Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Israel's peace policies, the US-waged war on an idea, France's influence on America, and the difficulties of learning to speak English.

Making peace is hardunder Israel's tough policies

In response to the Sept. 21 article, "Israel's harder line on Gaza complicates US push for talks," I can only conclude Israel does not want peace with the Palestinians, as it does everything in its power to keep the conflict going.

Israel hurt Fatah by withholding the tax monies owed to Palestinian government.

Now it is making victims out of Hamas by collectively punishing the people of Gaza.

This will only increase support for Hamas throughout Gaza and the rest of the Arab world.

Bottom line, Israel does not want peace, has never wanted peace, and continues on the path of destroying the indigenous people of Palestine – unless the United States and the world stop it.

Sarah Smith Redmond
Rochester Hills, Mich.

Countries can't wage war on an idea

Regarding the Sept. 19 article, "Did CIA kidnap vacationer? It's a state secret.": The Khaled el-Masri lawsuit reminds us that you can't wage war on an idea, no matter how malevolent.

You must pick an entity. For a war, it has typically been a country and its leadership, nothing less.

The US government has unwisely chosen to make war on a process, which means it made war on a people – the Muslims – and in multiple countries.

The use of the state-secrets privilege has been abused, as have so many actions connected to the ill-defined war against an idea.

Perhaps this is a "hot war," followed by the cold war we recently "won."

The latter was a 40-year war, and the current one may exceed it, the way things are going.

Ned Ward
Chicago

America can learn from France

In response to your Sept. 24 editorial, "America's New Lafayette": In reality, France has been less of a pain in the neck for America since emancipation than Britain has been.

As a matter of fact, America owes much of what it is to the French. For instance, the Statue of Liberty – if that does not tell it all, what does?

While the previous French president greatly irritated President Bush, if America had listened to him, then Mr. Bush would not now be deep in mud all over the world!

I hope this new French president teaches America some lessons on humility. This would have been pleasing to the Founding Fathers.

H.D. Schmidt
Loma Linda, Calif.

Hope for language learners

In response to the Sept. 18 article, "Hooked on mnemonics: A new way to conquer foreign languages?": I would like to congratulate the Monitor for this article.

It was marvelous, useful, and extremely well written.

I've been studying English for eight years. I consider myself a good student of the English language.

I can write in English; I can listen and comprehend.

But I can't speak fluently, naturally, or clearly.

In other words, I think too much before I speak.

Why is this? I try to speak during class. I speak with my co-workers. I speak with myself, too! But I feel my speaking isn't good compared with my listening, writing, or reading.

Fernando Henrique Baldissera

São Paulo, Brazil

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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