Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Iraq's oil, homeowners' innocence, the depletion of the world's oil supply, California's water crisis, Gen. David Petraeus's current role, and the use of DDT in moderation.

Is the US buying time now to stay in Iraq for its oil?

Regarding your Sept. 12 editorial, "The Iraq clock," something is missing from the reports of Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker and the questions put to them by Congress. Why do they, along with President Bush, again want to "buy more time"?

Is it to complete the construction of the fortified US Embassy and several permanent military bases, along with control of the oil production? I sense that their gauge of "progress" in Iraq is all about oil.

Judith Butler
Spokane, Wash.

Help innocent home buyers

Regarding the Sept. 12 article, "Paulson: credit turmoil to last a while": David Kotok, chairman of Cumberland Advisors, was right on target when he argued that it is the responsibility of the Federal Reserve to help innocent people who financed a home and were tricked. Those who say homeowners should have been more careful and understood what they were getting into have missed a crucial element of this situation. It was, in many instances, the sophisticated taking advantage of the unsophisticated.

High-pressure tactics are designed to take advantage of the innocent. And this happened here. But the individuals who thought they were at last getting a fair shot at the "American dream" should have all the support we can give them.

As for the unscrupulous lenders and the speculators, maybe they should take the hit.

Robert Brandes
Fredericksburg, Texas

Oil supply is nearing the end

In response to the Sept. 11 article, "Climate-change paradox: Greenhouse gas is Big Oil boon": The article describes how oil production can be enhanced by injecting carbon dioxide into declining oil fields. The message of this article is that technological advances, such as this one, can help provide a continuing flow of oil. However, enhanced-recovery schemes such as CO2 injection are difficult and expensive. It would be much easier and more profitable to simply move on to new oil fields as old fields are depleted. This has been the oil industry's practice for the last century.

Its new interest in enhanced-recovery methods is a consequence of the fact that there are no longer enough large, undeveloped oil fields to supply future demand. The unwritten message of this article is that "peak oil," the time when global oil production reaches its maximum and begins to decline, is upon us. The world is not about to run out of oil, but the long-term trend is for less and less global oil production at higher and higher prices.

Dan Everett
Athens, Ga.

California's water woes

Regarding the Sept. 12 article, "Water crisis squeezes California's economy": As a 70-year resident of the bottom end of California's water-supply pipeline, I read with great interest the article about our approaching water crisis. In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, blame was placed on both man-made causes and natural disaster.

The litany of blame in California's water shortage doesn't resemble that at all. For all of his tough-sounding talk about "hiding from the problem," the head of the Association of California Water Agencies didn't mention one man-made aspect of the problem here: our immigration-driven population explosion. Before the inevitable confluence of natural and man-made disasters truncates southern California's water supply, I hope to have moved out of state, where I can read the postdisaster blame machine with detached sympathy.

Barbara Vickroy
Escondido, Calif.

President hiding behind the general

Regarding the Sept. 13 article, "Is a bipartisan war policy possible?": I appreciate the questions that Congressional representatives are raising about having a military general define policy for the country. However, it seems they miss the point. Gen. David Petraeus is not making policy. He is merely the "fig leaf" that the Bush administration is using to validate a failed strategy. By hiding behind the general, President Bush is merely using patriotism as his last refuge.

Thomas Battin
Bangor, Maine

DDT should be used in moderation

In response to the Sept. 13 commentary, "Bring back DDT? Think again.": The article leaves a significant issue unaddressed. Few dispute the deleterious effect of broadcast spraying DDT over broad areas.

However, by the time DDT was banned, it had proven highly effective in controlling mosquitoes. As a result, malaria, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, was nearly wiped out in some tropical areas. Since DDT was banned, the strength of birds' eggshells has been restored, but many human beings have succumbed to malaria.

It is now clear that DDT remains a powerful tool, even when not broadcast sprayed. The judicious use of this insecticide causes minimal environmental damage while permitting millions of human beings to enjoy longer lives.

George Warren
Warrenton, Ore.

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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