The old Iraq
Dear Editor:Cathleen Krahe again attacks the United States, making the point that we are the “evil empire” responsible for everything that is wrong in the Middle East – especially in Iraq (letters June 23). Over the course of his 24-year reign of terror, Saddam Hussein killed, or caused to be killed, some 1 million-plus innocent human beings – mostly Iraqi Kurds and Shiites, but also Kuwaitis and Iranians. That works out to an average of some 3,000 to 5,000 per month each month over the lifetime of his reign. To further his ambitions and protect himself, Hussein had approximately 40 of his own relatives murdered. Saddam Hussein fed his enemies into plastic shredders feet first and destroyed whole villages with poison gas. Now the killing – the result of foreign terrorists and civil war – is more egalitarian, with Sunnis no longer doing all the killing, and Kurds and Shiites retaliating against the Sunnis and Baathists who had long killed them. Maybe one-sided mass murder was acceptable to Cathleen Krahe, but not to me.According to a 2001 Amnesty International report, “victims of torture in Iraq are subjected to a wide range of forms of torture, including the gouging out of eyes, severe beatings and electric shocks … some victims have died as a result and many have been left with permanent physical and psychological damage.”From The New York Times: “In the unlit blackness of an October night, it took a flashlight to pick them out: rust-colored butchers’ hooks, 20 or more, each four or five feet long, aligned in rows along the ceiling of a large hangar-like building.Other reports tell of stories that relatives of the victims told – of fingernail-extracting, eye-gouging, genital-shocking and bucket-drowning. Secret police raped prisoners’ wives and daughters to force confessions and denunciations. Often, the executions were carried out by the Fedayeen Saddam, a paramilitary group headed by Mr. Hussein’s oldest son, 38-year-old Uday. These men, masked and clad in black, made the women kneel in busy city squares, along crowded sidewalks, or in neighborhood plots, then beheaded them with swords.I’m sure you have heard about the “raping rooms” of Saddam’s sons. According to Uday’s former press secretary, Abass al-Janabi, Uday’s rape victims were as young as 12 and powerless to resist him.These are things that apparently have made no impression whatsoever on Cathleen Krahe – and it seems she would prefer that kind of life would have continued in Iraq. It appears that her hatred for her own country blinds her to the truth about life under Saddam Hussein. Cathleen Krahe feels solidarity with Hezbollah, Hamas, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and just about any terrorist, murdering, hate-filled group in the Middle East. She loathes her own country, believing that the United States is evil. She is profoundly wrong, she ignores facts that contradict her loathsome vision of the world, and she lies directly and by omission. If it is true that you are known by the company you keep, then Ms. Krahe is known by those she lionizes and those she decries. It is not a pretty sight.R. Barry CrookAspen
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The Roaring Fork Valley has, by-and-large, avoided the mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle infestations that have decimated parts of the state. However, a 2019 aerial survey showed the Roaring Fork watershed has an outbreak of Douglas-fir and western balsam beetles.