Regarding "Homeland security as sport" (May 2, Editorial): You imply Congress should largely leave security issues to intelligence agencies and the president. But if it's inappropriate for Congress to question the White House over proposed policies and budgets, what is its purpose?
True, I don't want to hear about "squabbling over which buildings' air vents should be made more secure," but I do expect my elected officials to be examining critically every budget they're asked to pass. It's their job. And I want my president to have all the tools he needs to do "his" job, as well.
I don't think this means free rein to continue spending the country into deficit. It does mean being honest about getting enough money to do the job right, the first time. I'm willing to pay for my security and give President Bush all the backing he needs to fight terrorism. But neither I, nor the officials I helped elect, should be closing our minds on the current issues.
Wayne C. Saewyc
Red Wing, Minn.
Regarding "Put a cork on Iran's weapons program" (May 9, Opinion): In reference to your article on Russia's support of Iran's effort to acquire weapons of mass destruction, let me remind you that Iran's neighbor is Iraq and that during the eight years of war between these two countries, Iran has had to rely on its own weapons. Would the US help Iran if it was attacked by Iraq again? The US continues to worry about the possible threat of Saddam Hussein. Why should Iran's need to protect itself against other countries be viewed any differently from that of the US? Does Iran not have the same right as the US to develop its own defensive weapons?
Regarding "For more balance on campus" (May 6, Opinion) and the letters run on this topic (Readers Write, May 8): There's a straightforward explanation for the unbalanced liberal/conservative professor ratio on university campuses.
Social science and humanities professors generally seek to help students understand the world and improve it. They likely scrimped by for the years needed to earn a PhD and the privilege to teach ancient history, English literature, or American government. For such faculty, monetary pay is a secondary consideration, and these professors naturally tend to identify with idealistic, people-oriented programs associated with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
People more interested in accumulating wealth from the world the way it is than in critiquing the world in order to change it will typically eschew teaching to pursue a more lucrative career. Their political perspectives are naturally most congruent with views of the conservative wing of the Republican Party. There's no conspiracy. It's merely a normal political division among individuals who choose occupations on the basis of their values.
Robert M. Lawrence
Fort Collins, Colo.
Regarding "Finding the path to a lasting relationship" (May 8): First marriages may become extinct if we follow the advice of all the experts in your article. You mention Neil Clark Warren's "29 dimensions" to a happy union. Who truly understands our own "29 dimensions" in our 20s and 30s the age when most of us are getting married? Most marry when we hardly know ourselves, let alone our spouses. An enduring marriage is not one in which both partners have everything figured out from the start, but one in which both partners give each other space to discover the vastness of these 29 "dimensions" throughout the marriage.
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