Call for international judgment - and world's aid

Helena Cobban's "A plan for Mideast peace" (Sept. 21, opinion page) should be more far-reaching than getting Israelis and Palestinians to resuscitate the near-agreement of the Taba talks. Even before Sept. 11, our government should have initiated a Middle East development strategy. Reflecting consultations with world powers and appropriate international agencies, economic aid would be conditional on compliance with standards for human rights, terrorism, and more. The disaster of Sept. 11 made that initiative still more urgent.

David J. Steinberg Alexandria, Va.

The international community must bring culprits of terrorism to justice. The International Criminal Court, soon to be created under the treaty negotiated in Rome, would provide a forum for the world to deal with crimes against humanity. The US Senate should ratify the Rome statute as soon as possible so that the International Criminal Court can be created to deter terrorism. In the meantime, the US should ask the UN Security Council to establish an ad hoc tribunal to prosecute those responsible. Such action would indicate that the US supports the principle that rule of law should replace a resort to war.

Ronald J. Glossop Jennings, Mo.

Since President Bush won't listen to the Taliban, the Taliban might propose an international trial of Osama bin Laden. This would give Mr. Bush the chance to cite evidence of his guilt, and Mr. bin Laden would have a forum for airing his grievances - a cathartic exercise for all.

David Langer Chappaqua, N.Y.

We should work with world organizations through diplomatic and judicial structures to prosecute the organizers of terrorism. Once-reluctant countries are now willing to join us in an international coalition. By not engaging in military action, we might build an alliance with the majority of Muslims who oppose extremist groups, and we might begin to discuss solutions to the escalation of terrorism.

Ultimately, these are the groups most capable of containing terrorists by seizing their assets, closing safe houses, and arresting them. By adopting strategies espoused by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, we can reclaim moral leadership, begin a dialogue on world conflicts, and help nations build an infrastructure to raise living conditions for all.

Leonard Jason Chicago

On Sept. 11, my fellow Americans became victim to the regime that has repressed Afghans like my parents for the past decade. But Afghans will not benefit if the world merely condemns the ruling group in Kabul. Do not expect change from within Afghanistan: Afghans are held hostage by the current regime. The US must convince the UN and world powers to stop Afghan genocide and terrorist camps, support the creation of a democratically elected government in Afghanistan under UN auspices, and help return exiled intellectuals, bureaucrats, and technocrats.

Mir Hekmatullah Sadat Claremont, Calif.

Take another look at world aid

In light of the news that our own contributions have funded terrorism, we need to reevaluate aid for societies that disdain America.

Though it may seem cruel, we need to determine if our aid enables local government or activist groups to ignore the plights of their own people and pursue destructive agendas. To help raise the standard of living and self-sufficiency of others is noble, but self-preservation demands that we refocus those efforts toward more worthy recipients.

Richard Squires Rockford, Ill.

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