Focusing the embryo debate

Regarding "Tough task: advancing the debate over cloning embryos" (Ideas, July 18): Advocates for a moratorium on nonreproductive research uses of therapeutic cloning call for federal regulation, but appear to be ignorant of the extensive regulation already applied by the Food and Drug Administration. The bureau requires that this form of stem-cell research proceed only after disinterested review by an institutional review board to ensure the safety of egg donors and the proper management of the embryo.

National debate on whether to regulate reproductive technologies may be welcome, but it is a separate debate that ought not impede potentially life-saving stem-cell research. An indefinite moratorium on research pending the outcome of debates on such distantly related topics as the use of in vitro fertilization for infertility relief is merely another way to enact a research ban.
R. Alta Charo
Madison, Wis.
Professor of law and bioethics University of Wisconsin

'Sorry' not good enough

Your editorial " 'Sorry' as a Starting Point" (July 18) contains a misstatement of fact in saying that the IRA has apologized "for its killing of civilians over the past 30 years." The apology quite specifically applied only to "noncombatants." Over the past 30 years, the IRA has consistently designated civilians working for the British government as "legitimate targets" and murdered many hundreds of them. Among many heinous examples of this practice was the shooting in 1981 of Joanne Mathers of Londonderry simply for being a part-time collector of census forms.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to whom you also refer, similarly regard all Israeli citizens – or at least the Jewish majority thereof – as "legitimate targets" on the grounds that they support the Jewish state by their very existence.

My reading of the IRA statement was simply that it regrets that warfare inevitably produces civilian casualties, a view, of course, heard daily from our own Pentagon pressroom.
Gary Brown Dallas

Israel not the only 'racist' nation

In your editorial "Is Israel only a Jewish state?" (July 16), I find it curious that you do not mention the fact that many Arab countries are explicitly defined as Muslim.

Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and others are not just Muslim; their criminal justice systems are based on the system of Sharia, which mandates the barbaric penalties of stoning adulterers and amputating the hands of thieves.

Not only are Jews not permitted to buy land in Saudi Arabia (or any other Arab country), but Jews are not even permitted to set foot in the country, lest they "defile" its "sacred soil." Thus, I find it interesting that Israel is attacked as "racist" for its desire to be a Jewish state, while Muslim countries are not held to the same standard.
Amy Mack
Bronx, N.Y.

Author, author!

Why is it that movie critics neglect to give credit to the authors of novels on which movies are based? A case in point is your review of "Mr. Deeds" (June 28), a new version of "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" by Clarence Buddington Kelland (1881-1964).

Your critique only compares the new version with the earlier one directed by Frank Capra. The author's name, or mention of the book on which these movies and interpretations are based, is not included. Let's give credit where credit is due.
Nancy Elsner
San Francisco

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