The Effects of Cutting US Defense

The editorial "Defense: How Much?," Sept. 10, presents four timely and relevant questions that voters should ask to the presidential candidates. Two more questions should be added: First, many dedicated men and women will no longer be needed in our country's armed forces. How will they be retrained to make an orderly and useful transition to civilian life? Second, the reduction and elimination of military bases will severely impact the economies of many communities dependent on these bases. How will you redirect and reinvigorate these depressed local economies to bring them back into the American mainstream? James F. Tracy, Livermore, Calif. Rebuilding Israel

Regarding the news article "Israelis Shift Plans for US Loans," Sept. 28: President Bush and our elected officials are asking the American people to participate in rebuilding the infrastructure, in reviving the sluggish economy, and in reducing the debt - not of America but of Israel.

The cost of this participation was worked out in relative secrecy because our elected officials want to win the favor of the United States' strong pro-Israel lobby. I thank the author for bringing this to my attention.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if our elected officials would pander as much to the US and spend our resources to rebuild our decaying infrastructure, to stimulate our stagnant economy, and to reduce our mounting debt? E. Nilenders, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. Praise for NAFTA

In its myopic focus on employment, the Opinion page article "NAFTA's Balance Sheet," Sept. 25, fails to even mention the biggest plus of all: the win-win-win situation for Canadian, American, and Mexican consumers who will be able to enjoy lower-cost, higher-quality goods. President Bush deserves commendation for his steadfast support of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Louis R. Ward, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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