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by Inlander Readers & r & Tip of the Iceberg? -- The Downing Street memo ("Smoking Memo," 5/26/05) has received very little coverage in any American newspaper. It implicates the Bush Administration in a conspiracy to deceive the American people in order to gain support for invading Iraq, following on the heels of 9/11. If this doesn't paint a clear enough picture, perhaps your readers should go to the Web site of Project for a New American Century, where they can read "Rebuilding America's Defenses." It was signed by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Jeb Bush, among others. Written in September 2000, it clearly defines their goals for invasion and the hyper-militarization of the United States. It states this would take a long time, "absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor."

Bush agreed to speak to the 9/11 Commission only under the condition that Cheney be present, that they would not be under oath, and that no record be kept of the inquiry. In an administration staffed by businessmen you must ask yourself... do businessmen promote negligence and incompetence? So how does a National Security Advisor preside over the most horrific attack on United States soil, then be promoted to the position of Secretary of State? How does the architect of the most disastrous war since Vietnam go on to head the World Bank? I believe the Downing Street Memo is just the tip of a sickening and grisly iceberg that our nation has struck. It is time for the press to start asking some serious questions of our leaders.

George Monacelli

Chattaroy, Wash.

Hypocrots? -- I actively campaigned for Mayor West's opponent for the office. However, I support West's not jumping ship in response to self-righteous, Victorian-style reactions coming from the present plethora of "perfect" persons oozing out of dark cracks in Spokane. I presume West was elected for his fiscal and civic platform and not because he is a manifestation of God's perfect plan. Anyone who is so holy, please step forward -- the job is yours.

The allegations against Mayor West are not "harming the image of Spokane" (which is what??) so much as the numerous sanctimonious reactions to them are further enhancing a perhaps undeserved one.

"Spokane: The place where you can lose a job due to allegations or innuendo."

"Hey, let's go to Hicksville, Rednecksville Spokane -- where people put the local economy above justice." Hey, at least we have our priorities straight, right?

"Hey, let's move to Spokane for a job -- which we might lose due to someone's allegations of improprieties." Right.

"Now remember, Timmy, don't speak to Mr. Smith there." (He's not married and he had a woman at his house last night and a different woman there two months ago!)

"Yippee, kids, load up the truck. We're a-headin' to good ol' Spokane, home of the squeaky clean hypocats, hypocrots, hypocruts, ... ah, hell, you know what I mean -- the people just like us."

Tom Brooks

Spokane, Wash.

Sneaking, Peeking -- Just six weeks after 9/11, Congress passed legislation designed to protect us from more terrorism. Known as the Patriot Act, several of its provisions compromise our constitutional rights. Some of the egregious sections are designed to "sunset" at the end of this year. Several sections of the act violate the U.S. Constitution as well as the Fourth Amendment. Dubbed by some as "sneak and peek," they allow the FBI to obtain information about your medical records, the books you read, the Web sites you visit and the religious institutions you associate with.

President Bush is presently mounting an effort to strengthen many sections of the Patriot Act while making many of them permanent. To date, 334 communities in 44 states, as well as four states, have passed resolutions against extending any of these provisions. It has been widely reported that no member of Congress read the entire Patriot Act before voting on it.

Please urge your elected representatives to take a very careful look before voting to extend any of these provisions.

Barbara Squires

Spokane, Wash.

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