US Farmland and Food Aid
Regarding the opinion-page column "Goal of US Food Aid: Self-Sufficiency or Dependence?," Aug. 1: A short-term foreign policy that temporarily relieves hunger in the third world while satisfying a shortsighted domestic special agricultural interest in America is in need of major adjustment.Our foreign policy goal to relieve third-world hunger should provide food relief only to the extent that it does not take away from our effort to assist people in raising their own food and in providing all the financial and technical assistance they request to help them reduce their population growth rates. To "mine" American soil to temporarily relieve hunger in some of the third world is very shortsighted. When pesticides, herbicides, commercial fertilizers, and irrigation water are put into the soil to increase production, soil quality and quantity are negatively impacted. Our soil management perspective should be thousands of years. How long can our constantly shrinking farm lands be "mined" while the world adds more than 11,000 persons per hour? G. Lloyd, Southwest Harbor, Maine
Use military capabilities for relief Regarding the opinion-page column "US Troops and Relief Operations," July 29: What other agency, on a worldwide basis, has the command structure, discipline, access to transportation facilities and services, and equipment resources of armies, navies, and air forces? Should part of military service and training involve a contribution to the nonmilitary benefit of a nation? For example, the Soviet Army could support additional railway and highway construction. Frequently, logistical, climatological, and topographical conditions call for military capabilities and discipline. Relief efforts, often calling for rapid response with inadequate knowledge, may involve risks equal to armed conflict. What better way to develop a heuristic response capability than to help the world? David C. Taylor, Slippery Rock, Pa.
Inkatha still deserves seat in negotiations Regarding the opinion-page column "South Africa's 'Gatshagate Aug. 1: The recent revelations that the De Klerk government funded anti-sanctions rallies by Inkatha does not mean that the government has been negotiating in "bad faith." The current talks are aimed at creating a new, nonracial government, not at determining the government's policies on sanctions. Inkatha still deserves a seat at the negotiating table because it is South Africa's largest black organization, representing some 1.5 million people. The receipt of a small sum of money from the government does not change that fact. It is peculiar that the author does not question the ANC's right to sit at the negotiating table, even though the ANC's receipt of funds from the PLO, Libya, Cuba, and the Soviet Union is well documented. David Ridenour, Washington, The National Center for Public Policy Research