Letters to the Editor

Readers write about environmental-action lawsuits, Israel's human rights record, and schools in Iraq.

Lawsuits are valid in forcing action on climate change

In response to your May 16 editorial, "A thin-ice way to save polar bears": You cannot make a causal connection between the environmental group's lawsuit and the Bush administration's "defensive posture." I wish I shared your view that we have the luxury of time for government to get its act together, but am afraid there is no proof or disproof on that score.

If I thought the suit was brought on by "ambulance chasers," I might be concerned, but I would not disparage people who are genuinely passionate and concerned about an issue for which we lack strong leadership and action, and to which they are willing to devote their life energy.

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I applaud and support the lawsuit. Let's keep this issue foremost in our national and global dialogues in any way we can.

Roger Weinheimer
Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Israel is held up to harsher criticism

Regarding the April 25 article, "Israeli ex-soldiers expose abuse": This article is a prime example of the double standard that is constantly afflicting Israel. The article speaks of a report that presents the testimony of 39 former Israeli soldiers about the mistreatment of Palestinian civilians.

The article completely ignores the atrocities the Palestinians in Hebron have committed on Jewish settlers since they arrived. These go largely ignored by American human rights protectors, who focus on Israel's mishaps.

Concerning torture methods, such as placing suspects into "uncomfortable positions," Israel is one of the few countries whose Supreme Court has prohibited all forms of torture outright. Powerful democracies of our day, such as the United States, Britain, and Germany, openly use minor forms of torture such as uncomfortable positions, loud music, and sleep deprivation to attain information from terrorists. But Israel's official stance is against even the most minor forms of torture.

If one were to zoom out and look at the far worse atrocities committed by the Palestinians and other countries in war situations, one would easily come to the conclusion that Israel is perhaps the most moral country that is stuck in the immoral situation of war.

Adam Nathanson
Springfield, Mass.

Iraq schools are starting to flourish

Regarding Walter Rodgers and Yasmeen Alamiri's May 14 Opinion piece, "What would really rebuild Iraq": I was shocked to read this piece lamenting school development in Iraq. As a US Army captain in charge of projects for the Yusufiya area in south Baghdad, I've had firsthand experience with local schools. They're flourishing! And both the Iraqi and American military are assisting the local government with repairing and securing schools. As early as November last year, our unit paid more than $140,000 to renovate classrooms for more than 300 students. Our unit has provided 10 other schools throughout the area with this type of assistance.

Supporting and enabling education and family is a priority for our unit. We have built and repaired community centers, supplied food and clothes to needy families, dramatically improved sanitation, and installed an Iraqi-staffed radio station. All this in addition to our regular patrols and combat operations. Insurgents fear us not only because we are the 187th Infantry Regiment, but also because we are part of the Iraqi families in our area. We share meals together, we share hardships together, and we are rebuilding Iraq together.

Capt. Steve McGregor
Yusufiya, Iraq

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