Let's hear from female experts about the war

Thank you so much for your article "Are women being relegated to old roles?" (Nov. 7, Homefront) on women's invisibility in the media during the current crisis. My friends and I have noticed and talked about it in passing but have hesitated to make an issue of it during such stressful times.

Pamela Buitrago Corvallis, Ore.

The lack of women giving their views on television and in print since Sept. 11 has produced, among women I know, a rejection of the mainstream media as a source of news. So much is available online and from unfettered radio programs, that we don't need mainstream print and television media. I wonder if advertisers know that the mainstream purveyors of commentary and opinion may have lost a significant audience who would have responded to their advertising.

Hawley Roddick Santa Barbara, Calif.

Almost always, men are the ones who volunteer to risk death to protect the rest. So it's in extremely bad taste for feminists to be demanding that the news media portray more women as experts on warfare.

Neil Steyskal Washington

Now is the time to avoid 'groupthink'

Thank you for your coverage of the war on terrorism. Despite a welcome rise in national unity, this is outweighed by divisive assertions that we'll win this war "at all costs." Everything has costs, but I'm encouraged that policy debates go on despite pressures to conform. "Groupthink" must be avoided. Fervor of patriotism can support consensus-building at home, if it doesn't repeat the worst errors of the cold war. Some wounded hawks from those days would have us extend the war and intensify ground forces.

If we're to gain anything long-range from the challenge of terrorism, it may stem from the larger scope of official and popular worldviews. Coalitions are not just nuisances to our choice of targets to bomb. They are crucial ways to build and maintain our standing in the world. The trust and respect we can earn among others will far outweigh all the military destruction, national wealth, or political arm-twisting we can deploy.

Grant Hilliker Columbus, Ohio

Support for China joining the WTO

Concerning your editorial "China takes a big leap," (Nov. 7). I welcome the prospect of mainland China's being granted membership to the World Trade Organization, and I share your hope that mainland China's membership in international bodies "will help temper its worst behavior both as a possible threat to its neighbors." Your editorial was also quite right in its assertion that mainland China is wont to use its large market potential as a "diplomatic weapon" to force nations into making decisions. Hopefully, membership in a mediating body such as the WTO will alter this pattern of behavior.

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office

Special education: not so special

Your editorial "Re-emphasizing special ed." (Oct. 16) spoke of "changing an assumption ... that special ed students require an education wholly, or mostly, apart form other students." Although it was a system that began with the noble intent of helping students with disabilities, special ed has devolved. It has expanded beyond its original mandate of providing assistance to those with profound disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act makes excuses for academic shortcomings and defiant, dangerous behavior - forcing teachers to keep unruly students in regular classrooms, sacrificing the education of the entire classes. Paul Douglas White Ventura, Calif.

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