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'Iwo Jima': another view 

David Koon’s review of director Clint Eastwood’s film, “Letters from Iwo Jima” (Jan. 22), was nearly as misleading as it was gushy.

The Japanese people have clearly decided for themselves to reconsider the sacrifices of their military in World War II. Particularly inasmuch as those were in the service of imperialism, it remains an open question whether this is a good thing or not; certainly, the people of China and Korea might have different perspectives.

It ought to be acknowledged, however, that Japanese filmmakers have led the way in raising these questions. In particular, in a controversial 2005 film concerning the sinking of the carrier Yamato in 1945; the film version of the story granted the Japanese servicemen who died on the ship’s last, suicide mission, a measure of humanity notoriously absent from all of the Hollywood depictions of WWII in the 60-plus years since.

In that regard, Eastwood’s film — styled as a generous attempt to recuperate the dignity of Japanese soldiers who fought in the war — is less a “masterful” stroke than yet another instance of U.S. media placing a mainstream face on already existing creative work (think Pat Boone covering Little Richard and Fats Domino in the 1950s).

If Eastwood really wanted to make a WWII film worthy of your reviewer’s lavish praise, he might instead explore the question of why atomic weapons were deemed appropriate to use against Japan (just weeks after the destruction of the Yamato ended all hope of repelling a U.S. invasion), but not against the Axis power responsible for perpetrating the Holocaust.

Of course that might involve some creativity and intellectual risk which, like cell phones and video games, apparently must also be imported from Asia.

Ain’t that a shame?

Richard DeLaurell

Little Rock

Change bulbs

Don’t make a special trip, but the next time you go shopping, please buy an energy saving compact fluorescent light bulb. Take it home and replace one incandescent light bulb. Do this every time you go shopping until all of the incandescent light bulbs in your home are gone. By using less energy, you will be helping the U.S. become totally energy independent. Haven’t we spent enough money and sacrificed enough lives trying to secure our access to foreign oil and natural gas? Your investment in energy saving light bulbs will also help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are heating up planet earth. Maybe you think replacing your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents (1) costs too much and (2) won’t make much difference. After all, global warming is well advanced and total energy independence seems impossible. First, the electricity you save by switching to compact fluorescents will pay for the bulbs. Second, like other energy star products, the widespread use of compact fluorescents will help us achieve energy independence.

Ruth Reynolds

Cherokee Village

So happy

I am so happy for Arkansas as we now have a new governor we can be proud of.

As I told your great newspaper in a letter some time ago, my son saves me your paper. He may mail several to me, bring them when he visits or I may pick them up when I visit him. I got a package in the mail today, all of it being Mike Beebe goodies.

Mike is such a grand guy. I have known him for so many years and he has a darling wife to top it all. Thanks for all your great coverage.

Peggy Wolfe

Heber Springs

War’s toll

For those against immediate troop withdrawal in Iraq, whether misguided by partisan or sectarian rhetoric or guided by war profiteering, let them put their bodies where their mouths and off-shore accounts are. On a one-for-one basis, now.

We already have rich sources of data banks for automatic enlistments and orders to the hot zones — members of the Republican Party, the National Rifle Association, the Religious Right, the oil industry, the military academies, conservative think tanks, Fox News, K Street, Wall Street, lobbyists, the Bush administration, defense contractors, and even many in the Pentagon.

But I wonder how long it would take for today’s “Super Safe Patriots” to change their minds about the need for American troops “on the ground” in Iraq, for even another day, when THEY started coming back with pieces missing. Or to be put in the ground.

Chris Lane Gray

Monticello

Whipping inflation

Good news. We are told by skilled economists that inflation is under control. (Except for food and Entergy.)

One has to wonder what economists eat and how they heat and cool their homes. Could be they have good government jobs with all the perks.

Frank Lambright

Little Rock

Buy local

Recently it was reported in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that Internet Christmas sales were up by 26 percent and that local retail sales were up about 2.6 percent. In my own store, Christmas sales were about the same as last year. Both last year and this year the Democrat-Gazette recommended several gifts that could be obtained on the Internet. No local retail stores were mentioned, though many of these gifts could have been obtained through local stores. From the statistics, the recommendations paid off and hurt sales of the local merchants. This practice is unfair to the local retail stores and if this trend continues, the paper will suffer in lost advertisement income, the state will continue to lose revenue and local merchants will have trouble staying in business.

I really cannot understand the newspaper’s obsession with the Internet and lack of support of its own local community.

Stewart Lee

CEO, Lamp Works

Little Rock

From the Internet

Again this week, a roundup of some of the comments, generally anonymous, posted to articles on our website.

On our Insider item about the need for $750,000 in overhaul for the State Police plane heavily used by Gov. Mike Huckabee:

Alex wrote: The thing is, any responsible operator of an airplane of this type would maintain a reserve account to pave the financial path, as it were, for such work. The reserve is part of the aircraft’s per-hour operating cost. It’s even done on two-seater aircraft and for the same reason. These things aren’t cars and to relate to this as though it were a really expensive brake job for a Datsun is a disservice in reporting (as much as I like AT and dislike Huckabee).

The cover story on Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen’s fight for free speech prompted these comments:

“Silence dogood” commented: [The article said,] “Judges have as much right to be involved with issues as anybody else.” Objection! Irrelevant! Totally irrelevant to their job. Wanna talk, get a radio show. No place for it on the bench. No reason. Justice is blind! So what do I care what your views are??? Irrelevant (if you’re doing your job)!

“Free speech has limits” wrote: Judge Griffen wants to be a politician, not a judge ... his views on abortion, gay rights, etc. don’t belong in the courtroom. Even Sandra Day O’Connor said recently that the only decision she regretted was the Minnesota judicial “free speech” case that is the foundation upon which Griffen bases his entire platform. She said it is dangerous and she isn’t alone. Judge Griffen ... time to make the leap into politics buddy. Just do it!

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