Americans happy with war progress ... or not?

Regarding Godfrey Sperling's Nov. 12 column, "No cracks in the public's resolve to fight": Thank you for pointing out the false message coming from some elements of the press.

All indicators, both scientifically derived (opinion polls) and instinctively ascertained (American flags displayed), point to the public's enthusiastic support of our response to terrorism. Perhaps those in the media reporting signs of a weakening resolve are trying too hard to protect the public from being misled by the current administration. While a vigilant free press is vital, this is not the time for overzealous reporters to create tension where it doesn't exist.

David Wootton Dallas

The public resolve to fight indeed remains strong, but public dissatisfaction is not a figment of journalists' imaginations. If anything, the media have been soft in its treatment of the war.

Waving American flags and self-congratulatory graphics have become the norm. Where is the reporting of the refugee crisis, or unexploded cluster bombs, or mention of the Northern Alliance's bloody past? Media should devote more time to answering these questions and less to spreading propaganda.

Dan Chaskes New York

It is my view that we are not at war, but that, due to the world's lack of a police force to track down and deal with the criminal and insane, the aggrieved US stepped in. By saying we're at war, the government has set itself up to fail. If the commentators want to do some good, get this straight: We're not at war. We're just standing in for a police force yet to be created.

D.I. Benton Worcester, Mass.

Required participation in civic duties

In addition to the civic training mentioned in "For a new kind of draft" (Nov. 13, opinion page), I strongly support the concept of a "military type" training for young citizens. I suggest this be incorporated into the school system. As military training requires discipline, it may well also assist in general discipline in the schools. The training need not necessarily be only combat related. I was educated in a military school, and found the training to be a major experience of my life.

Derick Monteith Lynden, Wash.

No form of enforced labor will ever strengthen democracy. However, there is no reason why students shouldn't join AmeriCorps voluntarily if they feel a duty to help their community. In a year in which Congress awarded tax cuts to the super-wealthy, it is preposterous to propose compulsory service of the general public. If there is to be sacrifice for any reason, students should be asked last.

Walter H. Diebold Lafayette, Calif.

Unashamed love for Harry Potter

Regarding your article "This fall, wizards and hobbits rule the silver screen" (Nov. 14,): I began reading the "Harry Potter" series a few years ago at the urging of a child, but the thing that hooked me was the taped version. My wife purchased the tapes for a long trip we made by car, and we both became instant Potter fans. The suspense is great. We've even found excuses just to drive around so we can listen to the books.

Why is this so unusual? Well both of us passed 50 many years ago, and I am a retired school superintendent with a PhD. Yet, judging by the people named in the Monitor article, we may simply be the rule and not the exception.

We can't wait for the movie!

Don L. Griffith Decatur, Ga.

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