Citizens need to be responsible for peace

In response to the Dec. 27 Opinion piece "If you want peace, work for peace": Larry Seaquist's description of the need to work for peace is full of intelligent and noble observations that seem shared by a majority of Americans. And yet, that is precisely the problem he fails to address: Most Americans are either unable or unwilling to admit that they've lost control of their own government.

Distracted by chronically frenetic work lives, mindless leisure, corporate-financed elections, and a sycophantic news media, it now only takes a few war-mongering national leaders to manufacture the appearance of consensus, and send the citizen herd stampeding in the wrong direction.

Mr. Seaquist should understand that meaningful debate, and even meaningful dissent, over questions of war and peace is only possible in a republic governed by functioning democratic principles and reasonably informed citizens.

Until average Americans regain some measure of consciousness about - and political voice in - their government, ignorant and swaggering officials can and will make war, and neither Seaquist nor the silent majority will be able to do much about it.
James Azzara
Missoula, Mont.

Regarding "If you want peace, work for peace": What an inspiring and exciting piece for peace. This simple altruism from a man who, as a former Navy warship captain and Pentagon strategist, is well qualified to speak from "the other side."

I would like to hear more about peace-building campaigns and how to become involved in my own community.
Liz Derby
Branson, Mo.

Immigration policy suffers from neglect

Regarding your Dec. 20 article "Deepest state deficits in 50 years": After years of neglecting to enforce US immigration laws along places like the ill-guarded border between the US and Mexico, 11 million undocumented immigrants have entered this country - roughly twice as many as we had 10 years ago.

Although they arguably provide "cheap labor" for the American economy, their below-average earning and tax-paying potential, coupled with their above-average fertility rates and dependence on public assistance, must have had a devastating effect on states' abilities to balance their budgets.

If only 20 percent of these illegals had a child in a public school, the resulting net price tag for the states would exceed $10 billion annually, and that amount doesn't include the cost of additional infrastructure (housing, highways, public transportation) and subsidized health and prenatal care illegals consume.

US political leaders want Americans to believe that doubling the population of poor every decade will enable the US to solve its fiscal problems.
Marek A. Suchenek
Yorba Linda, Calif.

Jupiter's many moons

Regarding your Dec. 24 editorial "Galileo's Gift": You state that Galileo will crash "into the very planet which [Galileo Galelei] discovered with a crude, homemade telescope in 1610."

Galileo did not discover Jupiter. Jupiter is easily observed with the naked eye. People just don't bother to look much anymore. (Consider city lights, Wal-marts, HBO, instant messaging, etc.)

Galileo discovered four of Jupiter's moons, and astronomers have continued his search to the present day. This year, 11 more Jupiter moons were seen, bringing the total thus far to 39.
James H. Andrews
Youngstown, Ohio
Dept. of Physics & Astronomy

Youngstown State University

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