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Ignorant Warmongering
Letter writer Kelly Boatright's unoriginal ("Old Europe") and patronizing ("Dear Nina") warmongering ("Don't Like It? Leave," Oct. 8) ignores the most important thing Europeans have experienced firsthand that Americans have not: modern war in their streets. US actions since 9/11 have killed twice as many innocent civilians and destroyed far more infrastructure than Al Qaeda did two years ago. Meanwhile, while no link has been established between Iraq and any anti-American terrorism, Osama bin Laden remains at large.

Saddam's Iraq has been contained since the first Gulf War, and as we have found out, did not possess the weapons to threaten its neighbors, much less the United States. This unconstitutional war is bringing American boys and girls home in caskets nearly every day since "victory" was declared, and is passing on a swollen budget deficit to our future generations.

Boatright's reference to Simon Wiesenthal is simultaneously irrelevant and illustrative: irrelevant because no one man's opinion should dictate the foreign policy of a nation, illustrative because it shows that the Iraq war is but one step in destroying and humiliating every Arab state that protests the 36-year-long military occupation of Arab lands by Israel.

-- Charles Held, Charlotte

Empowered To Walk
David Walters raised some good issues about the faults in Charlotte city planning in his article "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry (Oct. 15)." However, I disagree with his idea that conservatives are content to have a poorly designed city so that the residents can get fatter and lazier. To say that the city is planned to make walking impossible is overly simplistic. The basic structure took place in the 60s and 70s, as did the development of Lake Norman, SouthPark, and Fourth Ward. Moreover, the people of Charlotte are empowered. The 25-year transportation plan developed by Mayor Pat McCrory is funded by voter-approved bonds and has been discussed at numerous public meetings. The main goal is to make Charlotte "pedestrian friendly." Additionally there are sidewalks almost everywhere and residents can choose to (gasp!) walk for pleasure.

I grew up in a city where people regularly walked to shop, eat, and work and I would love to see that employed in Charlotte. Two things are essential to make this possible: the holy trinity of Bank of America, Wachovia, and Duke need healthy competition for jobs outside the Uptown area and the self- contained, cul-de-sac neighborhoods need to be discouraged.

-- Nicole Henderson Auger, Charlotte

Tourist Hell
Kudos to Quinn Cotton on her uncomfortably accurate representation of Blowing Rock ("Chaste Mountain Whores," October 15). Being a long-term resident of Blowing Rock who also lives and works in Charlotte, the changes over the last 25 years in BR have turned Main Street into a South Floridiot heaven where the Touron [editor's note: half tourist/half moron] is king. With few exceptions, it's a vapid succession of second-rate shops selling the same snake oil in different settings.

As for true locals, they can't afford to spend, much less live anywhere in town. As one 30-year resident says, "I'd call home and tell my parents to come get me if I had the quarter I had when I moved here."

So, Ms Cotton, you are more than welcome to join us on the benches in front of Sonny's Grill next time you're in town to participate in our running critique of Gastonia's finest in their leopard prints and chinos. If you can find a parking space, that is.

-- Harvey Danner, Charlotte

Muckraking The Mountains
Muckraking has an honorable lineage in bringing to public view conditions which are dangerous, illegal or unhealthy. Creating the muck by a newspaper writer to titillate readers is not in that tradition and serves no purpose that I can see. Quinn Cotton's vulgar attacks on mountain cities which work to attract tourists serve no purpose. Almost every city in the world with scenic, historic, literary or culinary interest works hard to bring tourists who will spend money and create jobs. Selling these pleasures to outsiders is not whoring, unless Miss Cotton has changed the meaning of the word. Further, her insulting descriptions of women with lots of children and styleless clothes are repulsive.

-- Judy Ghoneim, Charlotte

Go Tigers
Kudos to Quinn Cotton for such a nice job giving Roy's tiger a voice ("Interview With The Tiger," Oct. 22). I am a fellow writer and editor, not to mention animal advocate. The column struck a humorous, albeit true, chord in respect to speaking out for show animals who have no voice nor choice in our society; the writing was exceptional and engaging. I rarely keep any other writer's clippings, but this column went up on my bulletin board to be re-read again and again. Thank you for speaking on behalf of the tiger.

-- Ginger Sprinkle, Charlotte

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