Story last updated at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, June 27, 2002

Global questions
Dear Editor,

So often I think about writing a letter to the editor, and for a year now I've been too busy. There are zillions of things to write about just in our little hamlet-by-the-sea, but what really itches me are the world issues. I am a dyed-in-the-wool crunchball liberal, so get ready for flags and floggings.

My friend Jim shakes his head and wonders how we ignorant muffinheads can so effectively screw up the place and prevent progress. I shake my head and wonder how we MHs can have so little impact. How can we both be disgusted if we're on opposite sides?

The single most wonderful thing about America is the freedom of the people. So why is it anyone who asks important questions these days is threatened and called un-American? "If you don't like it, leave!" If there is ever a time to ask hard questions, it's before a war. The next best time is during a war. These days we can't always count on what's after a war.

So here are a few questions:

Why does most of the world hate us or laugh at us? Even our allies in Europe can't believe what we're doing. Isn't blatant disregard of what the rest of the world thinks the precursor to the fall of mighty empires?

Why does one-third of our foreign aid go to Israel, one-third to Saudi Arabia and only one-third go to help the millions of people who are desperate? These are the people we need to help in order to prevent the spread of terrorism. We just gave Israel a million dollars for a university. Two months later they blew it up with the missiles that we also gave them.

Why is the U.S. the world's biggest weapons seller, selling high-tech weapons to just about anybody? The price of a machine gun in Angola is one chicken.

You don't even want to know how may land mines are out there that we sold or gave away (women and children looking for food find most of them and get blown up). Of course the U.S. is one of the very few countries that refuse to sign treaties against them.

Why are we also one of the only countries in the world to oppose CEDAW, the UN Convention Against the Discrimination of Women? Interesting to be lonely partners with Iran, China and a few others.

Why do we continue to kill thousands of Iraqi children each month with our sanctions? UNICEF and the rest of the world see us as murderers.

And as the world's largest polluter, why do we shoot down the Kyoto agreements? Again, we are the lonely bullies at the top.

Even from a practical perspective our arrogance is appalling -- if we don't get in line with reality we will succumb to it.

Charlie Gibson