For different reasons, I found your March 14 article "US expats uneasy, not afraid" interesting and familiar. Being retired, I followed my wife to her new duties in Qatar; we have been here just six months.
Events have made us cautious but not afraid. With Internet access to US and world news, I have the opportunity to absorb, process, understand, and - at times - dismiss the news we get through CNN, MSNBC, and off the street.
I feel our greatest threat will come after a military action during an occupation. Al Qaeda sympathizers will be "running for cover." Many will find shelter in Saudi Arabia and other Arab states where they will be sheltered by conservative, closed, and sympathetic societies.
Qatar is a very small, very rich, and very pro-US country, which makes it a target. Most people have laid in canned goods, water, and charcoal in case we lose utilities. We're cautious here, but we do not act or react out of fear.
Helen Schary Motro's March 17 opinion piece "An erstwhile island of peace" gently evades the very harsh realities of the situation in Israel, such as the inherent brutality of laws and policies that have been the driving force behind violence and suffering and despair on every side.
While Ms. Motro is free to wander most anywhere she wishes in Israel, enjoying the wildflowers that gloriously color the Galilee in early spring, the Palestinians are imprisoned in rubble-filled ghettos by Israel's apartheid laws and walls, as army checkpoints, curfews, and tanks churn up and destroy Palestinian homes, villages, and farmland.
As an American lawyer, she should be more aware than most of the importance of just laws and civil rights. There is no security in Israel's racist laws, and there is no hope in empowering racist hate, no matter how gently it's done.
Israel should fully implement all the UN resolutions it has been violating, including Resolution 194, the Palestinian refugees' right of return: one people, one land, one peace. Anything less is continued apartheid.
Anne Selden Annab
Regarding your March 17 article "New scrutiny of role of religion in Bush's policies": The article quotes the head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Richard Land, as saying, "The idea that evangelicals support Israel because they want to hasten the Second Coming is absolute nonsense."
As a former longtime member of the conservative Christian right, I must strongly disagree with Dr. Land's statement. This element of neoconservative Christian dogma is documented and dates back at least 30 years, to the publication of "The Late Great Planet Earth" by Hal Lindsey. Mr. Lindsey's very popular book indicates that control of Jerusalem by Israel is a key to the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple on its traditional historic site.
According to standard dogma, the temple must exist so that the antichrist can enter and claim to be the actual Christ. This must happen before the real Christ can return as the leader of a holy army. Despite Land's statement, this is widely believed among Christian evangelicals. The idea has been cited by evangelical leaders such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, as well as Lindsey. I suppose the reason Land and other evangelicals are hesitant to admit this is that it makes their support of Israel seem somewhat self-serving, as it obviously is.
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