The Price of Patrolling Iraq's Skies

Regarding the editorial "Patrolling Iraqi Skies," Aug. 31: The editorial fails to consider how much these round-the-clock aircraft patrols are costing an America that is broke and has millions of citizens who are in need. Nor does the editorial discuss the fact that the United States Constitution prevents a president from calling up the troops on his own except in cases of attack or imminent attack.

Some of us are worried that this great nation is becoming just what the founders feared and sought to prevent through constitutional provisions: the personal arsenal and army of the president. Mary C. Decker, Houston Drop in dollar

Regarding the front-page article "Election Jitters Partially Blamed for Dollar Drop," Aug. 27: The article does not match the facts, as the dollar has historically lost ground against strong currencies. A bipartisan policy of government-induced inflating endorsed by both parties has nearly destroyed our currency. In the immediate post-war era, 360 yen were required to buy one dollar, and the deutsche mark and Swiss franc were worth around 25 cents. Now the dollar has approached 25 yen, and the mark and f ranc are worth about 71 and 80 cents respectively, as of Aug. 27.

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Inflation is cumulative and compounded, which explains why the dollar is worth only 10 cents. Anyone who believes the trend will reverse or that a nation can prosper with a worthless currency ignores the lessons of history. Howard L. Naslund, Annapolis, Md. A cop's `code of silence'

I find the Opinion page article "The Cops' Code of Silence," Aug. 31, amazing. The author shows his true colors as a former officer who carried a badge and tried to enforce the law. He forgets that a lot of people who wear the badge forget that they work for the taxpayer, not for a secret order.

Yes, officers have a tough job, but it does not give them the right to be silent in the face of misconduct by fellow officers. Officers who know of defiant misconduct and do not inform their superiors about it do not deserve to wear a badge.

The code of silence serves no one - not the police and definitely not the public. Yes, police officers have unrealistic expectations put on them by society and by police officers themselves.

I agree with the author that departments should take definite action when they know an officer is not fit for duty. Instead of a code of silence, police officers should set the example and expose those who are a danger to themselves and to the public. Lee Rice, Memphis While the author's well written and well intentioned article on the police "code of silence" had many valid and important points, there was one major flaw that forms the crux of the whole issue. In painting the portrait of acquiescing to the pressures of the job, the author explains that if officers are truthful, the career that defines them is over.

This is perhaps the single largest stumbling block to correcting police misconduct: the fact that most officers define their whole being as cops, rather than as human beings, and consequently take the hurtful epithets personally. Without significant help and counseling from their leadership, this attitude will continue to undermine their efforts at improvement. Geoffrey C. Parker, Rockport, Maine

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