Make US Congress More Accountable to States

Regarding the article ``Governors Push Congress to Ease State Fiscal Crisis,'' Feb. 4: There is something the states can do to make Congress more accountable. When the US Constitution was originally implemented, the legislatures of each state elected their two Senators. This was done not only to help insulate the Senate from short-lived public furors and to keep the larger states from controlling Congress, but to give the states a way to prevent the federal government from doing things like creating huge, inefficient, bureaucratic programs and passing the bills along to the states. In other words, legislature-elected senators were meant to keep the federal go vernment in check. The 17th amendment abolished this system.

Today, the states can resume their role as a check on the federal government by repealing the 17th amendment. If my math is right, it would take 34 states to call a constitutional convention and 38 states to ratify any amendments. The article says ``as many as 30 states face their worst fiscal crises in nearly a decade,'' while nine states have budgets with no projected surplus. The states blame expenditures mandated by Congress for this. This number of troubled states makes a repeal a real possibility. And it would force the federal government to do some honest budget-balancing instead of buck-passing.

Leo J. Krajewski, Lower Burrell, Pa.

Israel and the Gulf war I applaud the editorial ``Israel's Capacity for Restraint,'' Feb. 1, approving Israel's decision not to launch an immediate military response to Iraq's Scud missile attacks. But we must remember that Israel illegally occupies southern Lebanon, Jerusalem (an international city), and the Golan Heights of Syria, as well as the West Bank and Gaza. This is a territory vastly enlarged by force beyond the boundaries established by the United Nations. And we should never forgive Israel's spy Jonathan Poll ard or the 1967 Israeli torpedo attack on the USS Liberty in the Mediterranean which killed 34 US sailors.

Israel's aggression in the region is the source of the instability. Some congressmen have supported Israel, claiming it to be our only ally in the region. The present coalition in fact demonstrates the uselessness of Israel as an ``ally'' when we have to plead with them to stay out of the war.

L. R. Loschen, Portales, N.M.

Every mother of every soldier stationed in the Gulf ought to write a letter of thanks to Israel. If not for Israel's bombing of the Osirak reactor in 1981, our soldiers would have had to contend with Iraqi nuclear weapons in addition to the rest of the Iraqi military. It is time to repeal the UN condemnation of that bombing. Allen Schwartz, New York

`Love America & Change It!' I am tremendously encouraged by your Page 1 photograph Jan. 28 showing Gulf war protesters in Boston and a sign reading ``Love America & Change It!'' Ironically enough, Saddam Hussein will have done America an invaluable service if the Gulf war triggers a powerful public demand for fundamental changes in what is, admittedly, the world's most formidable bastion of political and economic conservatism.

Dilip K. Dutt, Boston

Too big to save the Earth? Regarding the article ``Her Design Is to Save the Earth,'' Jan. 28: I applaud the design of environmentally conscious homes by architect Mary Otis Stevens. I designed and now live in a comfortable, very energy-efficient home. The 1900-square-foot home is maintained with a passive solar design.

The residence shown in the photograph with the article is truly lovely, but if it is a single-family dwelling, the size and use of resources is, to me, obscene. The depletion of our resources, particularly our remaining forests, should be stopped, or at least slowed. Had I known the condition of our forests at the time of the construction of my home, I would have built a smaller house. Surroundings and design are far more important than size.

June A. Robinson, Cave Junction, Ore.

Targeting Saddam's mother? The media have twice mentioned bombings of Saddam's hometown. What was the strategic target? His mother?

Margie White, Seattle

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