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In light of the Timothy McVeigh case, it is absolutely unsurprising that Americans turn a deaf ear to European cries against capital punishment [NATION, May 21]. The policymakers of the U.S. must be either deliberately ignorant or blind to the happenings in other parts of the world, but they are steering the U.S. toward isolationism.
I have personally enjoyed working with American forces overseas here in Germany, but to my utter bewilderment, I have discovered that most Americans ironically are not interested in the opinions and affairs of other nations. I fear, however, that America's rude awakening may come too late. TAMMY EYOLE Neu-Isenburg, Germany
Talkin' 'Bout That Generation
In his reappraisal of the generation that fought in World War II, Richard Schickel wrote that the war was considered "a good war" only when we learned about the Nazi genocide [VIEWPOINT, June 4]. This is revisionism at best. The war was considered the ultimate battle of freedom vs. tyranny because the Nazis had taken over most of Europe and, with the aid of their Japanese allies, were set on nothing short of total world domination. Every American, in or out of the service, was keenly aware of this. To say the U.S. fighting forces were exhibiting only "mindless personal courage" because they were not aware of the plight of the Jews is an insult. If there had been no Holocaust, and the Allies had "only" vanquished the Third Reich, would the war have been any less "good"? CHRISTIAN WIESSNER Glen Rock, N.J.
They were the unfortunate generation, all right. I was an eight-year-old boy in England when World War II broke out in 1939. My two sisters, nine and 10 years older than I, were lucky to be girls; nearly all their boyfriends were killed. My country fought sooner, longer and at greater cost than America, but at no time did we think we were fighting against genocide. What we contested, as did Franklin Roosevelt, was the Nazis' violent assault on Western civilization. Democracy was saved, and with it, all the freedoms that we currently take for granted. That's what made it a good war, and those who were chosen to give their lives so that we could enjoy ours, whether Jews or gentiles, were the unfortunate generation. TOM MOULSON Corona del Mar, Calif.
Schickel was right, they were the unluckiest generation and the most dutiful generation. But they were also the most responsible, the most patriotic and the most martyred generation that this nation has ever seen. That is what made them the "Greatest Generation"! S. ALAN STEVENS Two Rivers, Wis.
Two Thumbs Down
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer's contention that Pearl Harbor director Michael Bay is "his generation's Spielberg or Lucas" is as laughable as some of the awful dialogue in that movie [CINEMA, June 4]. When Bay's camera isn't mooning over the three bland lead performances, it is wrapped in the American flag, always the first refuge of the terminally unimaginative.
We should probably be grateful that Bay is too young to remember Kate Smith, so we were spared Madonna in a fat suit singing God Bless America in the midst of the rubble. ALDEN GRAVES North Bennington, Vt.