Letters

The right way to fix Bosnia

Regarding your Sept. 19 article "Can foreigners fix Bosnia?": Your headline raises the right question but your article proposes the wrong answer. Bosnia's problem is not its multitude of governments and institutions, but rather the power they have over all aspects of life. Centralization not only fails to curb that power, it is also one of the root causes of the war that your article mentions in passing, then ignores. Bosnia doesn't need a market-based democracy, but a limited government with little authority except to protect life, liberty, and the property of its citizens. A free-market economy would follow. Government can't "deliver" on economic progress; it can only get out of its way. The answer to the headline's question is an unequivocal "No."
Nebojsa Malic
Arlington, Va.

Ethnic Germans' bravery in Poland

Regarding your Sept. 23 article "World War II's latest 'victims' ": Thank you so much for running this story. It makes me cry, because my family was one of those that had to leave, and the story is heart-wrenching.

I was born after the war, but I can say with certainty that my family did not start this "operation," to paraphrase Tadeusz Cegielski. They hated the Nazis as much as other Poles did, and considered themselves Polish first.

When it came time to help out those that the Nazis were persecuting, members of my family did not hesitate to use their "Volksdeutsch" status to aid whomever they could. None of this counted when the Russians took over, and it is so sad to see that none of it counts now. There are people alive right now who would not be if it hadn't been for the brave actions of many German Poles.

These international academics, journalists, and artists who signed a petition against the memorial might even know descendants of those helped by German Poles who were willing to sacrifice themselves against the brutality of Nazi Germany's policies.
Sylvia Merschel
Los Angeles

Ready to sacrifice - for a good cause

Regarding Daniel Schorr's Sept. 19 column "Different meanings of 'sacrifice' ": I remember the late 1970s during the energy crisis, when President Jimmy Carter rightly called on the country to sacrifice for the sake of conserving energy. When Ronald Reagan ran against Mr. Carter in 1980, Mr. Reagan said Americans did not have to sacrifice.

Now, almost 30 years later, we're still debating the energy-dependence problem in relation to our national security. It seems gas-guzzling SUVs are taking over the highways. America could have done much since the Carter presidency to make us more energy efficient and less dependent on foreign oil. We are spoiled and reluctant to sacrifice, even when our survival is at risk. "Sacrifice" is seen as a dirty word. It must have pained President Bush to call for sacrifice. Will he call for business and the wealthy - who benefited royally from his tax cuts - to sacrifice? Compassionate people are willing. The only sacrifice this administration is calling for is the lives of our young men and women for the sake of war.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr.
Louisville, Ky.

Post-9/11, marginalized Muslims

Regarding your Sept. 12 article "Has post-9/11 dragnet gone too far?": I am a white American convert to Islam. The sense of loss of civil liberties is palpable within the Muslim community. At one time, I believed that one's religion was a matter of conscience and that a personal choice of religion would be respected in this country. Especially since 9/11, we have become a country in which anyone who is not "mainstream" is suspect.
Catherine Moody
Los Angeles

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.

Any letter accepted will appear in the print publication and on www.csmonitor.com.

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 Letters .

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