Applying Military Resources to Humanitarian Needs

The article "Is a Window Open for Arms Control?," May 8, points up the difficulties involved in reducing a country's defense forces - not the least being economic interests. Instead of closing defense industries and creating local unemployment, would it not be possible to convert our forces from destructive defense units to a constructive peace force? With the widespread disasters in the world, military forces are the only efficient and disciplined units large enough to make any effective contribution to rebuilding devastated areas of the world. With reconstruction of homes and cities needed, there would be no need for our forces to be unemployed in the foreseeable future. And what hope they would give for a happier and peaceful world!

Kay Martin, Bromley, England

Race, gender, and authorship Thank you for the article "In Pursuit of Racial Diversity," May 8.

I am disappointed by the remarks of the black female law student still looking for her "40 acres and a mule." Her observation that our constitution was written by white males belies a racial orientation. Why place emphasis on skin color and gender? Is not the godless, despotic literature of Nazism written by white males? Is that what makes it bad? Are the documents of many African nations good because they were written by black males? Is there not widespread enslavement and killing of blacks by blacks i n

these nations?

Our Constitution was written largely by biblically based minds remarkably insightful and perceptive. To toss off the Constitution as "written by white men" is to be in danger of getting only 40 acres and a mule. Short change for sure. Ironically, of the students featured, the two that were most perceptive and color-blind were - dare I say? - two males, one black and one white. Is that significant? Of course not.

Ed Spencer, San Mateo, Calif.

'Life-altering' cultural encounters The Home Forum essay "Upon Returning," April 17, reminds me of the similar change that has stayed with me since being included as a household member in India 25 years ago. The family's riches were in their hospitality and congeniality and care for a traveler's welfare.

On the day I left India the matriarch of the family, who spoke no English, unexpectedly approached me and daubed a red dye spot on my forehead as a customary blessing for the journey ahead of me. She then gave me a coconut and a five rupee note. I was later told that these symbolized her wish that I should be well provided for along my way. It was humbling to be treated as a beloved member of the family after only one short visit.

May everyone have such life-altering encounters with a culture where, as the author learned, values outweigh "artifacts and gestures."

M. Brenda Riontino, Chattanooga, Tenn.

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