Letters to the editor

Readers write about dressing children in camouflage, hurricane Katrina, Social Security, and Israel's stake in peace.

Camo means honor

The opinion piece "Dressed to kill: Why clothe kids in camouflage?" left me feeling riled up and misunderstood. While camo represents aggression and violence to the writer, for my family it symbolizes honor, service, humility, and sacrifice.

I understand why the author, living in New York, should question the prevalence of militaristic clothing for innocent young boys. Very few people in her city are hunters, and only a small portion of the population will ever consider serving in the armed forces. But isn't it an important part of our children's education to learn about the lifestyles of other people in their country, outside the big cities?

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I respect the choice of parents who keep the complexities and heartache of war away from their young children. In our family, Daddy's job is to help with the war, so we are intimately connected to it. We make the best of our situation, and when we are able to connect to Iraq on a videochat, sometimes dad and son are both clothed in camo.

Michelle Hatfield

An 'unnatural' disaster

Regarding the Monitor's Nov. 1 feature article, "New Orleans in the forefront of a green building revolution": Husna Haq has helped readers see both hope and opportunity for the intelligent rebuilding of New Orleans, and as such deserves kudos.

However, shorthand about Katrina being "one of the most devastating natural disasters in US history" is inaccurate.

The true devastation of Katrina – the flooding of the city with its accompanying loss of life and property – was an entirely man-made disaster. The failure of the federal government-maintained levee system can be traced to the Army Corps of Engineers' shoddy building standards, which assured unnecessary and widespread destruction in the wake of Katrina.

This, coupled with a woefully inadequate government response, should make us angry, and demand a truly independent investigation of the whole affair, which is why I support Levees.org.

Frank Beau Davis

Belmont, Calif.

Who 'deserves' a wage increase?

In regard to David R. Francis's column, "Social Security pensioners deserve a $250 'raise'": That Social Security recipients, already the largest special-interest entitlement spenders in the nation, "deserve" an increase in their benefits at a time when millions are losing their jobs, homes, and physical health, is untenable.

The future Social Security crisis will not be resolved because of future retirees. And the problem is exacerbated by the profligacy he endorses. America's younger generation did nothing to "deserve" the disaster being bequeathed to them by the self-deluded "Greatest Generation."

It's time for America's affluent, overfed, two-home- and three-car-owning retirees to pitch in to help rescue the nation they've destroyed with policies and false logic.

John Klar

Irasburg, Vt.

Israel has a stake in Middle East peace

Regarding John V. Whitbeck's commentary "Is a two-state solution kaput?"; Those on both sides, who push for a one-state solution, aren't interested in a resolution that recognizes the right to self-determination for Palestinians and Israelis, but merely in promoting demagoguery, and focusing on the interests of one party.

Even worse, to single out Israel for failures in the peace process is to play a blame game more suitable for sibling rivalry rather than constructive diplomacy. And to suggest Israel has no stake in a successful solution is to desecrate the graves of innocent civilians who perished as a result of Palestinian terrorist attacks over the past decades.

Had Mr. Whitbeck stopped there it would've been offensive enough, but he made sure to insinuate the conflict was tantamount to South African apartheid, suggesting its foundation was racial rather than territorial. This comparison is not only completely fallacious and disgusting, but the sort of rhetoric that only serves to inflame radicals and thus derail the peace process.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Arabs (Israel has 1.2 million) can vote in a legitimate election and democratically elect their leaders; with complete freedom of press and religion; and where gays, lesbians, and other minorities are free to openly live their lives. A one-state solution not only abolishes Israel as the Jewish homeland, but risks the region's lone sanctuary for these precious freedoms.

Our government fully understands that a two-state solution is in our best interest. Just last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his call to restart negotiations immediately. Let's remain focused on suggestions that encourage both sides to remain steadfast in pursuing a resolution that maintains Israel as the democratic home of the Jewish people, and creates a peaceful and secure Palestinian state on its borders.

Nadav Tamir

Consul general of Israel to New England

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