Debating US-Israeli Relations

The editorial "The US and Israel," March 25, states "But the US should make it clear that it remains a friend of Israel." Such a friendship has cost billions of dollars in yearly aid, loss of our warship Liberty in 1967 with many crew deaths and injuries, and damage from Israel's spy Jonathan Pollard. How many such friendships can we afford? Paul H. Kaar, Wilmette, Ill. The editorial begins with the statement "The relationship between the United States and Israel has survived other trying times ... and it will probably weather the current turbulence too." Until Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir challenged President Bush over the $10 billion loan guarantee, I would have agreed with that assessment. Now the situation is different.

Americans are becoming aware of what has been taking place in national politics since the Yom Kippur War in 1973. More importantly, the taxpayers are stunned to learn the enormous sum of borrowed dollars devoted to fulfill "America's commitment to Israel's security," and what little has been accomplished with the money. Simply compare the aid for the Marshall Plan with the aid to Israel. Frank F. Espey, Greenville, S.C. Should the District of Columbia be a state?

Regarding the People page article "Statehood Simmers for District of Columbia," March 31: To characterize the issue of statehood for the District of Columbia as only being a matter of equal representation and saying that, "Congress never got around to addressing the matter," lacks historical perspective.

Congress has pondered this issue a great deal and has revisited the issue over the years. When our nation's capital resided in Philadelphia there was much civil strife and many states became distrustful of the relationship. The founders feared that to give the capital representation in Congress would amount to giving the federal government representation in Congress. The founders did not want the capital in a state.

Maryland and Virginia each ceded some land so the capital would not have to be in a state. For this reason, in 1803, when Congress took another look at the issue, they determined that they were not at liberty to give this new city, established on land ceded from two member states, equal representation in the Senate.

In 1871 an experiment was made to convert the District into a territory, but great political corruption sprang up and in 1874 the plan was abandoned.

In 1978 Congress passed a constitutional amendment that would have given the District representation in Congress, but to this date only 12 states have ratified the amendment. There is obviously more to this than partisan politics, or more than 12 states would be in support of the idea. James R. Medley, Seattle

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