Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the need for ethics training in the US, bargaining with Afghanistan's tribal leaders, and why OPEC should be dissolved.

Madoff scandal shows a need for ethics training

In regard to the Dec. 17 article, "Madoff scam saps confidence in Wall Street": With most such scandals, we attempt to fix the problem with more rules and regulatory oversight. But this approach only addresses the symptoms, not the cause. It is like trying to fix a rusty pipe one leak at a time instead of replacing the pipe.

What we really need is a strong focus on moral and ethical education. Moral education should be reintroduced to our K-9 education and expanded to ethical education beyond high school. We need to pursue such education with diligence and perseverance. Top leaders in business, education, and government, including the president of the United States, should be required to periodically attend classes or seminars on moral and ethical behavior conducted by qualified ethical experts.

A return to moral and ethical behavior will go a long way toward reestablishing global respect for the United States, and would eventually reduce the need for unwieldy and often conflicting rules and the exploding need for bureaucratic oversight.

President-elect Barack Obama, who has demonstrated a penchant for selecting people qualified to perform their appointed jobs, should make such moral and ethical education a top priority.

Loren Mayhew
Green Valley, Ariz.

Bargain with Afghanistan's leaders

In regard to the Dec. 16 article, "Bid to split Taliban, Al Qaeda": This article suggests a belated beginning wisdom in America's strategy for Afghanistan. 

The deep cultural. political, and economic fragmentation of Afghanistan make it unlikely that the United States can achieve anything close to its fading vision for that patch of earth as a modern, democratic state.

 But it should be possible, as author Anand Gopal surmises, to bargain with some of the diverse insurgent group leaders. Perhaps we could offer to leave them in control of tribal areas and promise our departure from their territories, which could eventually be from all of Afghanistan.

More idealistic outcomes seem unlikely. But in this scenario, at least Al Qaeda would be left isolated.

Al Edgell
Kent, Ohio

OPEC should be dismantled

Regarding the Dec. 12 article, "OPEC announces historic cuts to buoy oil prices": Instead of reacting to the law of supply and demand, OPEC uses policies to induce the market to behave unnaturally. It reduces production levels to drive up the price of crude, despite the stability of the supply. By reducing the availability of oil, OPEC forces companies and countries to compete for the limited supply. These policies could be disastrous during the current global economic meltdown. OPEC should be dismantled for the following reasons:

First, OPEC's monopolistic practices, such as manipulating prices, are illegal.

Second, OPEC has been a major obstacle to economic recoveries in the past. Its actions were one reason behind the recession and economic downturn during the 1980s.

Third, OPEC was responsible for some of the global price hike earlier this year, when the cost of a barrel of oil reached $147, heavily affecting the prices of goods and services all over the world.

OPEC is harming the world's economy and reducing the possibility of its fast recovery.

Zerougui Abdelkader
Washington, D.C.

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