Stop Playing Pin-the-Scandal on the Clintons

As a retired journalist who has always admired the Monitor's fair approach, I am disappointed that it has joined the parade of premature Clinton bashers. Of course one can always rationalize that selected quotes from Clinton's opponents, such as Sen. Richard Lugar, are news. One might argue that opinion polls concerning Hillary Rodham Clinton likewise are newsworthy (front-page article ``Public's View of Hillary Clinton Splits Along Age, Gender Lines,'' March 28). It was significant that in this article, the mention of former first ladies' influence on their husbands omitted reference to Nancy Reagan. She relied on an astrologer's guidance and impacted presidential decisions.

The scandals of the Nixon, Reagan, and Bush administrations were far more serious than any of the questions that have been raised about the Clintons.

The author concedes that the Clintons' tax returns revealed nothing illegal, but he implies that perhaps we should be suspicious of someone who makes money by investing in commodities: ``The investment was not illegal, but it does show that she was no purist ....'' Robert A. Sethre, Roswell, N.M.

Buthelezi's contribution

Regarding the coverage of South Africa:

What Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi really represents for the new democracy is almost ignored, sadly. In the 1980s, Mr. Buthelezi contributed concretely to a constitution and a bill of rights based on federalism.

Perhaps Buthelezi is passe, but his point is not. The public deserves to know why he was a hero in the `80s. A successful meeting of the East Indians, the whites, and the Zulus took place. I lived there when it was happening. Buthelezi may not be the man of the hour, but his contribution to a safer South African democracy is still vital. Mary Evelyn Hovestad, San Francisco

Polar bears lose protection

Regarding the Washington Watch brief ``Less protection for sea mammals,'' March 24: Not only does the new Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) provide less protection for sea mammals, it has opened the door to an ``open season'' on polar bears.

The 1972 MMPA prohibited the import of polar bear (trophy) parts. That has been reversed, and the Alaskan and Russian polar bear populations will suffer as a result.

I believe that the members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Committee feel - and vote - their allegiance to its hunting premise more than they do to the protection of our country's environment and wildlife. Eleanor L. Jones, Cottondale, Ala.

Assessing Israel's actions

Israel's admission of mistakes made in recent confrontations in the territories does not justify bias regarding the Fatah Hawks and Israel's commitment to the peace process (Editorial, ``Israel's Behavior,'' March 31).

In violation of Arafat's formal instructions, armed bands of Fatah Hawks throughout the territories openly call for violating the declaration of principles and resuming armed activities. Furthermore, two terrorists convicted of knifing to death two Israelis in December were reportedly Hawk members, and Hawks have claimed responsibility for recent shooting and grenade attacks on Israeli soldiers and police.

As for its commitment to peace, Israel should be commended, not chided. It has looked the other way when Palestine Liberation Organization elements have repeatedly violated pledges, and it has made significant concessions in the wake of PLO political exploitation of the tragic Hebron massacre. How has Israel's negotiating partner demonstrated its commitment? Glen Tobias, New York Bluma Zuckerbrot Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith

Assessing Israel's actions

``Israel's Behavior'' brings to mind my admiration for the Monitor's courage in presenting, over a long period of time, a very evenhanded view of Israel's conduct toward the Palestinians. In general, objective reporting seems to be rare where Israel is involved. Most United States media seem to be either terrified of criticizing Israel or so prejudiced in its favor that the country is presented as able to do no wrong. Charles E. Lambert, Sarasota, Fla.

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