhattan might awaken Katrina vanden Heuvel from her pacifist, utopian daydream. Her rat-a-tat-tat of ultraleft rhetoric is, unsurprisingly, devoid of a single pragmatic solution to address the extreme threats facing our nation.

If our shared goals as Americans are long-term peace and individual freedom, U.S. intelligence and military power must eliminate anarchic terrorists and fascistic dictators who threaten free countries, possess no conscious, and are not inclined to reason. Let's leave the "compassionate" handwringing over what causes psychotic international behavior at the door, along with many tenets of Vanden Heuvel's self-proclaimed "progressivism."

The claim that the U.S. is not acting in self-defense is a canard. We were attacked in September 2001 and have rightfully gone on the offensive to avoid loss of innocent lives on our own soil. The results, so far, speak for themselves: no terrorist attacks in the U.S. and moderating positions from other dangerous regimes.

And what if we had not gone on the offensive? Curiously, Vanden Heuvel would be the first to attack the government for not anticipating and pre-emptively stopping any disaster that ensued — including any that involved the Saddam Hussein regime.

The other great lie of the ultraleft is that Islamics will hate America more than they will love the individual freedoms we help them achieve. Let's have an accurate polling of whether the Afghani and Iraqi people believe they have a brighter future now.

As the likes of Vanden Heuvel co-opt the democratic party and use every breath to advocate a less safe America (and world), I will continue to be counted as a former democrat.

Francis J. Weller ‘81
Greenland, N.H.

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