Leadership needed to balance US nuclear strategy

Regarding "Testing the 'axis of evil' " (Editorial, April 9): How can the United States best reduce the threat of other countries obtaining nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons? Every possible means of deterring their use must be employed regardless of what moral gray areas may ensue. And although the US must send the message that it is willing to use its nuclear weapons, it is also vital that it reassure the world it is properly engaged in preventing weapons proliferation.

The cooperation from other nations in this effort is essential – including their agreement not to export weapons or materials and knowledge needed to build nuclear weapons. Nothing could be clearer in the wake of Sept. 11 than the need to strengthen multilateral efforts to stop the unauthorized trafficking of nuclear materials. This will require consistent American diplomacy, economic assistance, and skillful leadership through multilateral treaties, organizations, and many other forums.

The world will not follow America's lead to slow and counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction if our only declared position on the matter appears to be bullish on nuclear options. The character and direction of our leadership is vital.
James Doyle
Santa Fe, N.M.

Weapons of mass destruction are not the greatest threat to America – even in the hands of Saddam Hussein. Sept. 11 showed us the greatest weapon: hatred. Without the ever-growing hatred in the world, no one would work to obtain such weapons. And the US continues to contribute to this arsenal of hate with each country it bombs or invades. Today we see the global opposition we have managed to build because of our well-meaning but often misguided actions in past wars. We must make sure not to build even more of this hatred in our current efforts in the Middle East.
R.T. Carpenter
Lynn Haven, Fla.

More religious compassion needed

Regarding "Powell faces changed Arab world" (April 10): Reading about the changed Arab world Secretary of State Colin Powell faces on his visit to the Middle East, I was dismayed to hear that so many religious leaders are justifying suicide bombings as a religious action.

Where is the peace and tolerance that Islam claims to teach? If these attacks on civilians in Israel are justified by Islam, then how can religious leaders say they repudiate attacks on people in America?

I hope calmer voices and influences will manage to prevail and finally end the continuous killing occurring on both sides of this ongoing conflict.
William R. Moon
East Greenwich, R.I.

Films not worth a download

Regarding "Web pirates pillage Hollywood" (Arts&Leisure, April 12): The article, which focuses on the downloading and copying of movies from the Internet, was timely. Last year, I selected about 50 films from the Monitor's listing of movies launched in 2001. The plan was to rent them over the course of this year. All 50 of the films I chose seemed promising from the reviews and descriptions provided by your newspaper.

I have now found and viewed about a third of those on my list, and only a handful – I have to admit, I can only actually remember three – have been worth the price of the rental. The product being distributed by the movie industry is not a quality one and, thus, downloading movies for free is still an overpayment for the time it takes to download them. Our recreational time is more valuable than to be spent on most of the current films being produced – even those garnering year-end awards.

Richard N. Finnell Gilbert, Ariz.

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