Submarines deserve more credit

Your May 1 article, "A roiling debate over size of US sub fleet" highlights several interesting points, but it failed to give the submarine community its due with regard to missions and capabilities when it stated "their responsibilities are primarily intelligence, fleet support, and even monitoring the earth's polar ice caps."

For many intelligence missions, attack subs are the perfect tool. Submarines can tap undersea cables, monitor military radio frequencies, send special-operations forces ashore to conduct reconnaissance, and carry out other intelligence missions without adversaries having any idea they are being scrutinized.

There's only one problem: The US has largely stopped building them. Since 1993, the US has built three attack subs. Which is why there's no way to meet the numbers recommended by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - 68 by 2015 and 76 by 2025.

Phillip Thompson Arlington, Va. Lexington Institute

I'll keep my Windows, thank you

Your April 28 article "Trust-busting: a two-sided legacy" drew excellent contrasts between the Microsoft case and the Standard Oil and AT&T breakups. I would draw an additional contrast: Microsoft's dominance has not harmed consumers.

I'm one of the 95 percent of computer users who use Windows. I also use Microsoft Word, Excel, and Access. The standardization of these products is one of the major reasons for their popularity. If you know Word, it's easier to learn Excel. I think the products are reasonably priced, and I'm a thoroughly satisfied customer. In my judgment: "No harm, no foul."

I'm sure that Microsoft's competitors would be delighted to see this very successful company split up.

If the attorneys general of the United States and the 19 states that decided to sue Microsoft for antitrust violation want to really protect consumers, then how about taking on the oil and auto industries? For almost a century they've stifled competitive energy forms, raised prices at will, and contributed to horrible pollution of this planet.

Robert Bliss Lake Forest, Calif.

Your article "Trust-busting: a two-sided legacy" implies that the US Justice Department's efforts to fragment Microsoft might not be fruitful because the fragments will again coalesce. It is incredible that the Justice Department didn't require an action that is simple and obvious: That all future release of application software such as Explorer, Word, and Excel be available for the Linux operating system, as well as Windows.

Microsoft would be required to send beta versions of new releases for approval to the Justice Department. The release would be delayed if there was evidence that the Linux compatibility was not achieved. In this manner, Microsoft could reorganize its company in any manner it pleased. But the monopoly power of Windows would have been broken. It is noted that there are some 20 million copies of Linux running throughout the world. This missive was written using the Apple Macintosh OS system -a feeble effort to thwart the monopolistic thrust of Microsoft.

Philip Baumeister Sebastopol, Calif.

Protecting the unborn

Regarding your April 25 article "Justices weigh abortion limits": I hope the Supreme Court justices will see fit to uphold states' rights to ban partial-birth abortions. The 30 states opposing them are morally and compassionately superior to Roe v. Wade. May the justices uphold these 30 states' rights, thereby insuring a higher virtue and recognition of life in its most innocent expression.

Paula Caracristi Sacramento, Calif.

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