Saddam Hussein is fickle, but so is the US

Regarding your Oct. 1 article "Iraq's way: pledge and retreat": Yes, Saddam Hussein does change his mind, does weave and bob, but so does our current administration. How many different reasons have we heard in the past six months for invading Iraq?

Whenever one reason is shown to be based on insubstantial evidence, or Iraq agrees to change its policy, the administration doesn't say, "Good, now we'll move on to other issues that need resolving domestically or elsewhere." Instead they come up with another reason for unleashing our weapons of war. There is something deeply wrong here.
Nancy Lethcoe
Valdez, Alaska

Poverty beyond scope of statistics

In your Sept. 26 article "A long plunge in global poverty," statistics show that a greater percentage of people are living on more than a dollar a day than ever before. However, the problem with doling out praise based on statistics is the inherent way that statistics ignore humanness.

None of the surveys described seems to truly question the quality of life for these workers. The assumption is made that increased financial power can and does eradicate poverty. But is alleviation of poverty monetary success? Does money make a difference if you cannot access potable water? What if entering the job force results in abandoning agricultural self-sufficiency? The family earnings must then be divided not only between shelter, clothing, and medicine, but food as well.

Many factors, including working conditions, child labor, prostitution, and access to education are not taken into account in the numbers that claim a reduction in global poverty levels. Before jumping to conclusions, we must remember that the poor are people, not statistics.
Brittany Gill West
Bend, Wis.

West Coast lockout tests moral fiber

Regarding your Oct. 1 article "Labor's muscle on Pacific docks": This story leads to the implication that the current lockout is "not a strike" and to the curious logic that nonetheless, the "situation promises the same results, the union's sinew is tested amid a broader economy [clamoring] for a return to business as usual."

It is true that the union's sinew is tested but, in context, that statement tends to ignore the fact that this union's sinew is tested every minute of every workday. The current situation tests far more than muscle.

Standing by ready to work when your employer doesn't order labor does not test your muscle fiber, it tests your moral fiber and your motives. Witness the situation earlier this week at the Los Angeles cruise terminal, where longshoremen made arrangements to moor and work a cruise ship without being ordered for the job by their employers, whose inaction would have left the passengers of that vessel stranded in Mexico.
Richard Olson
Long Beach, Calif.

Make Jerusalem an open city

In response to your Oct. 2 article "Congress says it sees Jerusalem as Israel's capital": This attitude indicates that Congress and the administration are wholly short-sighted and completely removed from issues of peace or diplomatic credibility, and show no interest in working with the entire Middle East community.

Jerusalem should be an open city with no national ties. It is through nationalism that religion becomes hijacked for manipulative purposes, which routinely happens in both Israel and the Muslim nations.

An open Jerusalem would be a place for the three major monotheistic faith groups to meet and exchange views, and work together for understanding and harmony.
Rees Ryder Stevens
Auburn, Wash.

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