I am a controversial black woman seasoned with seasonings from the salt of the earth.

More Numbers

I drove by a

City Paper


box last Wednesday on my way to D.C. to support friends who were on trial for protesting the egregious National Defense Authorization Act, which takes shredding of the Bill of Rights to another level. As I drove by the box, I could not make out what was on the cover. On the way back from D.C., I did get a copy of the paper, and saw the representation of the U.S. military dead from the scandalous Iraq War Part II.

Thank you for “The Final Number” (Feature, Jan. 4), though the title is a bit misleading. There was a recent death of an Iraq War veteran in Mount Rainier National Park. Sadly, Benjamin Barnes killed Margaret Anderson, a park ranger. So here are two more casualties of the Bush-Cheney administration’s disastrous invasion of Iraq. And there will be other time bombs that will also explode in the coming years. Killing human beings is unnatural, and sure to cause mental problems in so many veterans of combat.


As someone who tried to prevent that war, I have great empathy for the soldiers tossed into that cauldron. Military suicides, for example, are off the charts. I only wish our government was as fervent at helping the returning vets as it is in going off on these misguided foreign adventures.

Lee Gardner points out correctly that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were also killed. The war and the refugee crisis left hundreds of thousands of Iraqi women very vulnerable, and an unknown number were trafficked for sex. I am not naive, but I simply can’t comprehend anyone—Bremer, Rumsfeld, or the others—not reacting on a human level to this beyond awful catastrophe. Empathy was in short supply during the Dark Ages of Bush-Cheney. Sadly, Obama has not learned that war is not the answer.

As the depression continues in the USA, there is a direct correlation between funding the wars and this current economic mess. I can’t imagine what it must be to seek employment today or to leave college with a debt of some $100,000. My response, as always, is to continue speaking out against the empire.

Max Obuszewski



Suggested Reading

I did not read any of your “Top 10” books (“The Year in Books,” Feature, Dec. 14, 2011). As a black American who depends on the “free” local library system in Baltimore County to get my books off the shelves on the bookmobile, I read the following books as a “black poor American who does not read to be white” in 2011:


Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention

, by Manning Marable


The Viral Storm

, by Nathan Wolfe


With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful

, by Glenn Greenwald


No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington

, by Condoleezza Rice


The Best Advice I Ever Got

, by Katie Couric


Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin

, by Frank Bailey


The Greater Journey

, by David McCullough


Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India

, by Joseph Lelyveld


The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance

, by Jim Al-Khalili


Southern Living Annual Recipes


As for me, I choose to read books that will give me fruit seedlings of wisdom to help me grow smarter and become more ambitious about my passions of writing poetry, creating artwork, and writing editorial letters, or letters to all kinds of people who interest me.

I am a controversial black woman seasoned with seasonings from the salt of the earth. In the future, I have to start raising hell about the closing of libraries in poor communities and the cutting back of library hours. Getting a “book in my hands” from a library is becoming a privilege for ordinary citizens who use “free libraries.” What a clever way to make poor citizens dumber and dumber.

Larnell Custis Butler


Editor's note: We here at City Paper are now officially soliciting your valentines to be printed in our annual "Free Love" issue Feb. 8 and/or online at citypaper.com. Please see page 22 for more details, or visit citypaper.com/valentines2012. Love ya.