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Letters

February 2, 2004



Paul O'Neill's account a 'wake-up call' for America

Regarding your Jan. 14 article "O'Neill and WMD: fallout beyond Iraq": Paul O'Neill's work provides Americans with a compelling firsthand account on the corridors of power within the Bush White House. Articulate and engaging, Mr. O'Neill's words offer a cautionary tale of how honest, dedicated, and intelligent Americans who are called to serve in high positions, often discover that somber political realities undermine the best of intentions.

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If the central character in question, O'Neill, were a political neophyte, his story would be dismissed as irrelevant. It is, however, a documentary told by a well-seasoned and astute businessman who served for two years in the most visible and influential economic position in the Bush administration.

Moreover, given O'Neill's close association with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, coupled with Vice President Richard Cheney's strong inclination to recommend O'Neill as Treasury Secretary, his book must give us pause for thought.

What the American people should gain from O'Neill's telling experience is that our political system is tilted more toward personal aggrandizement than to individuals willing and able to make a real contribution. O'Neill's work underscores the tragic reality that a person's loyalty and experience - though important attributes - are often sacrificed for political expediency.

Rather than viewing O'Neill's book as a cynical and disparaging account, it should be viewed as a wake-up call for people to demand more from their elected leaders, who after all, should be actively engaged in the interests of all Americans.
David M. Huff
Alexandria, Va.

Marxists vs. postmodernists

Your Jan. 27 article "Theory in chaos" equates postmodernism with Marxism. The two are, in fact, implacable enemies. In some ways the first wave of postmodernists set themselves up in deliberate opposition to Marxist theory. Marxism posits an objective truth - that history is marching in a certain direction. This is its metanarrative. Postmodernism rejects all claims to objective truth, and attacks all metanarratives.

One can disagree with Marxism; one can disagree with postmodernism. To pretend that they are the same thing, or even part of the same problem, is blinkered.
Anthony McGowan
London

Kindergarten overload

Regarding your Jan. 29 article "Learning trend: Kindergarten becomes an all-day affair": The pendulum swings back to full-day kindergarten not because of academic benefits but because nobody's at home to hang out for half a day with young children. Our first child entered kindergarten after the district switched back to full-day kindergarten. Within three weeks our "perfectly behaved" 5-year-old had become a monster. The diagnosis? Exhaustion. Even the teacher admitted the children were "useless" after lunch. No real teaching was possible. And, unfortunately, naps are considered old-fashioned.
Carolyn Mendez
Columbus, Ohio

Jobs out, workers in

Clay Bennett's Jan. 28 editorial cartoon relabels the traditional "out" box on the executive's desk to "outsource," to make the point about the offshoring of US jobs. To complete the picture, his "in" box should have been relabeled "insource" to emphasize the other half of the jobs equation: the insourcing of workers to drive down the pay and conditions of jobs still domiciled within the US. Outsourcing and insourcing are two sides of the same coin.
John H. Tanton
Petoskey, Mich.
Federation for American Immigration Reform

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