Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the need for US aid to reach South Ossetia as well as Georgia, mayoral term limits, and the importance of infrared emissions in cooling a home.

US should send aid to both South Ossetia and Georgia

Regarding the Oct. 8 Opinion piece, "I survived the Georgian war. Here's what I saw": South Ossetian voices have been far too absent from international discussion of a war dubbed the "Russian-Georgian" war in US media.

Lira Tskhovrebova's reflections on the war she lived through illustrate the folly of the US reaction to that war. She is right to ask how the US can justify "sending another billion dollars to Georgia and nothing for those Georgians attacked."

Regardless of the political status the US attributes to South Ossetia, US aid should go as much to South Ossetian-controlled and Abkhaz-controlled areas as to Georgian-controlled areas. Moreover, part of that aid should be earmarked for peace building, conflict resolution, and trauma healing. Otherwise, US expectations of an escalating cold war can be nothing but a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The combination of Russian aid directed through Tskhinvali and Sukhumi and US aid directed through Tbilisi would make this region the epicenter of increasing US-Russian tensions.

Ms. Tskhovrebova reminds us the region is first and foremost people's home.

Susan Allen Nan

Assistant professor, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

George Mason University

Arlington, Va.

Let voters decide on term limits

In regard to the Oct. 7 editorial, "Let Bloomberg run again": Michael Bloomberg has, overall, done an excellent job as mayor. I also opposed term limits when they were voted on before. However, that was before we witnessed a billionaire buying the mayoral election, and then using his own money, as mayor, to advertise his own policy positions.

I don't think that this type of situation enhances democracy. There have to be some limits. If they don't come in the form of legal limits on campaign spending, then term limits are definitely appropriate.

In the case of the city council, the situation is very different. We are faced with a weak legislative branch without enough knowledge, experience, and power to provide proper checks on an increasingly powerful mayoral executive.

Let the people decide again. Let them vote separately on the question of term limits for the mayor, comptroller, public advocate, and city council members. That's the only way to control the conflict of interest and "chutzpah" factors.

Louise Derzansky
Rego Park, N.Y.

Cooling affected by infrared

In response to the Oct. 3 article, "How white roofs shine bright green": Author Mark Clayton painted right over an important consideration in the color of roofs: emissivity in infrared (IR).

While white is reflective in the visible part of the spectrum, it turns out that there are whites that are also emissive in IR. Most white paints shine brightly in IR at night, radiating into space. That's great for cooling in hot climates. But shiny aluminum has a low emissivity in the important part of the IR spectrum for nighttime cooling, so it makes a better roof for cold climates.

Most people know that black things warm faster in sunlight, but more need to learn that black things also cool faster out of sunlight. So, no matter where you live, keep your walls inside and out shiny and/or white. Oh, and things you do want to radiate, like your radiators, don't make them shiny or white.

Shawn Reeves
Ithaca, N.Y.

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 pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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