Letters to the Editor

Readers debate arguments in favor of striking Iran, reject court rights for illegal immigrants, support working moms, and advocate communicating important information via text message and e-mail.

The implications of attacking Iran

Regarding the May 8 Opinion piece, "The case for strikes against Iran," by Louis Rene Beres: With all due respect to Mr. Beres, I've heard this song before.

Once again, the hawks are trying to push the US into a war at a time when the other player has some disturbing advantages.

Just what does the professor think the Iranian Army is going to do while we dazzle Iran with "shock and awe?"

They'll be pouring across the border into Iraq, directly toward our already beleaguered troops.

They have our troops right where they want them. The Iranian supply line is very close to their troops. The US supply line is very far away. Iranian troops will be out for blood since our air strategy probably will have killed hundreds or thousands of their people.

Our young men and women in the military have already suffered. Let's not compound the problem. Let's not make the same mistake again.

General Sherman said it best when he addressed the graduating class at West Point on June 19, 1879. "War is at best barbarism.... Its glory is all moonshine."

John F. Jackson
Fredericksburg, Texas

In Louis Rene Beres's Opinion piece about strikes against Iran, the author's legal nihilism is cloaked by his unfounded generalization regarding international law and the dubious notion of anticipatory self-defense. Contrary to Mr. Beres's claim, international law hardly confers an endorsement of this dangerous idea that only leads to greater violence by lowering the threshold of unilaterally determined contingencies that warrant acts of self-defense.

The UN Charter, Article 2.4, expressly prohibits member states from using or threatening force against one another, and Article 51 has clearly restricted the right to self-defense to the cases when an armed attack occurs, an interpretation upheld by the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (1947): "Preventive action in foreign territory is justified only in case of an instant and overwhelming necessity for self-defense, leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation."

As Abram Chayes put it in the case of the Cuban missile crisis, "It is a very different matter to expand Article 51 to include threatening developments or demonstrations that do not have imminent attacks as their purpose or probable outcome."

And yet, in spite of the International Atomic Energy Agency's close monitoring of Iran's nuclear program, the absence of any "smoking gun" regarding nuclear weapons, and Iranian leaders' explicit denunciation of nuclear weapons on moral and national-security grounds, Beres insists that an unprovoked strike against Iran is legal and practical. He is wrong on both accounts, and he underestimates the regional and global havoc that would be wreaked if preemption is used as a pretext for yet another American war in the Middle East.

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi
Author, "Iran's Nuclear Program: Debating Facts vs. Fiction"
Cambridge, Mass.

Regarding Louis Rene Beres's Opinion piece about Iran: The question is not if, but when, Israel will strike Iran. President Ahmadinejad's genocidal intentions will make Israel fight for its very survival. I wouldn't take out just Iran's atomic sites; I would also level the whole city of Tehran. You don't kill a snake by stepping on its tail; you step on its head. And in this case, the snake's head just happens to be Tehran.

Leonard J. Douglas
Polangui, Philippines

Don't give illegals their day in court

In response to the May 7 article, "Border crackdown jams US federal courts": I'm Hispanic, and I came to the US as a legal immigrant. I'm a naturalized US citizen, and I know the rules.

We wouldn't have this problem of immigrant cases crowding US courts if we built the fence at the US-Mexican border.

Illegal immigrants don't have rights in this country. Why do we have to tie up our courts?

Once illegal immigrants are identified, we should turn them over to law enforcement officers. No courts, no hearings, no lawyers.

We also need to institute chain-gang programs for repeat border jumpers, to do the work that Americans supposedly won't do.

It's time to stop coddling the invaders. Illegal immigration is a slap in the face to legal immigrants and an insult to law-abiding American citizens of Hispanic descent.

Haydee Pavia
Laguna Woods, Calif.

'Relaunch' works for today's women

In response to Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin's April 30 Opinion piece, "Moms and careers: a new way forward": Thank you for this piece. As a teacher of young children and consultant to young families, I have been concerned about the women having to choose between being a stay-at-home mom or pursuing a career full time.

Many women who made the choice for a career have managed to balance career and family, working relentlessly to excel in both areas, sometimes at a great cost to self and family.

In my years of consulting work with young families, I have learned that there are some women who are better moms when they are following a chosen career. I've also learned that some families need a full-time mom.

To those who have chosen to put their career on hold for awhile, Ms. Cohen and Ms. Rabin bring a ray of hope. I am gratified to learn that moms can be moms and still look forward to a challenging career at some point in their lives.

Shari Robinson
Indianapolis

Use phone texts for fun – and safety

In response to the May 8 article, "To raise the alarm, use cellphones?": Text messaging and e-mailing are excellent and rapid ways to contact students on any campus.

As we know, students already use these means of communication all the time. Schools should use these available technologies to contact those on campus with important messages.

As a case in point, I was working registration at a meeting at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., when I spotted a charge card on the floor. I handed it to a faculty member nearby and within a minute she had e-mailed the student who owned the card and received a reply.

Pat Hawkins
Raleigh, N.C.

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 print and on our website, 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 Op-Ed.

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