Client-lawyer privilege goes too far

Regarding your Dec. 26 article "Whistle-blowers tapped to clean up corporate crimes": Consider this parallel: There is patient-doctor privilege, but doctors still must report gunshot wounds. Or, if a patient has a medical condition considered dangerous to public health, it must be reported.

By the same token, lawyers should be required to report - in thoughtful steps as proposed by the Justice Department - corporate and business activities that pose substantial harm to the community. Think about the harm companies like Enron brought to the investment community, the worker community, and to the consumer community.

Why should lawyers be allowed (and even encouraged) to aid and abet potential crimes and potential criminals?
James Lambert
Chino Hills, Calif.

In response to "Whistle-blowers tapped to clean up corporate crimes": This is more legislation the Bush administration has passed to cover traces of its involvement in the corporate fallout of the past year.

It's against the law to break the law. Do you get tried twice? The cases are tried and judged in an attorney's office before they take the case. Isn't that the same as "guilty until proven innocent"?
Bob Reeder
Kansas City, Mo.

A warm welcome for Al Jazeera

In response to John Hughes's Dec. 18 Opinion column "War within a war: the press and the Pentagon": US journalism often provides incomplete and biased coverage of the Middle East. I welcome Al Jazeera, and am grateful for international newspapers that provide many perspectives and comprehensive coverage. More people could be better educated about the Middle East by Al Jazeera.

If people in the Middle East are seen as real people with families and lives and not as mere cutouts bearing biased labels, perhaps wars or embargoes that ban medicine and water-treatment equipment would be considered the wrong responses.
Carol Powers
Washington, Conn.

Dissecting the genetically modified

Regarding the Dec. 20 Opinion piece "Let's not escalate the 'Frankenfood' war": There are many more facets of the problem than those Julia Moore and Gilbert Winham touched on. Just because the Federal Drug Administration approves a product does not make it healthy to consume. The American public is uninformed about the issues surrounding genetically modified (GM) foods - newspapers do not take into consideration the informed European point of view.

The purpose of Monsanto Corp. is to flood the markets with GM food for monetary gain - not to introduce crops engineered to grow in difficult climates and soils. We need more articles that clearly state both sides.
Patricia Darmon
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Students must think for themselves

American college students should take a lesson from Hashem Aghajari, a history teacher recently sentenced to death in Iran for "blasphemy." Mr. Aghajari's "offense" was telling his students that, "In all matters ... your reason is a better tool of discernment than all the sayings of prophets and clerics." He was condemned for advocating individual thought, as opposed to blindly accepting the thinking - or nonthinking - of others.

If America's students, especially in the humanities, would realize that their "reason is a better tool of discernment than all the sayings" of their politically correct professors, they might discover that most of their teachers are no better thinkers than the mullahs.
David Holcberg
Irvine, Calif.
Senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute

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