Bush's political 'integrity' is all for show

Godfrey Sperling's column ("Why polls for George W. are up," Aug. 14, opinion page) shocked me. There has been quite a bit in the media about President Bush's August retreat to Texas. It is the first time in months I have felt free to take a breath!

It is so ironic that honesty and trustworthiness are attributed to Mr. Bush. If one stands for such attributes, one must show it in actions - even on the political stage. But Bush shows he will say whatever is necessary to put forth his political agenda.

As for Bush representing the US well on the international scene, as Mr. Sperling puts forth, I heartily disagree. Being friendly with other heads of state while pushing aside US international responsibility makes Bush appear patronizing and buffoonish.

Marie Pavish Harborside, Maine

Favoritism spoils ambassador selection

Your editorial ("Choice ambassadors," Aug. 15) rightly questions the practice of awarding plum international ambassadorships to generous campaign donors instead of to career diplomats. The administration's devotion to spoils politics deprives the nation of more competent representation. It should be noted that the posts mentioned are all in friendly North European countries with agreeable cultures. Sinecures indeed!

The nation might be better served if these men of presumed capability would accept difficult posts in North Korea, Iran, or Kenya.

Norman Walter Red House, W.Va.

Make a statement with logoless garb

Cheers to Joseph H. Cooper ("Logo lunacy," Aug. 17, opinion page). When Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Nike, and Adidas start paying me to advertise their goods, I'll happily oblige. I, too, constantly battle my three teenagers about "logo lunacy." My biggest problem is finding logoless clothes. When I complain to the store managers, they just shrug as if there's no such thing.

Sheila Globus Sudbury, Mass.

Probing coverage of suicide bombers

Profound thanks to the Monitor for taking its readers where few other publications would dare: into the thoughts, convictions, and motivations behind the horrific acts we hear about ("A suicide bomber's world," Aug. 14).

As repugnant as those thoughts are to most of us, they show us where our prayers are needed - to heal the hatred and self-righteousness, bitterness and frustration, on both sides of this conflict.

I hope most of your readers know that the purpose of this paper, as given by its founder, is "to injure no man, but to bless all mankind," and that we can respond to that purpose by refusing to hate people, but rather dealing with the real enemies: hatred, revenge, and self-righteousness.

Continue your excellent work, and continue reporting on those - from both groups in this conflict - who are committed to loving their neighbors and working for peace and justice.

Robin L. Smith Brattleboro, Vt.

I am so frustrated at your facile treatment of suicide bombers. I count on the Monitor for strong, in-depth pieces that search for events behind words, yet this article offers no context - social, political, or religious - about these bombings. Nowhere do you ask what would drive a person in the prime of his life to kill himself. There are many complex answers, but as long as Israelis and the press accept that this is only a problem of religious fanaticism, they will never understand what Mideast peace, justice, or reconciliation can mean.

Charlotte Osborn-Bensaada Washington

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