Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the US recovering its spiritual health along with its economic health, the need for US presidents to defend our rights as well as our land, and reports that Israel has used white phosphorus against Gaza.

Rehabilitating the US requires spiritual health

Regarding the Jan. 20 comment, "A new day": I'd like to express my gratitude for this commentary. When I saw its headline, I was prepared to read one more exhortation of what President Obama and we ourselves must do, in the physical sense, to get our country and our world back to health again.

How refreshing for the Monitor to remind us that any "doing" must begin spiritually, for no physical act, however well intended, can have a lasting effect without that.

Truly our essential action on this new day is to discern who we really are: spiritual beings who are momentarily in a physical environment, but who are always under the guidance and care of the "sustaining infinite."

Would that the writers had given the inaugural invocation, for they have included and validated each and every one of us, no matter what our religious background.

Thank you. And thank you again.

Art Rubin
Asheville, N.C.

Presidents must defend our rights

In regard to the Jan. 20 Opinion piece, "From Van Buren to Bush, a better way to rank US presidents": Author Ivan Eland makes an excellent point about what makes a president of the United States good or bad in the face of history.

I would add to his criteria, however, that along with peace, prosperity, and liberty, a president must be judged by how well he defends individual rights as a whole – the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

Any who fail to meet these objective criteria are not only "bad," but have failed to live up to the duties that the position was created for in the first place, i.e., to protect the citizens of America, not only from invaders, but from those among us who would rob us of our rights as citizens, and more important, as human beings.

John F. Schmidley
Las Vegas

Media mistaken about phosphorus use

Regarding the Jan. 14 article, "Gaza: Israel under fire for alleged white phosphorus use": The Christian Science Monitor's reporting methods of the use of phosphorus by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during the Gaza war is a perfect example of why survey after survey shows the American public is more than ever skeptical and critical of the news media.

The Monitor chose to quote, at length, a casual observer who claimed that Israel was using phosphorus to injure civilians, and quoted this individual's outrage extensively. But, in fact, it wasn't true.

According to the International Red Cross, there was "no evidence to suggest [phosphorus] is being used improperly or illegally [by the IDF]."

An online correction, which the Monitor in fact made, is no substitute for predisposed reporting in the first place.

When I submitted an opinion piece for the print version of the Monitor, spelling out all the facts and correcting the incomplete and thus misleading print version of the Monitor's story that omitted references to the comment by the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as pointing out the omitted facts from the Monitor's story confirming Hamas's indisputable war crimes of intentionally aiming rockets at civilians and using civilians as shields, the Monitor did not choose to publish the op-ed.

That was unfortunate, especially for those of us who have always had a high regard for the Monitor and its reputation for accuracy, fairness, and balance.

Lanny J. Davis

Senior advisor, The Israel Project

Washington, D.C.

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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