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Power of Ideas

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Sarah Cook seems upset that Jonathan Rosenbaum expressed a "liberal" opinion in calling George W. Bush a "warmonger" [Letters, September 27]. "Warmonger" is not an inaccurate description of a president whose administration has introduced a first-strike military doctrine and is pursuing a war with Iraq despite lukewarm international and domestic support.

Ms. Cook seems to think that there is no life of the mind in Iraq, Iran, or Afghanistan. On the contrary, Iran has been a wellspring of film over the past ten years; the film Children of Heaven was nominated for an Oscar. Furthermore, some of these filmmakers started out as critics. Afghanistan might have filmmaking capacities had it not been the site of superpower proxy wars for over 20 years; and as for Iraq, a case can be made that America had a hand in creating the current repressive regime.

Ms. Cook would also do well to remember that American men and women fought and died so that Mr. Rosenbaum could express his opinion, which in fact is the business of a critic. While movies may not save the world, they are a vehicle for ideas. If ideas had no power, there would be no interest in banning or denouncing them.

Elizabeth Cortell

Chicago

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