I would like to respond to the editorial "No Place for Hazing," Dec. 10. I am a 2/c Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy and I was rather upset by inaccurate data in that article. Many of my classmates and other midshipmen that I have talked to also disagree with it.Hazing is already over. I firmly agree that serious hazing has no place in the military or the academies. However, in recent years hazing has been abolished. Any stressful actions taken by upperclassmen toward plebes has been directed not at women but at those who are physically, mentally, or morally unqualified to be officers in the military, regardless of sex, race, or religion. I have witnessed a few incidents which could be called hazing, but the offenders were quickly and severely reprimanded. In the case of the female midshipman who was handcuffed, all of the offenders were stringently punished for their actions. They claimed they were responding to an act of malice done to them by the woman, but that was no excuse reacting in such a childish way. Devan J. Cross, Annapolis, Md.
Contesting rape statistics The article "Smith Trial Unfolds Pain of Rape Cases," Dec. 10, reports that, according to DePaul University law professor Morrison Torrey, "various surveys" reveal 40 to 68 percent of males "would rape a woman if they knew they could get away with it." As a reader, I would like more information about those "various sources" instead of relying on second-hand hearsay. Who conducted the surveys and what groups of men were surveyed? How were the surveys made and what was the definition of "rape" used in the surveys? When I think about the men who are my friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and relatives, it seems false and degrading to be told that so many of them would rape if they could get away with it. Joe Belknap Pacific Grove, Calif. I must object to the reporting of the Smith rape trial. The author uncritically repeats highly suspect figures commonly asserted about rape by feminist activists. One of them is that "according to FBI statistics, 1 in 4 women can expect to be raped." The truth of such reports cannot be measured by social science methods. K. Skupnick, Wellesley, Mass.
In defense of foreign aid In the Opinion page article, "What a Deal! Cut Foreign Aid," Dec. 11, the authors state that we provide foreign aid because we are generous "by nature." In fact, we are simply pragmatic. Foreign aid gives us enormous leverage in negotiating tariff and trade agreements, environmental and other global policies, prices for natural resources, and protection for US investments abroad. We also provide aid to countries we have identified as militarily advantageous. Emily Sims, Des Moines, Iowa
In response to the editorial "Help for the USSR's Successor," Dec. 12: The time has arrived for the US to abandon its phobia of "Russians," which is an incorrect way to refer to the Soviet people. With the transformation of the Soviet Union in mind, our attention should at this point be directed toward the needs of the people of the region and not just at our apprehension over their government's future direction. Without the food, shelter, incomes, and other necessities for living, the citizens of the USSR's successor are helpless. The US should assist them in recovering from their current situation and use its influence to stabilize the region if it is to maintain leverage in an unquestionably important area. Todd Young, Windsor, Conn.