[Re: Opinion, " The Detention of Americans," Dec. 8-14] Abraham Lincoln was great with words. His "political religion" speech, written in 1838, should be read by all Americans. But every American should also know that Lincoln became a tyrant while president: Lincoln suspended habeus corpus [sic], closed opposition newspapers and imprisoned those critical of his policies.
So a better American for Capt. Limkin to have quoted would have been James Madison, the father of the Constitution. Madison was president during the War of 1812, but he refused to stifle dissent with legislation. "If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy," and "No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare" are just two appropriate quotes from Madison that apply to today. Show me, in the Constitution, where our rights don't exist in a case of war. The man who helped write it didn't think so.
Finally, a question for Capt. Limkin. If the Kurds in Iraq choose to secede and form their own independent state, would you, Capt. Limkin, suggest Iraq's president invade and occupy them, as Lincoln did to the South?
Columnist Alex Limkin responds: Thank you for bringing to my attention the quotes of James Madison, which are an excellent addition to this discussion. As for your question, if the Kurds, an ethnic minority that have been persecuted by their more powerful neighbors since medieval times, formed their own state, I would be opposed to any further violence against them. I think if Lincoln were president of Iraq, he would let the Kurds be free, provided they didn't try to enslave their neighbors.
[Re: Idiot Box, “Tick Tick Boom,” Dec. 15-21] I was shooter/producer in Afghanistan for the “Bomb Patrol” show. After risking your life and working your butt off, it feels good to see the show praised. Out there is was the real deal and all the production folks—before, during and after—did an amazing job to put together a killer show.
Glad you're stoked on it.
[Re: Blog, “Car dealership ditches cool roof,” Dec. 7] I've been really bummed about this. I always loved this building; I always smiled when I drove past it. I often fantasized about buying it and turning it into a ’50s diner, where the booths are the seats of classic cars. You would have to open the door of the car to get in the booth and when occupied the tail lights would light up. I'm sorry to see this renovation.