Turning Sword Factories Into Plowshare Plants

The opinion-page article "Where's 'Restraint' in Arms Sales?," Aug. 27, is a timely and much-needed rebuke to President Bush to have the US greatly curtail trafficking in arms sales and face up to its tragic consequence.The author strongly favors telling US "industrial conglomerates" to turn from manufacturing arms to "productive civilian enterprise" thus carrying out the prophetic Scriptural promise of making plowshares from swords and pruning hooks from spears. Replacing arsenals by "building relationships with former adversaries" is the author's sane and sound recommendation to "our friends in the third world" leading to a universally peaceful globe. President Bush and US arms producers should give earnest heed to this compassionate outcry urging restraint in arms sales. One has but to recall Iraq as an example of the sheer folly of the US selling arms to other nations only to have them used against us. Charles F. Rasoli, Long Island City, N.Y.

Mexico's populist policies The very incisive editorial "A Mandate for Salinas?," Aug. 26, on the results of the Mexican elections, asks: "Does this mean Mexico's political opening is indeed threatened by renewed PRI preeminence? The forces of economic and political diversity, now set loose, should prevent that." The problem, of course, is that the forces of political diversity have not been set loose. Your own newspaper had, in fact, already given the answer to this problem of political freedom in the article "Will Soviets Learn a Latin Lesson?," Aug. 23, which says: "Populist economic policy has been common enough in Latin America, but analysts say it has never solved the fundamental problems of government that has become too big, too corrupt, and too inefficient." Jorge Prieto, Chicago

'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' I was very disappointed by the article "Pondering the Purposeless," Aug. 26. I thought that brimming drawers of shopping bags were going out of style with the new motto, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." The author should consider reusing her shopping bags until they wear out, then recycling them and buying longer-lasting canvas bags. My local grocery store actually gives a 5-cent credit for each reused grocery bag, whether paper, plastic, or canvas. I hope the author recycles those cut-up newspapers, too. I must compliment the insightful article, "Technology Thwarted Coup Leaders' Success," also Aug. 26. Once again, the Monitor is one step ahead of everyone else in its analysis of a situation. Suzanne B. Soule, Vista, Calif.

Images of an Ecuador market The Images page "Down From the Hills to Buy and Sell," Aug. 16, on market day in Ecuador, is a beautiful compilation of words and pictures. The photo of the Saquisili market is so rich in color and character. It's a prize-winner! Hats off to the photographer and the staff that made it possible. Kathleen Schaefer, San Antonio

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