Should women stand on the front lines?

Regarding your April 3 article "The expanding role of GI Jane": Lt. Sarah Fritts says that public aversion to putting women in harm's way shouldn't be allowed to stand in the way of women being put in combat. But public aversion to putting women in harm's way is the only thing that stands between civilization and the barbarism we oppose in Iraq.

As a mother, I am angry that feminists have destroyed the respect and protections women once enjoyed and I tremble for my daughter's future.

The sorry sight of soldier mothers leaving their crying children to fight Saddam Hussein is a sad commentary on how little value is placed on mothers raising the next generation and on traditional womanhood in general.
Ingrid Schlueter
Wauwatosa, Wis.

Women should certainly have the opportunity to contribute to all aspects of what it takes to retain their liberty and ours, but no one should be endangered as a consequence.

All soldiers, before being allowed into combat, should be required to demonstrate the physical ability to carry as much as any one of their comrades while fully dressed for combat for the length of a hypothetical battlefield.

Gender ought not have a thing to do with the matter.
Bradley Dean
West Peterborough, N.H.

Where welfare reform is headed

Regarding "Welfare that works": Your March 28 editorial on welfare reform concluded by stating, "This second round of welfare reform needs smarter policies, not more money."

The Bush administration couldn't agree more. Indeed, given the nearly 60 percent reduction in welfare caseloads since the advent of welfare reform in 1996, there is more than double the amount of money available per welfare recipient today than there was in 1996.

It is incorrect, however, to state that the legislation passed by the House, closely modeled after the proposal put forth by President Bush, restricts state flexibility. In many ways it expands state flexibility.

For example, under this legislation, states could count up to three months in substance-abuse treatment within any two-year period as "work." Under current law, no time spent in substance-abuse treatment can count as work.

It is also incorrect to assert that "the bill ... would end the option of counting time spent in job training as work." The House-passed bill allows recipients to count participation in job training as work for up to four months. Thereafter recipients could engage in up to 16 hours of job training per week, so long as they also satisfy the core work requirement.

Welfare reform has helped millions of Americans escape welfare. It is now time to help them escape poverty as well. That is what the president's proposal and this legislation aim to accomplish.
Wade Horn
Assistant Secretary

Administration for Children and Families
Department of Health and Human Services

Can the growing army of homeless families with young children call the 1996 "welfare reform" a success? Welfare reform has saved money. Has it saved children's lives and futures?

Affordable adequate child care is the issue for any working parent. It doesn't exist. And child-care workers earn the very lowest wages. I am one of the naysayers who think that the welfare reform act of 1996 was a disaster.
Joanna Taylor
Buffalo, Wyo.

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