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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, how leadership builds the public's trust in government, and single-issue voters.

October 29, 2008



Next US president must start early on Mideast peace

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Regarding the Oct. 27 article, "Israel's Livni takes a risk with early elections": Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni's decision to hold parliamentary elections means that President Bush now has no chance of creating an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before the end of his term. In fact, any hope people might have held for this should have been wiped away long ago.

Domestic challenges faced by the leaders of both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority precluded progress on any peace agreement. Investigations into the financial transactions of outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, division between Fatah and Hamas, low support for Israeli and Palestinian political leaders – all were signs that a deal would be unlikely.

Moreover, it was naive to imagine that peace in the Middle East, a goal that has eluded quite a few American leaders, could be accomplished in the final year of an unpopular US president with low international standing.

Only through early, sustained, and dedicated involvement on the part of the next administration can the United States have a chance to form a meaningful and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Dana Montalto
Wellesley, Mass.

Leadership builds public's trust

In regard to the Oct. 22 Opinion piece, "America's other deficit: leadership": The events of the last year demonstrate that no crisis is more contagious than a crisis of distrust. The leadership deficit will shrink and public confidence will be restored only after trust is earned back. Trust is repaired by behaviors, not words. Initiatives are not balanced and policy failures pile up when ideology trumps the pursuit of the common good. The six world-class leaders from among our founders mentioned by the authors – Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Adams, and Franklin – engaged in common sense governing, as opposed to running a perpetual campaign.

Hugh J. Campbell
New York

I believe this commentary's thesis is more than apropos. The reason for this lack of leadership, I believe, is the rampant self-centeredness and narcissism that have gripped the nation in recent years.

When selfishness rules, the ability to work for the greater good goes missing.

Johannes Hoech
Redwood City, Calif.

Don't cast votes based on one issue

Regarding the Oct. 15 Opinion piece, "Amid Palin hype, a pro-life feminist's dilemma": This piece is a great example of the force that is pulling our country apart both politically and in everyday life.

Single-issue voters hold up the progress of our country.

Author Angela Kays-Burden writes, "Single-issue voters are not simple-minded. They make the hard decision to compromise on a myriad of urgent issues in order to vote their conscience on the one most important to them."

I would say, rather, that single-issue voters are indeed simple-minded. They hold their opinion on one issue, almost always abortion, over every other concern of the country.

I wonder how abortion trumps the combined weight of two wars, 45 million Americans without healthcare, our sinking economy, torture, immigration, Social Security, and education?

How can one issue be more important than the fate of our country?

C.W. Rhodes
Rolla, Mont.

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