Limits on America's ability to accept refugees Regarding the opinion article by Philip S. Anderson criticizing American reluctance to give citizenship or sanctuary to desperate third world people flocking to our shores ("A twisted sense of asylum," Aug. 4): America cannot save all the people in the world who deserve to be saved.
There are nearly 1 billion people who do not have enough food to eat, and all of them deserve a better life - not only the Cubans. Granting sanctuary to those who most blatantly flout our laws will only encourage more lawlessness.
If we truly care about the plight of our fellow man, then we can do more to help people solve the problems in their own countries. And most important, we can set an example of responsible self-government in our own nation by reducing our consumption of natural resources and ending poverty. Jonette Christian, Holden, Maine
Mr. Anderson's opinion article contains a large number of distortions. As president of the American Bar Association, he should know better.
Asylum seekers come to the United States to escape death and torture. Refugees come to escape displacement, or in the vast majority of cases, poor economic conditions.
The unfortunate Cubans we saw on television trying to reach US land are economic refugees, not asylum-seekers. We have a treaty with the Cuban government to work cooperatively in restraining such illegal immigration and have instead agreed upon accepting 20,000 Cuban emigres each year.
If we took in all those persons in the world who desired to better their economic conditions, we would be so packed in, cheek by jowl, that we would have to breathe in unison to survive.
Marvin Gregory, Renton, Wash.
A 17-year-old on not being a soldier I felt that your "Soldier shortage" series missed some of the moral reasons why we in the "Net generation" are not joining the military (Aug. 5, 6, 9, 10).
One reason is that we value our lives too much to die for US oil and economic interests. We are too educated to view peasants fighting for land reform as our mortal enemies. We know too much about modern warfare to want to be the pilot who drops depleted uranium on Yugoslavia and smart bombs on hospitals, TV networks, and embassies.
In the end it doesn't make much sense for us to exchange our free will for an automatic rifle. This is why many of us choose to flip burgers and program computers rather than blow away human beings who are unfortunate enough to be on the "other side."
Noah Mayers, Whitefield, Maine
On animal testing Regarding the editorial "Apes, grapes, and us" (Aug. 6): You state, "At least let's have enough respect for chimps not to put them in small cages or kill them after doing medical tests on them." The sentence might better read, "At least let's have enough respect for chimps not to put them in small cages or use them for medical tests."
Cathy Woodworth, Sonoma, Calif.
What makes a hero Regarding "It's a simple code: Do the right thing," (Aug. 13): I would like to thank baseball's home-run king Mark McGwire for hitting the longest ball of his life, when he took responsibility for the image he has with youths around the world [by discontinuing the use of a performance-enhancing drug because children were imitating him].
When someone does something noble in this world, we all get a thrill by experiencing truly the best of the human experience.
Patrick Manion, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
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