What Israel can learn from Manifest Destiny

Your April 26 article "In crisis, Israel rallies behind settlers" was amazing to see in an American national newspaper. It lays out the issue so starkly, I wonder how we can miss it, given our own history with the Native Americans. In fact, the quote from one of the settlers ("The Bible says this is our homeland. This is my birthright....") is pretty much a simple restatement of the concept of Manifest Destiny, which was the basis for ignoring the Native Americans as European settlers and their descendants grabbed land the natives had lived on for centuries.

As Americans, we should be the most sensitive to this issue. We can never justify suicide bombings of civilians, but we must understand where the rage and frustration come from. Have we learned nothing from our history? If not, then I suspect the same fate awaits the Palestinians: They will be destroyed as a people by a culture of superior technological and military might. Perhaps a hundred years hence, history will start to acknowledge the injustice that was perpetrated once again in the name of a religious ideal.
Martin Wolff
New Milford, N.J.

Keep pursuing tighter US gun laws

Thank you for your excellent story "Grieving Germany asks: Why?" (April 30) about the school shooting that left l7 people dead. Your article pointed out that many are calling for "tighter controls on guns."

This article made me think: What happened to the gun-control advocates in the US Congress? Many members of Congress who made reasonable gun-safety measures a part of earlier campaigns have been scared away from the issue by the National Rifle Association. Last year, gun safety was a major national crusade. This year, one rarely finds anyone (Democratic or Republican) speaking out aggressively on this issue. This is unfortunate. NRA money has proved to be an effective deterrent.

It's time that members of Congress do what is right and enact gun-safety legislation. Let's not wait until our nation faces another sensational crime before taking action.
Paul Feiner
Greenburgh, N.Y.

Stumbling blocks for US farmers

Your April 29 article "Grudgingly, farmers take more aid," about the new farm subsidies, ignores some major facts and problems about the agriculture market.

Big food processors control the market, not farmers. When hog prices were at their lowest in 20 years, the price of pork in stores went up. In the grain business, a couple of corporations own most of the grain elevators, barges, and processing plants in the US.

The US government controls the international export market by restricting how much can be sold, and to whom. Land and machinery prices have gone through the roof, while grain prices are the same as they were 30 years ago. Labor and tax laws make hiring and keeping help a maze of paperwork and bureaucracy. Even so, our farmers out-produce the rest of the world.
Carl Vandevender
West Lafayette, Ind.

Use past presidents well

In his April 30 column "More wise words from Jimmy Carter," Godfrey Sperling is absolutely right. The world is in desperate need of more intelligent, fair, and committed voices of peace, like President Carter's. Our ex-president is a man respected the world over for his morality and fairness.

It would be a mistake not to make use of his unique skills and experience at this most critical time in history, a time when our president and his administration should be calling on all the nation's vast human and physical resources, regardless of political affiliation.
Carl Mattioli
Newtonville, Mass.

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