In search of an antiwar candidate

In response to your Dec. 19 article "Democrats seek profile for wartime": President Bush's national security strategy has already led to serious failures. Widespread international sympathy for the US has evaporated within a year of the Sept. 11 attacks. Intensifying the war against Iraq is intensifying the terrorist response. And looming world crises of population, food, water, energy, climate change, and ecological disruption receive token attention.

Our global future looks increasingly grim, yet no Democratic presidential hopeful has had the courage to champion a better way. The party has left the door wide open to a third party challenge, or to droves of "none of the above" voters.

Widespread sympathy in the Arab world for Osama bin Laden rests largely on three points that Bush is failing to address: The devastating effects of US-led economic sanctions on the people of Iraq; the US-enabled escalation of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; and US economic and military backing of autocratic regimes like those of Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

I want a presidential candidate who is a champion of peace and democracy, not war and empire; of sustainable development, not oil subsidies; of fair trade, not beggar-thy-neighbor trade; of global financing for public gain, not corporate profit.
Dick Burkhart

Everyone plays a role in toxic legacy

Regarding your Dec. 20 article "A 'silver bullet's' toxic legacy": Thank you for a poignant piece about the legacy of Desert Storm that will continue to poison Iraqi people for years. It should be required reading for every single US citizen before sanctioning the government's rush to war.

In spite of recent curtailment of individual freedoms, "we the people" are still the government. This is a tragic stain on all of us and we all share the responsibility. Thank you for your coverage. As a subscriber for the better part of 40 years, I rely on the Monitor's reporting to further my understanding of this increasingly troubled world.
Barbara J. Scot
Portland, Ore.

Weighing in on the color line

In response to the Dec. 9 Opinion piece "Looking beyond the color line," in which Earl Hutchinson discusses the letter I wrote about the poor behavior of black students: After recounting the statistics I referred to, Mr. Hutchinson asks: "Why do so many think so poorly of black students?"

I most emphatically do not think poorly of black students. The behavior of a significant chunk of them is what I correlated with low scores. That doesn't mean I don't like them or don't want them to succeed.

One or two black parents have said that their kids think that I don't like them because I have scolded them about their behavior. I keep having to explain that I like the kids, it's just that their behavior doesn't produce success in my classroom.

Also, I always reiterate that the kids are very capable. Both of these parents have, as single mothers, clearly babied their sons. There is a general nonsense that one hears from black kids about being a "hater" if you call someone on his/her behavior.

Hutchinson goes on to say: "But the racial prejudices and personal discomforts of many administrators are probably one reason many more blacks are suspended than white kids who may exhibit the same bad behavior as blacks."

Hogwash. The kids aren't exhibiting the same bad behavior as white kids. The behaviors are radically different, and many administrators in these urban districts are black, so his thesis is flawed.
Scott Phelps
Pasadena, Calif.Science teacher, John Muir High School

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