Selling Weapons to China via Israel

The Monitor should be applauded for publishing the opinion piece "Selling US Weapons to China" (July 22).

On several occasions, members of Congress and US State Department officials have said publicly that the United States is investigating allegations of Israel's illegal retransfer of American technology, and, if proved, will respond accordingly.

As the author pointed out, the evidence implicating Israel in reselling sensitive American technology already is overwhelming. It is so widely known in the defense and intelligence communities that it is reported openly (and routinely) in industry publications like Defense News and Jane's Defence Weekly.

Unfortunately, despite such overwhelming evidence and the clear threat Israel's activities pose to American security and commercial interests, no member of the executive or legislative branches of the US government have been willing to penalize the Israelis.

Even worse, most of this American technology is provided to Israel courtesy of the American taxpayer, at more than $3 billion a year.

It is time that our elected officials let Israel know that enough is enough but, unfortunately, none of us involved in this issue are holding our breath until that happens.

Shawn L. Twing


News Editor, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Criticizing the president

Columnist Godfrey Sperling's continuing attacks on President Clinton (albeit with gentle smoke screen) in "The Messenger Gets Scolded" (July 14) are both boring and vicious. Like the spider inviting the fly into the parlor, he laments, "If only Mr. Clinton would come out and explain the relationship with Monica."

Mr. Clinton is under attack by a special prosecutor backed by right-wing funding whose only purpose is to "get him." In addition, the media has been trying to destroy him since the first day he announced his candidacy.

The fact that he is popular because of good things he has done infuriates those whose only goal is to put another notch in their gun handle.

The president has apparently made some serious personal errors of judgment. But for him to come out now and explain everything, in the face of the media and right-wing frenzy to destroy him, would be totally stupid.

Nothing he might say would be accepted at face value. Witness the thousands of times CNN has shown the same shot of Clinton embracing Lewinsky at a public gathering. "Must be something going on," implies CNN, while knowing there are hundreds of pictures in their file of Clinton embracing both men and women in public places.

I suggest Sperling go back to his nostalgic pieces about past Monitor Breakfasts. They, for the most part, are not vicious.

James R. Smucker

Lacey, Wash.

Conference coverage

I really appreciated the Monitor's clear-eyed reporting from two recent conferences - "In Search of 'One Reality'" (July 9) on science and religion in Berkeley, Calif. and "Canadian Media Grapple With Religious News" (July 16) on religion and the media in Ottawa.

In fact, I am delighted by the increased coverage of religion in the Monitor. When religious matters are treated evenhandedly, the old dictum to avoid the topic for fear of antagonizing one's neighbor is turned on its head, and the most rewarding of all inquiries can begin to be shared. Thank you.

Peter K.H. Taylor


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