Let's not walk away from Pakistan

Regarding "Show Pakistan we're no fair-weather friend" (Dec. 12, Opinion): Congratulations to John Hughes on an article well written. He does an excellent job in highlighting the crucial role of Pakistan in the free world's struggle against terrorism. As an American of Pakistani descent, I must say that I am proud of the support Pakistan has given to us in the fight against terrorism. Americans need to do their part in stabilizing the economy and, more important, in making every effort possible to improve the education system in Pakistan, which has suffered tremendously over several years. It is time we work with the government of Pakistan to help bring English, science, economics, computer ed., as well as numerous other subjects, to the schools in Pakistan. This will require enormous resources and commitment on our part. We need to see this through and not repeat the mistakes of a decade ago, when we walked away from Pakistan when the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan.

Salim Assanie Dallas

Missile decision will affect the future

Regarding "ABM treaty out, doubts in" (Dec. 14): I know peace is better achieved when an aggressor enemy has no doubt of his opponent's military superiority. If the aggressor makes a miscalculation then the error is made plain by an overwhelming defeat, highlighted by an enormously lopsided kill ratio (e.g., the Gulf War).

If, however, your opponent calls your bluff and there is not overwhelming superiority, or a lack of will to employ the superior arms, then a Vietnam-type conflict may ensue where the US had nuclear arms but was unwilling to use them. It can be argued where to allocate money, whether for missile defense or other next generation military systems, but let there be no doubt our defense spending now will bear fruit not for the current generation of military personnel but for the next one and the one after.

Don't weep for the ABM treaty. Both sides are reducing nuclear arsenals despite our pullout.

Brian Root Chicago

Why I wear a veil

As a proudly veiled Muslim woman, I must respond to "Lifting the veil on women's subjugation" (Nov. 28, Homefront).

I can only say that the West misunderstands Islamic veil wearing. With more research people might gain a better, and more objective, idea of why Muslim women wear their veils.

I do it because I believe it is truly an order from the One who created me. He knows what is best for me so I follow Allah's (or as you say - God's) command.

No one is oppressing me. I feel free and protected wearing my veil. I do not abuse my body by showing its beauty to please others. I believe in serving my Creator from the bottom of my heart and in seeking only His pleasure; whether the West understands it or not.

You have to understand - you cannot give me freedom by taking off my veil. Instead, by taking it off you would oppress me - you would be taking off my freedom.

Aynur Ciftci London

Child prostitution continues in Asia

Your recent article "Child trafficking takes new forms in Southeast Asia" (Dec. 12) on child prostitution and child labor is very refreshing to see. Glancing at the English bookshelves here in Bangkok, "novels" concerning the prostitution "scene" are in great abundance, regardless of how repugnant the reality of prostitution is.

Thanks for an article that doesn't rely on the "mass appeal" ticket to sell itself.

Tom Radzienda Bangkok

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