"After three months of terror and tragedy, the visage of George Harrison was uplifting and reassuring. Here comes the sun."
CHARLES L. SCHLUMBERGER
Little Rock, Ark.
Thank you so much for your wonderful, touching tribute to George Harrison [MUSIC, Dec. 10]. Even though George preferred to be out of the spotlight, I think he would have liked your article. Not only was his music beautiful, it was a great inspiration to other musicians and artists. He sang of peace and unity without drifting away from reality into a "flower power" world. He was very down-to-earth. I believe he would have been a wonderful friend--and not just because he was a Beatle.
Eau Claire, Wis.
What extraordinary things this unpretentious Beatle--with his unfailing heart and unstinting discipline--accomplished through guitar playing, songwriting and fund raising. But these are also the characteristics of the great saints, yogis and enlightened spirits throughout the ages.
Just as Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters and Vera Lynn with their warm, fuzzy tunes saw one generation through World War II, the Beatles got the next generation through the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War. All these performers sang different variations on the theme of Here Comes the Sun. George, with his innovative guitar solos, was the backbone of the Beatles.
GRACE E. HAMPTON
Thank you for articulating what I wasn't able to about the death of George Harrison. I haven't been able to explain the tears in my eyes or why I am mourning the passing of this man I'd never met. I just know it matters deeply to me as a Beatles fan and an aging thirty-something in an uncertain world. What kind of world is it that has only two surviving Beatles? We miss you, George. JENNIFER HARRIS-FROWEN Fayetteville, Ark.
How many of John Lennon and Paul McCartney's songs would be as memorable without George's catchy guitar hooks? He composed impeccable guitar solos that were as hummable as the vocal melodies themselves. George was very lucky to have joined up with John and Paul--but no luckier than they were to have found him.
New York City
Harrison's work went greatly underappreciated in the post-Beatles era, but it combined all the best qualities of that of the other Beatles. Harrison brought his own spiritual and philosophical views to the mix. It's about time that he was recognized as the philanthropic precursor to Bob Geldof, founder of the Live Aid fund-raising rock concerts. Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh was the first true big-name benefit concert. Thanks for your recognition of Harrison: spiritual man, philanthropist, musician, Beatle.
MICHAEL B. NAHMIAS
East Windsor, N.J.
Talent always speaks louder than words. To me, George Harrison was never the quiet Beatle.
ROBERT DEL VALLE
Royal Oak, Mich.
Re Adam Cohen's article "Rough Justice," about the Bush Administration's decision to use military tribunals to fight terrorism [THE LAW, Dec. 10]: As an American citizen, I am protective of my country's security and my civil liberties. What bothers me about military tribunals and other tactics being employed by Attorney General John Ashcroft's office is the question of how long this war on terrorism will last. The U.S. has embarked on a war against a vague, nonspecific enemy. Our goals, while clearly defined, are undeniably broad. This raises the questions of how long the government plans to continue these tactics and on what criteria the decision to employ them will rest. What if the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee had been given these tools?
As an Arab American, I was deeply saddened by your article "Rough Justice," reporting the humiliation many Middle Easterners and Muslims have experienced following the Sept. 11 events. Are U.S. government interviews of 5,000 men and women in Arab-American and Muslim communities the best way to crack down on terrorism? As if the hatred, threats and discrimination Arabs and Muslims have experienced since Sept. 11 weren't enough, are we now to be humiliated by our own government? Sept. 11 should be no excuse for Ashcroft to use ethnic profiling in the campaign against terrorism.
You quoted an unnamed White House official as saying, "As soon as people understand the military commissions are going to be for really bad people, they'll be more comfortable." I thought the point of a fair trial was to determine just who was a really bad person. Or is presumption of innocence another little nicety of our legal system that no longer applies because we're at war?
Crushing the Taliban Revolt
Your report on how U.S. forces helped put down a Taliban prisoner-of-war revolt, "Inside the Battle at Qala-i-Jangi," was riveting [TIME EXCLUSIVE, Dec. 10]. Alex Perry's account of the sounds, the smells, the terror and the tragedy inside the Qala-i-Jangi fortress was brilliant, as was his description of the final moments of the ill-fated CIA interrogation of the prisoners. The photographs and graphics highlighted the incisive reporting. Perry has left the competition in the Afghan dust.
PATRICK J. SLOYAN
Paeonian Springs, Va.