Letters to the Editor - Who are you? March 11 2004

Mr. Barr: Wow. Who are you? Are you really the Bob Barr whom I spent money I didn’t have to help defeat? Are you really the drug czar who conjured up images in my mind of victims of the drug war: shattered families and broken lives?

I hope that your article on the Georgia Libertarian Party is foreshadowing of future support from you for the statesmen of the Libertarian Party in their struggle against the corrupt and abusive politicians whose regime we have to live under (Flanking Action, “Ready for prime time,” March 4).

If you’re seriously considering working with the Libertarian Party to help undo all of the evil that our out-of-control government has visited upon its own citizens, if you’re seriously considering destroying legislation that destroys people’s very lives, and if you’re serious about healing wounds that the DEA delights in inflicting, then I will gladly pay with money out of my own pocket to buy you a lifetime membership in the Libertarian Party.

Life is so much richer when spent working with friends to build a better life than having all of the time and energy sucked out of you while fighting against the petty dictators of the world who view you only as a political pawn or transiently useful statistic in their games of lies and deception.

The Libertarian Party can use friends, and I would gladly offer you my friendship and forgiveness if you are the kind of man who can learn from the past and see in his heart that the only path to freedom is through redemption. Take the hand of the Libertarian Party and wash away the sins of the drug war and help to save peoples’ lives and mend broken families. Please.

-- Bill Walker, Glen Allen, Va.

?Doing your part
I read with great interest your article “Out of balance” (News & Views, March 4). While I had not kept up with all of the stories about Bush’s service in the National Guard, it was interesting to read your inside view and see all the twists and turns the story took. I especially appreciate your attempts to analyze the writing at the AJC because that is one of my pet peeves and has been for a very long time. It is unfortunate that we, in a city like Atlanta, have to put up with the poor, biased writing in the AJC. But I must admit, I haven’t done anything to try to get them to do better, hoping all along they would just sink and be bought out by a really good publisher.

Thanks for doing your part to straighten out the AJC.

-- Suzanne DeBow, Tucker

br>?Ironic, isn’t it?
That was a superb column (News & Views, “Out of balance,” March 4), not the least for exposing the laziness of Mike King’s AJC column, but for going into the lack of skeptical thinking that afflicts so much of journalism today. And to think this smart piece ran in a paper whose name suggests a lack of hard work as its perspective.

-- David Cay Johnston, Rochester, N.Y.

br>?Critical impact
I would like to thank Steve Fennessy for his outstanding, in-depth report on Georgia’s singularly low rate of adjudication of asylum (“Insane asylum,” Feb. 26). We in the refugee-serving community have witnessed with concern this unwarranted gap in protection in our state. As the story deftly illustrates, a delay or denial of asylum can have critical impact on the lives and safety of people fleeing from a well-founded fear of persecution.

While Judges Cassidy, Johnston and Rast clearly stand out for erecting barriers to asylum, they are far from alone. Across the nation, there is a worrisome trend toward turning our backs on refugees and asylum seekers. For the past two years, refugee admissions to the United States have been the lowest in decades and have fallen well short of our stated national admissions goals. Even more alarming is the administration’s recent display of flagrant disregard for international law when it forced 800 Haitian refugees to return to face the intense political violence they had fled.

Lack of solidarity with victims of war and persecution cannot be the right course for the land of Lady Liberty, a nation built on the hopes and actions of people who left their homeland to seek religious and political freedom.

-- Ellen Beattie, regional director,

International Rescue Committee, Decatur


Desperate need
Steve Fennessy’s article on the situation faced by asylum seekers in Atlanta (“Insane asylum,” Feb. 26) effectively illustrates the challenge in proving credibility to immigration courts. But the article does not go on to propose how to increase the approval rating of legitimate cases that meet the criteria of the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act.

The Atlanta Asylum Network, a service of Emory’s Institute of Human Rights, offers one vital way to facilitate objectivity in reviewing asylum claims. The network trains health professionals in Atlanta to identify physical and psychological signs of torture, such as the beatings and genital mutilation described by Ilunga in Fennessy’s article. Affidavits of torture evaluations by physicians and psychologists can be the testimony that tips the balance toward credibility in the judge’s mind.

In the past year, the Atlanta Asylum Network has conducted 24 pro bono torture evaluations. Unfortunately, there are not enough health professionals to address the more than 700 asylum applications filed in Georgia. The Atlanta Asylum Network seeks additional physicians and psychologists to offer much-needed evaluations to asylum seekers. Thanks to Fennessy’s investigation, we hope health professionals and others will realize the desperate need to get involved in improving the asylum process.

-- Brandon Kohrt and Dabney Evans,

co-founders, Atlanta Asylum Network

br>?Touch that dial!
It’s good to see that horrible person [Neal Boortz] exposed for the self-impressed hypocrite he appears to be (News & Views, “Boortz, the anti-American,” Feb. 26). I can’t stand to listen to him anymore. The radio station gets changed as soon as his voice is heard.

-- Debbie Carlson, Dunwoody??