Just one question, Mr. Bush I am one of the voters pushing for more from Bush than his recent statements regarding the duration of his cocaine-free years ("When the past is impolitic," Aug. 24). I wouldn't consider cocaine use a reason to withhold a vote, but I might not want to tolerate much hypocrisy. George Bush knows that, and that's why he's clamming up.

Bush is a drug warrior, and Texas currently has thousands of prisoners guilty of nothing more than possession of small amounts of cocaine. As a matter of fact, Texas has the largest criminal justice system in the entire nation (not something to be proud of). Many defenders are urging us to offer questions related to policies.

If I had but one to ask, it would be enough for me. Governor Bush, in your opinion, what should be the maximum federal sentence allowable for a first-time conviction of cocaine possession?

Danny Terwey, Santa Cruz, Calif.

Is the US following the 'rules of war'? Regarding "Can war be fair? - 50 years after Geneva" (Aug. 11), your story's statement that "the West generally embraces the standards set forth in the accords" is laughable in light of what the US is doing today.

According to the United Nations, US-imposed economic sanctions against Iraq have claimed the lives of 5,000 Iraqi children each month, totaling more than a half-million children under five who have died. The continuing sanctions have killed more than a million Iraqi civilians.

Surely the "rules of warfare" are based to some degree on the theology of a "just war," which was intended to constrain and limit war, not to serve as a justification for a decade's aggression against innocent civilians.

Nonmilitary economic sanctions against Iraq may still enjoy congressional and administration support and the indifference of a compliant public. But the sanctions contradict the norms of international humanitarian law and make a lie of any supposed "expression of Western Christian values." Scott Kennedy, Santa Cruz, Calif. Resource Center for Nonviolence

Modern-day witch hunt Regarding "Relapse in Fells Acres case" (editorial, Aug. 23): Sincere thanks for your strong and principled response to the Fells Acres tragedy.

History will hold Scott Harshbarger, Tom Reilly, Martha Coakley, and the witch hunters of the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office responsible for this marathon perversion of justice.

These are the real abusers - not simply of the Amiraults and their "victims," but of everyone whose faith in our justice system has been erased by their arrogance, blindness, and ethical nullity. It is they who truly deserve to be placed behind bars. James D'Entremont, Boston

Pirates abroad, at home I couldn't help but chuckle when I read how concerned the Americans are over the bootleg distribution of creative works in other countries like China, Russia, and Israel ("Israel faces sanctions if CD piracy continues," Aug. 13). It happens at every independent record store in every major US city. They are filled with bootleg CD compilations and unauthorized remixes. I have seen them with my own eyes at retail, and at the traveling record collectors shows held at VFW halls. Let's not forget to look online either. If you search under "Madonna CD" at the ever-so-popular auction site www.ebay.com, you will find no fewer than 50 bootleg Madonna releases for which the material girl will never receive a royalty.

Our own lack of enforcement of our own copyright law is an embarrassment. Bruce Baron, Ferndale, Mich.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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