Letters to the Editor

Readers write about how the US government can promote green energy, why the BBC should air a commercial requesting aid for Gaza, and how Israel provokes violence from Hamas.

Government must encourage use of green energy

Regarding the Jan. 28 Opinion piece, "An Apollo program for US energy?": Author Peter Z. Grossman argues that a government funded alternative energy program along the lines of the Apollo space program would be ill-advised. He writes, "alternative energy programs that mandate man-on-the-moon timetables for not-yet-commercially-viable technologies are a waste of money."

Mr. Grossman claims that, "There really isn't a good example of government ever providing a commercially viable alternative energy technology." But the same space program that he doesn't want to use as an analogy helped encourage the development of lighter and more efficient solar panels, ultra-efficient heating and cooling systems, and a host of other innovations that will play some role in our energy future.

Grossman misses the point. Few people expect government to come up with new technologies that will solve our energy problems. What the government can do is to encourage the use of these technologies.

Government did not invent the wheel or roads. But the government-funded highway system encouraged the use of automobiles that got us into this mess. Now, government support to encourage use of existing technologies, from light rail to solar energy, can help to get us out of this mess.

Dan Frazier
Flagstaff, Ariz.

BBC should air Gaza aid commercial

In regard to the Jan. 28 article, "Britons slam BBC over refusal to run Gaza ad": I believe my beloved Israel is a favorite son who can't deal with criticism. But being able to handle criticism gracefully is a sign of maturity. At 60, Israel still needs to mature. So does the US, for that matter, but we're learning.

The argument that Israel is trying to defend its citizens has become hollow and incomplete. I think that the Israeli government is excluding all Gazans (and all Palestinians) from the definition of "civilian," and thus, dehumanizing them. Israeli forces can therefore continue the brutal occupation and still say that, conceptually, no civilians are being harmed.

I hope that the BBC musters up the courage to broadcast the emergency appeal for what is indeed a humanitarian crisis.

Francesca Tate
New York

Israel provokes Hamas's rocket fire

Regarding the Jan. 9 editorial, "The long tunnel to a Gaza peace": How is it that Israel "can't afford a second defeat in Gaza"? Has Hamas attacked Israel with any significant force? Hamas met the terms of last year's cease-fire and Israel did not. Israel was the first to break the cease-fire, and Hamas rockets resumed only after that. I have nothing but condemnation for Hamas rockets targeting civilian areas, but what Hamas has done is clearly self-defense in reaction to Israel's attacks.

The stated policy of Hamas, which calls for the destruction of the Israel, is a paper policy only. Hamas has no capability to effect it, and Israel knows that. But Israel has tried to destroy the Palestinian state. Innocent Palestinian civilians have paid a much greater price for their attempts to remain on their land and govern themselves than innocent Israeli civilians have.

I think that Americans' irrational fears of "Islamic extremists" in Palestine would evaporate if the Palestinian people were to receive the justice and territorial control that they have deserved for the past 60 years, and if Israel's expansionist policies and outsized cruelty toward its neighbors were restrained.

Jerry McIntire
Viroqua, Wisc.

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