Letters to the Editor
Readers write about refusing orders, social entrepreneurs, and avoiding conflict with Iran.
Telecom firms should have refused to break privacy laws
In response to the July 10 article, "White House anticipates key victory on government eavesdropping": While serving in the US Air Force in the 1980s, I was given an order that I felt was unlawful and which, if I had obeyed, might have caused grave harm. I refused to obey that order, knowing that if my judgement was wrong I could be court-martialed. The officer who gave the order was furious, but, within a few hours, my decision had been proven correct and the officer apologized.
It is the duty of every American to refuse to do something he or she believes is wrong, no matter who is giving the orders. Telecom companies were well aware of the law regarding wiretapping. When they were asked to break that law, all of them should have refused, but only a few courageous patriots did.
Only a few members of Congress have stood up against the avalanche of rhetoric and fear mongering, and they have now granted immunity to those who knowingly broke the law, forever scuttling the possibility that we'll learn what really happened and who ordered what. Or perhaps not. People involved in these crimes know what happened. They can come forward and defend the Constitution. Is anyone out there patriotic enough to do it?
Daly City, Calif.
Social entrepreneurs meet needs
Regarding the July 10 article, "New breed of activists run for office": Social entrepreneurs – whether they're running for office or running a nonprofit – are having a huge effect on communities across our country. Their unique approach to problem solving is a refreshing sign of hope for Americans hungry for new ideas that can actually make a difference.
The early success of the Tom Perriello congressional campaign in Virginia illustrates just how tired Americans are of cookie-cutter politicians offering the same old ideas for addressing our nation's challenges, including lack of access to healthcare, education resources, and tools for economic mobility.
Social entrepreneurs – and there are thousands out there – take a fresh look at social problems and offer bold, innovative solutions that defy traditional models of expanded government programs and increased spending. And best of all, they get results!
Many social entrepreneurs have joined a nonpartisan coalition called "America Forward" to take their work one step further. They're presenting a better way to solve domestic problems, one in which government resources are used in partnership with the private and nonprofit sectors to offer innovative solutions to communities that need them.
Whether Mr. Perriello succeeds or fails on election night, thanks to his innovative approach on the campaign trail, communities in Virginia win either way. To America's social entrepreneurs, that's the point.
Director, America Forward Coalition
How to head off war with Iran
Regarding the July 8 article, "A US attack on Iran? Not coming soon": There is no evidence that Iran has pursued nuclear weapons (at least not since 2003, according to the best knowledge of United States intelligence agencies). Iran's enrichment program is legal under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Several former high-ranking US officials have proposed that Washington now pursue worldwide nuclear disarmament. That would constitute the earnest negotiation that should precede any threats of war.
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