Terrorism 'lessons of past': What have we learned?

I would like to commend and congratulate you for "Lessons of past in stopping terrorism" (Oct. 31) - one of the most insightful articles about terrorism that I have read. For the past three years, I've been studying terrorism, and never have I seen an article so geared toward achieving real-world results. Your utilization of the many terrorism experts (Bruce Hoffman, Mark Juergensmeyer, Martha Crenshaw, et al) who have been largely ignored since Sept. 11 was refreshing and effective.

Bradley Burroughs

Meadville, Pa.

I found "Lessons of past in stopping terrorism" a bit naive and disturbing.

The West's striving for hegemony lays the groundwork for a culture far more oppressive than any the earth has dared to imagine. It seems to me a new violence exists - simmering within Western culture, continuous and ever more destructive as pressures increase. Lies about how "good" a people we are look great on paper - but they don't work in the real world. When a foreign country or people has a real political, economic, or social grievance, what options do we leave them? Consider the history of our involvement in South America, Asia, and the Middle East, and the oppressive regimes we support.

Seán McGill

Phoenix, Ariz.

War is more than politics

In "War could bode well for Republican future" (Oct. 30, opinion page) Godfrey Sperling fails to mention - even once - war in terms of right or wrong. Instead he says, "We're talking about a 'popular' war here - one in which the public remains fully committed to the fight. Not a Vietnam."

He states that "if the war continues on until the next presidential election, Bush may be unbeatable for a second term." His position appears to be that if the war is good for getting GOP votes, then it's good for us.

Not one word demonstrates anything other than anticipation of an escalation of conflict, so long as it might increase the GOP's chances.

Sebastien de Castell

Vancouver, Canada

Ending conflict over 'conflict' diamonds

In " 'Conflict' diamonds aren't forever" (Oct. 25, opinion page), Robert I. Rotberg states that $1 million will buy 90,000 "high-quality repeating rifles and ammunition." Doing the math, that comes to just $11 per gun and ammo. How is that possible? Please let us know if the numbers are right.

John Tanton

Petoskey, Mich.

The author replies: That's the price in the field - on the Somalia-Kenya border, and in urban South Africa, Nigeria, and elsewhere. These are used weapons, after all, and there are too many floating around.

Longing for love, oceans away

Robert Klose's "Anton awaits an ocean away" (Oct. 31, Home Forum) is a wonderful story. It brought tears to my eyes as I thought not only of our daughter- whom we adopted from a Russian orphanage - but of all the children we left behind. I remember the sadness in their eyes, and their arms reaching up to us, begging us to hold them, play with them, and give them a family and unconditional love.

There are so many children in the orphanages in Eastern Europe - especially older children - with bleak futures, because they have no one who wants them or loves them as only a parent can do. If any of your readers have considered, even for a moment, the idea of adopting, I hope they will consider it further. There is nothing more important than family - and these children have none.

Nancy Baumann Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

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