Letters to the Editor

Readers write about college safety agreements, war on terror strategies, Nile crocodiles, the burden of all wars, and Afghan insights.

Colleges need an agreement with parents about their kids

Regarding your Sept. 4 editorial, "Perilous privacy at Virginia Tech," if a parent is paying tuition (or even if he is not), he should be given the chance to sign an agreement with the school and the child requiring the school to send the parent a copy of the child's grades, attendance records, and health records.

If the school and child are not willing to do this, then I suggest finding another school. In addition, I think each student should be required to sign in at night.

It seems these days when children are sent off to school, no one even cares if they are dead or alive. Often no one even knows if they return to their room at night or make it to class. If they really cared about the students, they would know these things and report to the parents.

Parents should demand schools take more responsibility for these young people.

They used to, and there is no sensible reason why they shouldn't today.

Kate Sakowski
Richmond, Va.

Need new strategy for war on terror

In response to the Aug. 22 article, "A new push for change in the war on terror," what is most interesting in the survey of foreign-policy experts are the questions that were not asked.

While 30 percent (a plurality) of the respondents listed "winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim world," as the most important US policy objective, the survey does not ask about policy changes to accomplish that.

There are several detailed questions on using economic sanctions and military means to promote US security, but no further questions asked about the effort to win hearts and minds or how one might go about it.

Engagement with moderate leaders was the preferred course for respondents to undercut groups like Hamas, Hizbullah, and the Iraqi Islamic Party, but do we really know how to do that?

And does our current policy undercut our ability to find and engage the moderate elements within these communities?

This report clearly indicates that experts believe the current strategy isn't working, but then points to variations of the current strategy as the only choices for the way forward.

Let's engage all of the resources at our disposal, and our creativity and ingenuity, to fashion a way forward that will address these key issues.

Julie Shedd
Burke, Va.

Crocodiles in the Nile?

In response to the Aug. 7 article, "Gone crocodile hunting on the Nile," I have just returned from a Nile cruise.

On the first night I met a couple, Roy and Helen from Edinburgh, Scotland.

We were on the deck watching the ship go through Esna Lock, and we definitely saw a crocodile ahead of us.

Under the moonlight, the body and scales could clearly be seen measuring approximately six feet.

As we approached, its tail flicked through the water as it swam at speed alongside the boat in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, the photos were no good due to its being nighttime.

To this day, no one would believe the three of us, including the tour guides. But this article proves otherwise.

There is no reason we would make it up, especially as I was a complete stranger to the other two.

The article made my day and will hopefully put an end to all the disbelief.

Sharon Taylor
Norwich, England

Not just Iraq: All wars strain armies

The Sept. 6 article, "British see Army bruised by Iraq," pertains only to the British Army, but the feelings expressed therein are reflective of all armies that go on a mission and stay for too long.

The feeling of nostalgia and the burden of war begin to loom larger with the passing of time. It is time those who are at the helm of affairs took a broader humanitarian angle to resolve conflicts before going to war.

NIRMAL KUMAR MISHRA
Patna, India

New insight into Afghan gained

The Sept. 4 article, "An Afghan village girl blossoms in the city," was a wonderful opportunity to gain new insight into the people of Afghanistan!

This article does such a wonderful service by presenting us with this story, and also, by sharing through example how to be loving and considerate toward other family members.

It is so humbling to hear of others' struggles to better themselves, and I'm so grateful for those people who are supporting them.

DOTTY DAVIS
Glendale, Ariz.

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 may appear in print or 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 OpEd.

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