Regarding your Oct. 22 article "Al Qaeda's capabilities may be growing": It is the members and the supply of potential members that makes Al Qaeda such a viable threat to the United States and other countries around the world. Its numbers have a virtually unlimited potential.
Al Qaeda has proven that it effectively advertises a promised purpose and meaning to the lives of people who are otherwise helpless to combat threats in their lives.
The US need not continue to badger every hot spot of terrorism with military and political pressure. Doing so is only plugging holes in a damaged vessel. Soon, there will be more holes than we have fingers for. Instead of allocating millions of dollars to the military front, the US should reroute those funds into grass-roots activism that can support prosperity and true healing in a situation that so desperately needs it.
In response to "Al Qaeda's capabilities may be growing": President Bush is throwing fuel on the fire with all his talk of war against Iraq. These are times that call for the calm voices of reason and compassion, not incendiary threats.
If the US wants to dry up the flow of Al Qaeda recruits, it must start listening and responding to Arab and Muslim voices around the world. Let's bring them into a global dialogue, a new era of global democracy, where people come before oil.
In response to Larry Seaquist's Oct. 22 Opinion piece "Building defenses of peace": Our government officials should not seek permission and sanction of the UN. UN officers are not my elected representatives, and I do not support their political or moral principles. Our officials are obliged to work in the context of the principles of the United States. I sanction and uphold these principles, and I choose to live in this country. Our officials need to do their job, defending the sanctity of our country, principles, and lives.
Michael J. Gold
Regarding your Oct. 22 article "Smarter bombs still hit civilians": Your exposé on the growing toll of civilian casualties due to smart bombs was quite enlightening. It reminded me of the civilian casualties caused by dumb bombs in the Middle East, Asia, and even the US. While the Pentagon works to shape up their smart bombs, innocent people are being killed by smart terrorists using rudimentary explosive techniques.
Regarding Richard Harwood's Oct. 21 Opinion piece "The political changes patriotism didn't bring": The article states that more than 50 percent of California voters "like neither candidate for governor." In fact, there are six candidates for governor. Voters must be willing to look beyond the two main parties and choose the candidate with whom they most agree, regardless of affiliation.
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
In response to your Oct. 16 article "A few golden secrets from the true marriage experts": I am 81 years old and was married for almost 50 years to a wonderful man. I consider myself to be an expert on marriage, and I am disturbed that so many of my friends are divorced.
Most relationships have trouble. We must learn to accentuate the positive and ignore or quietly take care of the negative. I've learned how important it is to choose wisely, let each other follow his or her own star, and to compliment and thank each other.
Marion P. Stow
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