Are both soldiers and protesters patriots?

Regarding your March 19 editorial "Conscience in time of war": The Monitor writes "... in wartime, dissent is needed to make sure the government is still asking the right questions, especially in plans for war's aftermath." This is indeed a good point, especially when one considers how little dissent is tolerated in Iraq and North Korea. But it behooves us to consider that if the antiwar movement can take credit for giving Saddam Hussein more time to disarm, it also gave him time to prepare. I wonder how the men and women of our military, some of whom will not return from Iraq, would greet the conclusion: "Both US soldiers and war protesters are performing a public service. And both are patriots."
Geraldine Hawkins

Death of diplomacy

Regarding your March 18 article "War hangs heavy over the world": Diplomacy didn't die; it simply wasn't resuscitated after the last war. Diplomacy once meant reaching agreement among nations to establish peace. Now it has become looking for allies in order to make war.
Laurence Thomas
Ypsilanti, Mich.

In war, all sides lose

Sports fans are anticipating the World Series of Global Power: The Bush vs. Hussein spectacle. House odds are on Bush for the battle, but in this war, even the winner will be a loser. If thousands of Iraqi civilians die in this war as they did in 1991, blood will be on our hands - even if oil flows freely from the newly liberated oil fields of Iraq. I, for one, will not be rooting for the home team. Because I love my country, I cannot rejoice in its folly. My family and I will be using our energies to talk to family and friends to do all that we can to rein in the war machine and bring the troops home so that they, too, can be with their families and loved ones.
Richard Girling
San Francisco

Working class hardest hit by gas prices

In response to your March 13 article "In California, $2.20 gas crimps car culture": I take offense at the tone of your article. Yes, we drive a lot. Yes, we drive big cars. And yes, we are spoiled by good weather. But there is another California that goes completely unmentioned in your article: the working-class people of color that are hit the hardest by the high gas prices. In Los Angeles, the options for public transportation are slim. Our freeways are crowded and our work schedules seldom allow us to carpool. Yet we have a Metro system that takes tourists to popular vacation spots in Hollywood in less than 15 minutes. I would expect more than the stereotypical portrayal of Californians you chose for this article.
Vivian Anderson
Los Angeles

Screenwriting software's strengths

In response to your March 14 article "And best screenplay by a computer goes to...": As an Academy Award-winning software developer and cocreator of Dramatica Pro, I found that while the intent of the article may have been fun and entertainment, it makes several factual mistakes and seems more focused on promoting wit than seriously evaluating a useful and popular tool.

The reporter expected this software to write a screenplay for her. It doesn't, nor does it claim to. What it does do is focus on meaning and subtext. In an attempt to be an entertaining piece, the article made the same mistake as Hollywood's worst movies: style over substance. The reporter's lampoon of a program she did not understand may make for amusing copy, but combining that with a product review based on preconception rather than accurate appraisal is a disservice to your readership.
Stephen Greenfield
Glendale, Calif.

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