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Transcript:

November 30, 2007

BILL MOYERS: We like to hear from you to know what you're thinking of THE JOURNAL. So right now we want to share some of your comments that have had us talking. When we first aired our report about the group Christians United for Israel, we had an avalanche of responses, like these:

READER: Watching Bill Moyers report on John Hagee...made me realize how the media misrepresents the facts to further ideological agendas. Pastor Hagee did call for an attack on Iran not to foment apocalyptic wars but because, like many other sane Americans believe, they are committed to the destruction of Israel and America and have outright said so. Their development of nuclear weapons must be stopped. Paul Oliver

READER:I sat here watching as a follower of Christ, experiencing deep shame at hearing the fanatical un-biblical comments by Mr. Hagee and his followers, wondering if this picture they projected of Christianity, is what the world believes is true of Christians here in America. PJ Miller

READER:The Bible was not written to be literally interpreted. And it is certainly not a work upon which foreign policy decisions should be based. I can only hope that logic, reason, and science will prevail and help us to avoid the complete destruction of our human race. JP

BILL MOYERS: Remember our interview with investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill? He spent years digging into private contractor Blackwater.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right now in Iraq, there are 180,000 contractors operating alongside 170,000 US troops. You no longer have to have a draft. You don't have to depend on your own citizens to fight your wars. You can simply hire up the poor of the world to work for American and British companies occupying another country.

READER:It might be good if Mr. Moyers allowed an industry perspective on this issueÉThere are rules, laws and regulations that apply to the 2,000 Americans doing the high-end bodyguard work in Iraq, as well as the other (largely unarmed) contractors from Iraq and around the world. Something else that Mr. Scahill too often leaves out: the overwhelming majority of contractors, including security contractors, are Iraqis, the people we would hope would be doing the security and reconstruction. Doug Brooks, President, International Peace Operations Association

READER:Never, in the discussion of the many illegal and sordid activities under the banner of secrecy...have I seen such an expansive and informative account of this mercenary approach of conducting war. What bothers me most is that people around the world may see this behavior as something that American voters and taxpayers support. Marguerita Denise Flowers

BILL MOYERS: And finally, the prolific Katherine Newman gave us insight into what she calls the 'missing class.'

KATHERINE NEWMAN: There are over 50 million Americans--who are in the missing class or the near poor. And that's quite a bit more than the 37 million who are officially poor. And about whom we worry a lot more in terms of policy. And we should. But the missing class is a very large number of people. And it's over 20 percent of the nation's children as well.

BILL MOYERS: Here's what a couple of you had to say.

READER:Maybe the truth of the matter is the American people just don't care about the Missing Class, or the Lower Class for that matter. We have developed the Bottom Line culture to such a degree that unless doing good actually results in self-gain, it's easier to let the other guy do it and wait for things to get better for me. I'm sorry, Bill, but I feel it's just too late. Capitalism won. Dick Brandlon

READER:As a white woman who was blessed with a solid middle class upbringing, college grad parents, and not one but two four-year degrees of my own, still I've spent most of my 15-year professional career grossing significantly less than $45K annually, generally with few benefits, while divorced and supporting two young childrenÉit would have made a more powerful story had Mr. Moyers and Ms. Newman done a better job of acknowledging that the millions of "these people" in this country are in fact a much broader and better educated group than was implied. We are everywhere. Jeanine Dahl

BILL MOYERS: Keep your comments coming - by mail, e-mail, or on the blog at pbs.org and we'll keep reading.



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