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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the meaning of the Constitution's 'common good,' why Iran is right to be wary of the US, and why India will be watching Hillary Clinton's visit to China.

February 19, 2009



Don't cut social programs to salvage the economy

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Regarding the Feb. 9 Opinion piece, "Instead of stimulus, do nothing – seriously": The Founding Fathers exhibited the highest regard and respect for the common good. Therefore, the phrase to "provide for the common defence" in the Constitution is worded in general terms to allow for inevitable but unforeseeable future requirements. Otherwise, in specific terms of the period, the phrase would have been constructed so as to provide for muzzle-loading musketry and wind-powered frigates with the capability of launching boarding-party row boats.

This is also why the Constitution contains another, similar phrase: "to promote the general welfare." It might not be a specific reference to things like "global-warming research, urban mass transit systems, food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, or countless other items in the stimulus package," as author Robert Higgs emphasizes. But those are exactly the sort of things the Founding Fathers meant.

Gary J. Kartye
Mexico, Mo.

Iran is right to be wary of America

In regard to the Feb. 6 article, "Is Iran prepared to undo 30 years of anti-Americanism?": Author Scott Peterson's article is misleading and typical of the dishonest US practice of blaming others when the crime is by the US. For example, Afghans and Iraqis are considered "terrorists" even when the US invades their countries. In the case of Iran, its "anti-Americanism" began when the US subverted and overthrew the democratically elected Mossadeq government in order to seize back control of Iraq's oil fields. At the present time, the US controls Iraq and has been looting Iraqi oil in the country adjacent to Iran. The US is demonizing Iran because of its legitimate nuclear program. The onus is not on Iran to give up anti-Americanism, but on the US to show that it is worthy of having Iran's friendship.

Chris King
London

Indian eyes will be on Clinton in China

Regarding the Feb. 13 article, "Clinton's first destination as secretary of State: a rising Asia": Secretary of State Clinton's visit to China indicates the emergence of China as a world economic power. As such, China can contribute significantly to the US's fight to stop the recession and re-energize the faltering global economy.

But President Obama is also clearly committed in Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeating international terrorism. This then figures into Mrs. Clinton's agenda in China, because China has considerable influence over Pakistan.

Here in India, this visit will be closely watched. We will want to see if the US is able to get China to actively support anti-terrorism in Asia, which has direct implications for India. Achieving this would be very important in the context of a growing strategic relationship between India and the US.

The US's record in dealing with delinquent authoritarian regimes has not always been what one might have hoped for. But it is known to be determined by practical considerations and is understandable. However, that does compel us in India to ponder the democratic values of the US. As such, we will be following Clinton's visit very closely.

Ashim Kumar Chatterjee

Delhi, India

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