Readers write

If parents have voucher choice, why not taxpayers?

As a taxpayer without children, who has never complained about paying for education, I am curious to know if the Bush administration has a provision for me to "sell" vouchers.

I realize that a voucher won't do me any personal good, so to take the track of economic incentives, I should have an option to pass my taxes and choices on to others. Why should I have to pay for a public good when parents get the option not to? The logical extreme of the "educational choices" argument leads me to this conclusion.

Curtis Cooper Fort Collins, Colo.

Moral courage in our forces

Regarding your Jan. 26 editorial "Tilting at Ospreys": I take exception to some comments.

First, the Tailhook and the Osprey situations have nothing to do with each other. Second, military secrecy and lack of moral courage are two distinctly different items.

The problem with Tailhook was not the penchant for military secrecy, but a group of individuals who, when caught (and the process of how they got caught will forever be suspect), didn't have the guts to be accountable, admit their failures, and take their hits.

In the case of Lt. Col. Odin Fred Leberman, if he, in fact, did what he's accused of, it has nothing to do with "how military training to obey orders can be manipulated to hide the truth..." whether in a bad situation or not.

Starting with my basic cadet training at the Air Force Academy more than 26 years ago, I have been trained to tell the truth. In the past 20 years as an Air Force officer, fighter pilot, and squadron commander, I have been told to conduct myself with honor and integrity and have trained my subordinates to do the same.

Gen. Charles Krulak, Lt. Col. Leberman's former commandant, talked often - I personally heard him twice - about the vital need for "moral courage" in the military to do what's right, no matter what the consequences.

Bob Kay Alamogordo, N.M.

What Bush mandate?

I'm becoming increasingly exasperated by references - such as in the Monitor's Jan. 22 editorial "The Future: Bush's Four Cs" - to President George W. Bush's "mandate." He has no mandate whatever - not even a "shaky" electoral mandate and certainly not a "values mandate" (whatever that might be).

In an extraordinarily close election, Al Gore won the national popular vote by half a million votes and it's entirely possible that he actually won the popular vote in Florida as well. So slightly over half the voters rejected Bush, and he has already taken actions that reflect values many Americans do not share.

James Woelfel Lawrence, Kan.

Babbitt deserves more accolades

I would like to express my appreciation for your Jan. 16 article "A quiet swan song among wolves and bears."

I feel that Bruce Babbitt was one of best secretaries of the Interior we have ever had, if not the best one, and he deserves more accolades than he received during his tenure.

Your article covers quite well the steps Mr. Babbitt took to ensure preservation of the environment, not only for our generation, but for the generations of our children, grand-children, and beyond. He placed ethical obligations before personal popularity and he is respected by all who know how important it is to preserve and protect what is left of our wildlife and wilderness.

Carolyn W. Gahr Vancouver Island, Canada

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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