In "Invading Iraq: Would the public go along?" (July 17), it appears you have omitted a major concern regarding an invasion of this nation: the need for a declaration of war by Congress, or, at minimum, a majority approval of a resolution authorizing the use of military force.
The attendant debate would ensure a full and open airing without compromising national security information. Without Congress's imprimatur, and the participation of some allies, an invasion of Iraq will appear, if not in truth be, reckless and unsupported.
Your July 15 editorial "Crisis in a fulcrum nation" misreads the current political situation regarding the democratic process in Turkey.
The present political upheaval is much more than a dispute over lifting the death penalty. That issue is one among others that are the subject of a healthy discussion among different political parties and the public.
The Turkish Army is a prominent and respected institution with a historic role in society. It is consistently viewed as the most trusted institution by the Turkish public. It makes its views known by the constitutionally provided channels and interacts with other actors in the building of national consensus. The conclusions of the National Security Council, where military representatives are in the minority, are advisory in character. In fact, the military has carefully stayed out of the current political crisis.
The Turkish economy, after a period of turmoil, is now steady and the government's economic reform program is being implemented with the assistance of international financial institutions.
Whatever the result of the current political developments in Turkey, you rightly point out that the Turkish people will decide on their future within the Turkish democratic process.
WashingtonExecutive Director, Assembly of Turkish American Associations
Regarding "Paths to Patriotism" (July 3), in which a number of approaches to patriotism by young people were contrasted: It's misleading to call the brand of patriotism favored by the young man managing the family farm in the Corn Belt "old fashioned." Actually, the style of patriotism embodied by the Princeton University student who questioned the war on terrorism is old-fashioned. Not only is the right to question and protest our government's actions given full protection in our Constitution, it is one of our most sacred institutions. Remember that the Founding Fathers were dissenters themselves!
New Milford, N.J.
Regarding "Confessions of an ex-bag lady" (July 11): Your reporter may not have thought about bringing her own containers to her local organic store. Recently, the woman ahead of me in line had filled her own bag and containers with basil and spice. She weighed the containers before she filled them, and then had them weighed again when she paid. I like the idea of bringing my own containers and will do so the next time I need spices.
In her July 12 letter, "Slavery in its newest form," Anita Wilkins blames "globalization and modernization" for the vestiges of slavery left in the world. I've seen globalization and modernization blamed for just about everything, but blaming a 100-year-old phenomenon on what remains of a 3,000-year-old institution is a new one.
Virginia Beach, Va.
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