Letters to the Editor
Readers write about combating terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and improving summer reading lists.
Pursue other paths in combating terrorism
I found the July 12 Opinion article, "At stake in the Iraq war: survival of a way of life," to be unbelievably racist. The point of view expressed is from a world from many decades, perhaps even centuries, ago.
The idea that we should limit our trusted allies to English-speaking people in a world where Islam is the second-largest religious group in the world, and the fastest growing, is just ludicrous! How utterly futile that narrow-minded reasoning seems as far as a real solution to the problems that face our shared humanity these days.
Despite Andrew Roberts's vast understanding of the English-speaking people's history, his article, "At stake in the Iraq war: survival of a way of life," does not address a key fact: Each of our world wars was the result of our own failing to live up to our own basic principle – the rule of law instead of the law of war.
A government created and validated by a majority that also protects the rights of minorities is the only civil means of preventing wars between nations, religions, or ethnic groups. English-speaking people refused to give the League of Nations or the United Nations any real force of law to resolve the differences between nation-states or to prosecute their murderous leaders. Instead, we put the faulty concept of national sovereignty above that of protecting human rights, the most fundamental function of civil government. We may have prevailed in the world wars, but if we choose to wage world war instead of world law to defeat terrorism, our luck just might run out.
The July 12 Opinion article, "At stake in the Iraq war: survival of a way of life," raises my ire. The liberal, democratic, capitalistic, and technologically advanced way of life admired in the article is indeed worthy of defense, but the Iraq war is exactly the wrong way to promote the English-speaking society that is outlined.
The militaristic, preemptive approach utilized by the US has landed us in a lot of trouble and actually strengthened terrorist groups. Also, what to do about Iraq is causing great angst in the American public and among the branches of our national government.
Why should the US promote a conflict which does not even give credit to all the non-English-speaking people of continental Europe, much less many in Asia and Africa? I don't believe that the great majority of people of Islamic faith want to wipe out English-speaking nations or convert them to be Muslims.
US policy foments terrorism
I enjoyed the July 17 Opinion article, "Yes, you can work with Hamas." I believe it is one of the best assessments that I have seen regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The problem in creating an independent, economically viable Palestinian state is that such a feat is impossible with the continued presence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The existing West Bank is a checkerboard, with the Israelis controlling the roads and water. Their future presence will be a source of continued violence and require future Israeli military incursions.
US policy has largely created the violence and poverty, and helped give rise to more terrorism. When people are without hope and for generations have nothing to lose, they will resort to violence. The time to resolve the issue of the Palestinians is now, before fundamentalism becomes even more entrenched.
Improve summer reading lists
I fully agree with the July 17 editorial, "Novel reading, post Potter," which emphasizes the importance of reading as a lifelong habit. My mother was finishing a degree in children's literature when I was young, and I was the beneficiary of many happy nights reading together from her lists of classic children's literature. As an adult now, I cannot imagine a life that doesn't include books – lots of them – and I've shared that love of reading with my own son. We read everything from Harry Potter to Shakespeare together and we're anxiously awaiting the seventh Potter book.
Despite the fact that we are a family of readers, I have found that school reading lists are often tedious and depressing. Rather than including classic children's books they tend to focus on problem books that are apparently supposed to provide object lessons in perseverance or kindness. If I see one more sappy book about how a child from a dysfunctional family overcomes her situation through love and tenacity, I will scream! This is not literature and it certainly is not exciting for many younger children. So yes: Teachers should promote summer reading. But please, put books on those reading lists that will stand the test of time and that students can actually enjoy.
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