Prosperity and equality make America great

In response to your Dec. 23 editorial "GOP lessons, post Lott": I totally disagree with the assumption that the Republican Party must: eschew the Confederate flag as a vote-winning issue; halt stumping at Bob Jones University, which bars interracial dating; or oppose the segregationist Council of Conservative Citizens. The voters will decide what is unacceptable with their votes.

The only thing Republicans should do is to welcome all Americans to join in a color-blind party that judges people on the content of their character and ability, not the color of their skin. Republicans should eschew racism in all its forms, including affirmative action and the reverse racism it represents.

The Republican Party should, and does ,stand for smaller government, limited taxation, and states' rights. The government should foster a probusiness climate that assures prosperity for all Americans. These are what made America great, and it is in our best interest to remember them.

America freed its slaves; it did not revert to armed conquest. Color-blind equality will bind this country together, while favoritism on the basis of skin color or ethnic origin will balkanize and destroy this land of the free.
Ted McCarthy
Venice, Fla.

Sacking the quarterback

Regarding your Dec. 23 article "How US might counter 'scorched-earth' tactics": Daniel Smith makes quite a gamble saying, "Iraqis will collapse so fast that they will not have time to wreck their own country." As Dr. Thompson says in the article, the most effective method is to sack the quarterback.

However, if Saddam Hussein is removed from power, his two sons are just as capable of torturing and killing their own people and destroying their country. North Korea, currently provoking a US response with its nuclear reactivation, will unquestionably thin out America's resources.

If the action isn't quick, the American public just may call this another Vietnam War, which will be disastrous for both foreign and domestic policy.
James Simon
New York

A Christmas card to the world

In response to your Dec. 24 article "A subdued Christmas in Bethlehem": Thank you for sharing the thoughts and feelings of Christian schoolgirls in Bethlehem.

They are not forgotten, as the Monitor demonstrates. They and their families have occupied Bethlehem for more than 2,000 years. These essays are a Christmas card to the world; hope in despair, light in darkness, and love in the face of denial.
Karen James
Santa Fe, N.M.

Regarding "A subdued Christmas in Bethlehem": While it was interesting to read the stories written by Bethlehem schoolgirls, the article made it seem as if Israel is to blame for the difficult situation experienced by residents this Christmas.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The direct cause of the Israeli army's re-entering of Bethlehem last month is the Islamic Palestinian terrorists who use Bethlehem as their base from which to launch attacks and terrorize local Christians. The Christians' city is being taken over by the murderers of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Yasser Arafat's Fatah Tanzim. Do they fear retribution from the armed gangs who effectively control what goes on in the city?

Following Operation Defensive Shield in April, the Israeli Defense Forces left Bethlehem and tried to help the city get back to normal. Unfortunately, the terrorists returned, and so did the suicide attacks.

Israel is simply exercising its right to self-defense and, in doing so, is at the forefront of the global war on terrorism.
Joseph Alexander
Efrat, Israel

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