Gettin' Testy
I find it amazing how often I hear the left-wingers call those on the other side, "right-wing morons." I realized why I don't hear the reverse. All you left-wingers have to do is open your mouths and that is enough. I guess all that stuff about Saddam's regime torturing, raping and executing, and the myriad of human rights violations, is ... well ... right-wing propaganda. I guess you'll ignore the fact that so many people around the world from different religions and cultures corroborate these facts. But that is just the massive right-wing conspiracy at work, right?

And how about the fact that Saddam has been buying materials from corrupt (former or not) Russian officials to make nuclear weapons? That's right-wing propaganda too? I could go on but I will just conclude with this: Free speech is really a two-edged sword. I mean, a bunch of uninformed morons can have a whole newspaper dedicated to their views. Maybe if you think this country is so bad, you should go live in a country with a dictatorship. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

—Art Schwalbenberg, Largo

While the pictures on television may look joyous and wonderful, one must put the Baghdad street celebrations into perspective. Many of the Iraqi citizens seen glowing over this regime change had abhorred America's imperialistic actions just weeks ago, and will most likely find a reason to hate us weeks from now.

At this time, it is also important for American citizens to realize the toughest challenges have yet to come. President Bush has thrust us into the most monumental nation-building mission of all time. It took three weeks to topple Saddam Hussein's regime, but it may take three years or more to completely transform the geopolitical landscape of Iraq. Bush and his team must continue to beg Americans for patience, or else Sen. John Kerry's wish for a 2004 American regime change might just come true.

—Kevin King, St.Petersburg

While I don't totally agree with the more extreme accusations put forward by the antiwar group, your [Mr. McDugald's] letter puts a far stronger bitter taste in my mouth.

I do not frequent hemp shacks, tattoo parlors or any of the other businesses that you use as a tool to discredit the Planet and Mr. Sugg, and I have no trouble picking up the Planet from the same locations I get my "real" papers from. Where did you obtain your copy, I ask, if you believe that they are only found in these "shady" places?

Getting to the real purpose of this letter:

I can't help but notice that the antiwar protesters are misunderstood to a degree that borders on intentional ignorance. I listen to morning radio hosts call protesters everything from treasonous to mentally handicapped, and it fills me with disgust. You accuse those opposed to the war of ignoring Hussein's atrocities. I in turn accuse you of ignoring the equal and worse atrocities being committed all over the world, which have persisted before this war began, will exist after this war ends, and will remain unaffected in any way by this war.

Mr. Sugg does not address Mr. Hussein's war crimes because they are not the reason this country has gone to war. You addressing them does not negate any crimes committed by the American government. This is akin to a mugger believing he should be set free because the guy in the next cell is a murderer.

Know these things: War protesters want to see the torture, rapes and killings end just as much as you do, if not more.

On the other hand, war protesters also feel that the human condition, as a whole, could be improved much more efficiently by creating opinions instead of corpses, and by spending money on food instead of guns.

A better politician, with the same goals and motives as Bush II, would have been successful in gaining U.N. backing before sending us to war. Bush is an incompetent diplomat, who doesn't care whether the rest of the world agrees with him or not. "If you don't like it, fuck off" — this is why we don't have overwhelming support for this war from the rest of the world.

—Jeremy Elsasser, St. Petersburg

Sand In Our Shoes
It should be apparent to the Planet's editors that Pete Gallagher has lost his objectivity in reporting the issues facing Treasure Island. He continuously skews his attempt at "investigative" reporting to one side of these issues. His stance toward my elected representatives is always full of innuendo and rumor of wrongdoing, and simply parrots the "opinions" of certain political interests. The accusations against Commissioners Ellsworth and Blush are being heard by the state ethics commission. The issue of the petition to recall Commissioner Blush is being heard in the county court. I would hope that the Planet will print the commission and court's rulings in their entirety when they are released.

—Bob Thompson, Treasure Island

Reading an alternative newspaper, I am usually amused — to say the least — about your seeming necessity to approach almost every "hot topic" from the most liberal of viewpoints with ease and frequency. Your entertainment shock value is seemingly valued more than any educational or informational content in your paper.

However, having relocated to Treasure Island eight months ago, I found "A Florida Story" surprisingly refreshing and informative. I only wish you would have given more space to Mike Daughtry and his thoughts of improvement to Treasure Island. We all know what he's against, but what government ideas does he really support?

Weekly Planet, please hire Peter Gallagher and make him a permanent staffer! His breath of fresh air mentality could easily rub off onto the tiresome reporting practices of the rest of the staffers.

—M. Karson, Treasure Island

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