Bush's Policy on the Haitian Refugees

Regarding the front page article "Bush's Tough Haitian Policy Comes Under Fire," May 28: President Bush was correct to adopt a stricter policy covering Haitian boat people. The administration sets a ceiling on the number of refugees it will admit each year. Like any other settled, populated country, the US can absorb only so many refugees at a time without endangering its own economic, social, and environmental well-being.

Strong evidence persists that most of the boat people are economic migrants, not true political refugees. Their mass departures from Haiti were making headlines well before the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Even if Mr. Aristide were back in power, the mass exodus would continue unless Haiti's poverty and overcrowding were remedied.

Mr. Bush's policy is not racist. One reason "refugees from Cuba, Nicaragua, and El Salvador were given much easier entry" is that the US had enacted laws specifically for these groups.

The administration took a courageous stand in the face of opposition from liberal quarters. It should now work all the harder to help the freedom fighters in Haiti and elsewhere. Their victories will ultimately be in our own best interests. Jim Hastings, Boston Policing the World

The author of the Opinion page article "A Sustainable US Foreign Policy," June 1, identified as a CIA officer, advocates what amounts to "Pax Americana," i.e., to have the US act as the world's policeman, using military force when necessary, backed by multilateralism. He says that "the candidate that best understands and acts on these popular attitudes will have the best chance to win in November."

What we really need for a safer and better world is peace through world law - realized through a restructured and strengthened UN. Any candidate who shows leadership in that direction will deserve to win on the merits, and will go down in history as a great world leader. Stanley K. Platt, Minneapolis Term limits: wrong reform

The Opinion page article "Term Limits: Right Reform, Wrong Reasons," May 29, is helpful for clearing up the case for term limits for elected officials, but the author is misguided in thinking that term limits are the right reform.

The US Constitution already contains a system to "check the excesses of public power, increase the opportunity for citizens to serve in public office, and strengthen the linkages between representatives and constituents," as the author puts it. That system is frequent elections. The reforms needed to improve the effectiveness of our government are those that strengthen frequent elections and not term limitations, which would replace frequent elections as a check on government. Seth Chase, Montpelier, Vt. The price of pollution

Several of your columnists have objected to environmental regulations for the costs they impose on business. Most recently, the author of the Economy page column "Costly Regulations Hinder US Economic Growth," June 2, quotes an expert who says that these huge "mandated expenditures" are "a thinly disguised implicit corporate income tax" that has reduced profitability.

This implies, however, that pollution is free - that if those companies didn't have to clean up their act, no one would be worse off. That is simply not the case. If a business can get away with polluting the environment, it is simply avoiding some of its costs of production and imposing them on innocent third parties. John R. E. Beliese, Estes Park, Colo.

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