Letters to the editor (5/4/09)

Bering Sea in peril of crash

Observing recent stories in this paper, a pattern is emerging. A while back the Fisheries Board met to discuss Bering Sea pollock. Of concern was the incidental catch of king salmon. In 2007 the reported king catch was 120,000.

In Tuesday's paper was a story ("Troubling trend," April 28) on the troubled king runs in the Karluk River. Just 730 kings escaped in 2008. Is there a link between these two stories?

Surely experts could explain that water temps, currents, etc., can affect fish populations. So the incidental catch might not affect the runs. But the incidental catch of 120,000 kings has to affect some rivers somewhere.

Sadly, while the Bering Sea pollock fishery is worth about $1 billion, I'm sure it will continue to be fished until it crashes. Then history will reveal yet another fishery that was allowed to be overfished.

-- Joe Reza


Religion not worthy of support

There has never been a greater need to end the toxicity of religious belief than now. Global change creates fear, fear creates fundamentalism and fundamentalism creates annihilation. Irrationality has plagued Islam, Judaism, and Christianity since their inception: Crusades, Inquisition, Thirty Years War, Serbs versus Croats, Protestant Reformation, witch trials, conflicts over the "holy" land, the Mormon attack on homosexuals, Vatican assistance to the Nazis, decimation of indigenous people, sexism, racism, war on science, etc.

While we may not know the answer to man's existential dilemma, does that really necessitate that we revert to religious dogma? That we cling to idiocy like creationism?

Great freethinkers who dedicated their lives to introducing new knowledge to humanity were often tortured, burned, incarcerated, and exiled for debunking scripture. To me those efforts are dishonored by the support of religious traditions. No matter how innocuous your little church may be, beware the lobbying interests receiving your tithes.

And to the women out there, I recommend you actually read the whole Bible.

-- Sarah Johnson


Paramedics compassionate

I want to thank the Anchorage paramedics who came to help my husband, Eric Nordenson, on March 30. I also want to thank the doctors and emergency staff at Providence Hospital. I am sorry to say my husband died that evening at the hospital, but I want the paramedics, doctors and staff to know that all they did is very appreciated.

My husband's many health issues have been an ongoing concern, though given the type of stroke he had that day, according to the doctors at Providence, there was nothing we could do but to see to his comfort. As for anyone who has lost someone close, I wish I could have had more time to be with my husband.

Again, I want to thank the Anchorage paramedics and everyone at Providence Hospital. They showed real compassion and caring. Thank you.

-- Honeybee Nordenson


Military, political leaders use poor judgment on torture

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, 2002 memos on providing legal cover for "enhanced interrogation techniques" including waterboarding were made public. They show White House senior official complicity in promoting possible torture.

Obama's administration is signaling that it won't prosecute the intelligence and administration officials involved with putting these techniques into execution. They're not liable because they were following the directions of their superiors in good faith. Never mind that this was the unsuccessful excuse Nazi war criminals gave to avoid being hanged. Never mind that the Japanese War Crimes tribunal gave out jail sentences for waterboarding. Never mind that the Inquisition tortured people to get "testimony" justifying pre-existing official assertions. Never mind that low-level U.S. soldiers are being punished for the Abu Ghraib events.

Does torture work? Burning witches and augury from chicken entrails are historically credited with similar rates of success.

Apparently our political and military leaders can't or won't educate themselves to produce good judgment and useful intelligence.

-- Stuart Thompson