Letters

A new view of America needed to end terrorism

"Don't neglect the roots of terrorism" (Feb. 5, Opinion) addresses the idea that concentration on Al Qaeda is fully justified but that the Bush administration needs to consider other regional conflicts if terrorism is to be fought and a significant victory won. This victory requires getting to terrorism's roots.

As David D. Newsom describes it, "terrorism is the weapon of the weak against the strong." It is important to realize that globalization, the new direction for most of the world, triggers terrorism. It widens the gap between the strong and the weak and creates resentment toward the US, since the new system sweeping away old comforts is mistakenly perceived as Americanization. Sweeping away these roots, is absolutely necessary.

A military solution is insufficient and will never end terrorism permanently. Most of the offenders have nothing to lose. What is needed in addition to the military agenda is a restructuring of the system so that there are more ladders for the weak to gain strength, and a commitment to promote a more positive image of America.

Nshemeize Semiti
Elsah, Ill.

Term limits should go for Congress, too

Regarding "California may limit term of term limits" (Feb.7): State term limits make good sense to many citizens because they bring new faces into the political process. By encouraging minorities and women to run for open seats, term limits make state legislatures more democratic and diverse.

A constitutional amendment should be passed for term limits at the congressional level; so that those who finish limited terms in a state assembly or state senate would have a greater opportunity to run for an open seat in the US house or senate. Currently, there is virtually no turnover in Congress, with over 95 percent of incumbents winning re-election and only about 50 of the 435 seats considered competitive at election time.

If we had term limits at both the state and congressional levels, more citizens of various backgrounds could serve in public office at all levels. That's what America is all about.

George A. Dean
Southport, Conn.

Voice from Utah community

"Salt Lake's struggle to join the world - on its own terms" (Jan. 28) portrays the city as a conflicted mix of mutually suspicious insiders and outsiders. I hardly recognized the valley I've lived in for nearly 20 years.

The theme for the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony expressed Utah's most characteristic feature - regard for family. We Utahns give a high priority to loving, educating, and encouraging our children. And we would be pleased to see them embrace the Olympic axiom of having a dream (athletic or not) and making it come true.

Carolyn Owen
Provo, Utah

Linking drugs to terrorism

America is currently engaged in two "idea wars" - a drug war dating back to 1972, and a war on terror declared right after Sept. 11. The former is very unpopular; 73 percent of Americans - according to a recent Pew Research survey - reject government's claims of drug-war success and consider it a failure beyond fixing. On the other hand, support for the war on terror is still strong and seems to be sustaining President Bush's near-90 percent approval.

As the Enron scandal generates heated discussions of conflict of interest, it may be appropriate to suggest that the expenditure of millions for TV ads, as witnessed during the Super Bowl, represent an attempt to link the unpopular drug war to a winner. At what point should elected officials be restrained from using tax dollars to defend their failures and forced instead to seek policies that work?

Tom O'Connell
San Mateo, Calif.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, 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 St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com.

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