Forest fires: Environmentalists respond

"Little Fires to End Big Fires" (June 26, Editorial) states, "The US Forest Service says its steps to make Western timberland less flammable are often blocked by lawsuits from environmental groups." The truth is that of the 1,671 fuel-reduction projects on national forest lands during fiscal year 2001, not one was litigated.

Unfortunately, the Forest Service has misappropriated or misused National Fire Plan (NFP) funds to promote commercial logging, not to protect communities. For example, 83 percent of all projects funded by the NFP in the Sierra Nevada are actually logging sales. This, despite the fact that the NFP warns that "the removal of large, merchantable trees from forests does not reduce fire risk and may, in fact, increase such risk." Given the fact that President Bush received millions of dollars from the timber industry during the 2000 campaign, perhaps it's not surprising that the Forest Service is lying to the American people in order to increase logging.
Matthew Koehler
Missoula, Mont.Native Forest Network

We will have to do a lot more to prevent forest fires than just altering the extant fire suppression policies discussed in your editorial. Fires are a natural danger. People and insurance companies should realize the risks they undertake in constructing human habitation in or near large forests.
Michael Pravica
Las Vegas

Setting the record straight

Regarding "Afghan Intrigue: the Case of the Sidelined King," (June 12): Your article completely misquoted me.

It claimed I said the Afghan loya jirga was a watershed in that "the danger for the US is that the Afghans will begin to see US political interests in everything that is being done. This in turn could jeopardize the US military presence here...." What, in fact, I did say was that in my opinion the United States was crossing a watershed between the war on terror in Afghanistan (which has arguably been won) and a slide into the quicksand of Afghanistan's ethnic politics. A rather different proposition.

Later in the article, I'm misquoted again as stating, "that if Pushtun demands for power-sharing are not met there could be military conflict across the country after the loya jirga." While Pushtun unhappiness with the results of the loya jirga may translate into some support for Taliban remnants in the south, the proposition that there could be "military conflict across the country" is frankly ludicrous. Having this sort of nonsense attributed to me and the Jane's Information Group is completely unacceptable.
Anthony Davis
Kabul, AfghanistanCorrespondent, Jane's Defence Weekly, Jane's Intelligence Review

Equal opportunity, not participation

Regarding "Girls need not apply" (June 24, Opinion): Robin Gerber gets confused between equal opportunity and equal success, and assumes that unless every group is represented in every area of activity in exact proportion to its percentage of the population, this is proof of discrimination which requires government action.

Title IX was passed to guarantee equal opportunity for boys and girls in US schools. Its original regulations required "equal athletic opportunities" tailored to both sexes' "interests and abilities." It did not mandate equal participation. Men's sports have been devastated. According to the General Accounting Office, since the passage of Title IX, more than 170 wrestling programs, 80 men's tennis teams, 70 men's gymnastic teams, and 45 men's track teams have been shut down. In May 2001, Bucknell dropped wrestling because 48.7 percent of its students were female but only 41.9 of its athletes were.
Daniel John Sobieski

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