Regarding the Nov. 25 article, "Moral stakes of exiting Iraq": I'm aware of various movements of outspoken opponents to the US war in Iraq. It would be relevant and timely to ascertain what longer-term policy and military strategies are proposed by withdrawal proponents.
I'm tired of hearing about the president's falling approval ratings; they are statistics that do not speak for themselves. The rising global desire for the US to pull out its forces, or reduce or modify its military presence in Iraq is largely unheeded because few alternatives to the administration's plan for troops are being commented on in the media. In fairness, the positive and negative aspects of troop withdrawal should be covered relative to historic examples and current feasibility.
My concern is that there are no viable alternatives to a painstakingly slow drawdown, but I would like to believe some war opponents see the whole of the issue of pulling out of Iraq wholesale. I think there is an obligation to give more coverage to the alternatives put forth by war opponents.
In response to the Nov. 21 article, "Health insurance: mandatory in Massachusetts?": Requiring purchase of health insurance is the wrong way to go. I am a family medicine physician in Portland, Ore. Fifty percent of my patients are uninsured, and 50 percent are on Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan). Massachusetts should be mandating coverage, not purchase of coverage.
I think most people who know the US health care system know we need universal coverage. It makes moral sense. It makes financial sense. However, we must also attempt to solve the other major problems in the system: rising prices and substandard care.
Though Massachusetts is a place to watch now, Oregon will be a place to watch in 2006 as we have two major state-wide healthcare reform initiatives that are attempting to qualify for the November ballot. One measure constitutionally mandates access to healthcare. The other outlines principles of healthcare reform with development of a more effective and sustainable system. Universal coverage is mandated by November. 2008. Thank you for covering this important subject. The healthcare crisis is not going away. We can try to solve it now, or be forced to solve it later for a much higher moral and monetary price.
Regarding the Nov. 10 article, "Leaks about CIA prisons overseas spark fury": I have a couple of questions. What is it exactly that the United States is supposed to do? While I abhor any type of violence, I find that every day I am reading more and more about lives lost to terrorism. Is the US expected to sit quietly by and do nothing about this?
Yes, we are in fact expected to take the high road, and I do think we should. Having said that, however, I would also ask the Muslim community worldwide: When will more of those professing Islam to be a religion of peace step forward and insist that their Muslim brothers and sisters treat it as such? I live in a Muslim country for most of the year, and I know good Muslims. But unfortunately, with the frequency of attacks perpetrated by people calling themselves Muslims, what is shown to the world is that Islam does not look much like a religion of peace. The responsibility of all Muslims to stand up for peace is long overdue.
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