Expanding military means bringing back the draft

In response to your Sept. 23 article "Military needs: quick forces, broad reach," while making the US military swifter and more technologically advanced will convey an advantage over potential adversaries, no one has approached the topic of the people needed to field all these new gizmos.

The military already is being stretched to its limit. How many more active duty soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines are needed to implement such an ambitious globally oriented preemptive doctrine?

With growing numbers of deployments for indeterminable amounts of time, we are slowly committing ourselves to maintaining a substantial presence in all corners of the world. Our ability to respond to sudden crises is being steadily eroded.

Just because a mission falls off the front pages does not mean it has gone away for the US military.
Allen Edwards
Falls Church, Va.

Regarding "Military needs: quick forces, broad reach": This is an important topic for any family in the US who has draft-eligible youth. How many parents – knowing full well that many Vietnam and Gulf War veterans are both homeless and jobless, and still hurting from that war – could send their young ones to fight another arranged war?
Maryam Fritsch-Mason
Wallingford, Conn.

Who shouldn't pay CEO's retirement

Regarding Edwin A. Locke's Sept. 23 Opinion piece, "Jack Welch earned his perks": I do not dispute the possibility that Mr. Welch may well have been worth to GE's shareholders in the 1990s every penny that he was able to negotiate for himself, but I take issue with the idea that someone who bought GE stock after Welch retired – whether directly, as part of an index fund, or as part of the holdings of a corporate pension plan – should be obligated to pay for growth that occurred during preceding years.

If the 1996 shareholders, through their duly elected board of directors and the board's compensation committee, actually thought his contributions worthy of that kind of compensation, they should have arranged to pay it out of current earnings, not leave it to future shareholders to pay the bills for benefits they received. Socking the bill to future shareholders is dishonest.
Wyn Achenbaum
Stamford, Conn.

Preemptive action is risky

Your Sept. 23 editorial, "Punch first as a last resort," displays a misguided understanding of the danger we are facing and how to deal with it. No preemption in the world, in the traditional sense and in the way the administration is using the term, would have prevented the events of Sept. 11.

Only complete knowledge and intelligence, and the effective use of widespread clandestine special units, like those used by the CIA, could have possibly averted the tragedy of that date.

Let us concentrate on improving our intelligence-gathering and even allow for small, surgical covert actions where all diplomacy has failed and national and world security are at risk. The dangerous talk of large-scale preemptive actions against other nations, like the one we are about to see in Iraq, should be pursued with caution.
Carl Mattioli
Newtonville, Mass.

Pinpointing the enemy

While reading the Sept. 23 article "A Bush vision of Pax Americana," all I could think of was Walt Kelly's insight offered in his classic comic strip: "We have seen the enemy and it is us!" How can we Americans endorse international policies which would be illegal, and intolerable, domestically? This of course raises the question: Do we condone the use of force to dominate the rest of the world?
Gerald Quigley
Orleans, Mass.

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