Letters to the Editor

Readers write about American guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, the roles of executive power and inalienable rights in the US, questions that should be asked about President Bush, and why Israel's attacks on Gaza are not war crimes.

Stop American guns from reaching Mexican cartels

In response to your Jan. 8 article, "Narcotraffickers attack Televisa Mexico's top TV network": The recent brazen attacks carried out by drug cartels in Mexico underscore the importance of President Calderón's commitment to his war on drugs. The violence that claimed over 5,000 lives last year is a problem that both the United States and Mexico must face together. We must remember that the flow of drugs north into the United States is being matched by an influx of thousands of American weapons that flow with near impunity into Mexico.

Mr. Calderón appears to be wholeheartedly committed to breaking the cartel's power. But despite the deployment of over 30,000 federal troops throughout the country, violence has continued to escalate. Through the Merida Initiative, the US has pledged over $1 billion in aid to the Mexican military and civil law enforcement. Both President Bush and President-elect Obama support this plan, but with over 90 percent of the guns seized by Mexican authorities coming from America, we also must take action at home.

The violence in Mexico will not be stopped without first stopping American guns from falling into the deadly hands of the cartels.

Lincoln Johnsen
Granville, Ohio

US defined by its power distribution

Regarding the Jan. 13 article, "Obama pushes to redirect bailout": I think this article covers with balance and nuance half the picture of US presidential power. The Bush administration not only asserted an enormous expansion of presidential power, but it also asserted in case after case that others have no constitutional rights or even human rights. In my eyes, the core of America lies in its combination of the limits on power of those in power and the inalienable rights of those without power. The Bush administration undermined these principles.

When Vice President Cheney says he loves the US, I believe he is sincere, and that he loves the same geographical area I love. I think, however, that his vision of America is almost the opposite of the one I have and that I love – the one with limits to power and inalienable rights for those without power.

Eric Troseth
Florence, Mass.

Ask the right questions about Bush

In regard to the Jan. 8 Opinion piece, "Why doesn't Bush get more credit?": The real question shouldn't be why President Bush isn't given more credit. It should be, why is he given as much credit as he is, and why has Congress failed to defend this nation and the world against his extraconstitutional efforts? And there are other important questions to ask, too, such as, what happened to our freedoms under Bush, and how do we get them back?

Michael Wolf
Colfax, Wash.

Israel is violating no law

In regard to the Jan. 14 article, "Gaza: Israel under fire for alleged white phosphorus use": Israel is not a signatory of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and therefore is not violating any law by using these munitions.

The only element of the Convention that was accepted under Israeli law was Protocol II, which restricts land mines and booby traps. Israel, as a sovereign nation, is not bound to the laws of other nations. And, unlike Hamas, it is not deliberately targeting civilians (as evidenced by their dropping of leaflets telling civilians to evacuate certain buildings). Therefore, there are no war crimes being committed, by the Israeli side, that is.

Dylan Naegele
Alexandria, Va.

The Monitor welcomes your letters andopinion 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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