Strong Economy Buoys the President?

I just read "Economy Sustains Clinton's Popularity, Polls Show" (Oct. 9), the results of your "poll." I keep wondering where you find 800 people with those ideas. I can't find one that even comes near that perspective. President Clinton's behavior is egregious; he has committed perjury, a crime in my book; he has [allegedly] obstructed justice, tampered with witnesses, and has dragged the American people through the gutter.

I am outraged! Our economy is going to down the tubes and rather than attending Cabinet meetings to resolve these grave crises (twice in nine months), he has made over 90 trips to raise money for campaign funds. Are we so totally devoid in values that we now accept a man who is morally bankrupt as our leader, and defend his crimes? Quite frankly, I don't get it. What lesson are we sending to the children of American - it's OK to commit a crime if you're in office or a public official?

Hopefully, the House will have the courage to do what is right and just, according to the Constitution.

Carol Smith

New York

In the Oct. 9 Monitor poll, you spoke again of a strong economy justifying the president's high-approval ratings in spite of general unhappiness with his failings as a moral leader. Isn't it interesting to consider that this same argument was one among others used to justify slavery in this country. Putting our collective principles on hold resulted in the carnage of the Civil War.

We can only wonder what our current compromise of principle will bring in the years to come.

Scott Laningham

Austin, Texas

Worthwhile military spending

Your editorial on military spending, "How Hollow" (Oct. 8), was quite interesting. You suggest we are spending too much money on our military. This may be true. However, if we are going to continue to be the world's policeman, we need the resources to respond with confidence in being able to carry out whatever mission is critical to world peace.

Peace does not come through weakness. It comes through being strong and standing up to the world's tyrants. We are currently being asked to provide defensive support for Taiwan from Communist China. South Korea is threatened by North Korea, which has one of the largest armies in the world. We have committed troops to defend Saudia Arabia and Kuwait. We have peacekeepers in Bosnia, and will probably be on the ground and in the air over Kosovo soon.

One could make a good argument that the armed services are probably the cheapest job training program that we have ever provided for our young men and women. Plus, the training provided can motivate young people to make positive contributions during and after service. I know about this first hand, because I served in Korea and the military experience helped me grow up.

How much money should we give the military? I do not know, but being the leader of the free world is expensive. Plus, giving young men and women an opportunity to achieve may be worth the expenditure. Freedom is not free.

T.L. Stanley Claremont, Calif.

Understanding a famine

The three articles included in "Inside an African Famine" (Oct. 9) on famine relief and the relief workers was an eye-opener for me. It presented different sides of the famine situation that I had never considered: the politics behind the Sudanese famine itself, the politics of aid relief agencies, and the benefits that can accrue from the aid relief "business." The situation is obviously a multidimensional issue that requires effort - and prayer - at many levels. Thank you for alerting me to this. My commendations to the Monitor and the writer.

Dorothy Milburn-Smith

Ottawa, Ontario

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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