Regarding "Expensive weapons won't ensure security" (Feb. 26, Opinion): We need to think twice before throwing billions more dollars at the Pentagon, but not just because the weapons systems it wants are inappropriate for fighting terrorism.
The Pentagon should not receive $48 billion because it would never pass an audit. Pentagon auditors admit they cannot account for significant portions of what's spent by the military. All the weapons in the world won't keep us safe if we squander the country's wealth or fail to monitor corruption and fraud.
The billions of dollars President Bush recommends using to escalate defense spending have to come from somewhere - so what part of the US economy and social infrastructure suffers?
Some questions need to be raised about the American public's thirst for "might is right," which would support this increase. While chauvinistic patriotism may be good for politics, its long-term impact can be devastating - even within the "land of the free." How much longer will the world go along with this bullying? Relationships within the world community are not simplistic, and security is not won by fear and intimidation.
Courtenay, British Colombia
Regarding "Foreign aid recast as tool to stymie terrorism" (Feb. 26): American foreign aid is a good thing, but we desperately need a better system of accounting for the foreign aid we dish out each year. The foreign aid we give should have stringent checks put on it to make sure this money goes where it's supposed to, and not into the pockets of government thieves.
The biggest problem the world community faces today is population explosion. Excessive procreation that doesn't take into consideration how future generations are going to live decent lives must stop. People commit themselves to lives of poverty, illiteracy, and poor health because they aren't willing to take responsibility for their huge numbers of offspring.
"Call the Americans" is the litany heard round the world. This call to the Americans is like looking for a "magic bullet" that does not exist. Most world problems result from years and years of irresponsible acts.
I'm tired of incompetent governmental regimes calling the US to solicit aid of every conceivable kind when 1 out of 6 American children are living in poverty. We should be concentrating more of our resources on our own children.
We need a foreign aid policy with intelligence, vision, respect, and true caring for all people. This means seeing the big picture from all points of view, respecting other religions, and doing something about world hunger, poverty, sickness, and the pervasive proliferation of weapons instead of choosing the military option all too soon.
Emmanuel Aronie Concord, Mass.
Regarding " 'Timber!' on the historic lawn" (Feb. 25, Opinion): I am horrified at the thought of what is being done to historic Washington in the name of some misguided "security." It sounds as if they have gone mad and wish to reproduce a Radio City underground shelter. Why do we need to have visitors three stories below the Capitol? Are we to retreat underground as if this were London in the '40s? Nothing could please the terrorists more.
Ann Conlon Horvath Murphys, Calif.
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