No link between Middle East conflicts

Regarding your May 2 editorial "The US-Israeli Parallax": If I fail to look straight at the thermometer, parallax is the reason I get the wrong reading. Looking straight at the territorial occupations by Israel and the US, I must squint to foresee - absent a miracle - the happy intersection of parallel universes visualized in your editorial. US and Israeli motives for occupation are entirely different. No matter how benevolent the US is toward Iraqis, Israel need not imitatively start being benevolent to Palestinians. The territorialism of Zionism is incompatible with 21st-century standards of human rights and international justice. Modernization is needed. If Zionism conscientiously adapts itself to current realities, then the Israeli exit from the occupied territories can be as noble as the US exit from Iraq. If this intersection of parallel universes does not occur spontaneously, the US should use force to ensure it.
Robert McGill
Lake Charles, La.

To call the falling apart of the Oslo agreements the fault of leaders from both sides ignores reality. In fact, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak bent over backward and offered Yasser Arafat the pot of gold. Mr. Arafat turned to violence, thinking that he could gain greater results that way.
Amir Stamper
Plantation, Fla.

Patriot Act's hubris

Regarding Amitai Etzioni's May 2 opinion piece "Patriot Act is needed, but so are revisions": I do not trust the powers granted to the Department of Justice under this act. I do not feel safer, nor am I comforted by the information dragnet played out in various cities. Is the FBI so infallible that we should cloak this institution in so much power?
Kathy Smith
San Diego, Calif

Preserving rural America

Regarding the April 28 article, "Suburbia's tide threatens identity of rural America": While homogenization is certainly a threat to small towns, more needs to be said for these communities than recognizing local produce and busy-bodies meeting over flapjacks. Rural life is more than an agricultural past and a factory at the center of town. For Americans to be convinced of this, and for cultural preservation, regional identities need to be elaborated upon more fully.
Eric Robinson
New York

PBS news magazine: a fresh approach

Regarding the May 2 article "'Mr. Rogers' of news gets edgy": I like spinach. Maybe that's why I didn't have to work at developing my taste and appreciation for "Now With Bill Moyers." At the end of every "Now" program, I feel my civic conscience has been enlightened and enriched, girding me to play my role as citizen more responsibly. Far from giving Mr. Moyers a publicly financed megaphone for his political leanings, I see "Now" as an example of the depth, thoughtfulness, and balance that should characterize all such television shows. Moyers is quoted as saying he's "trying to get the truth behind the news." It's that truth which honest people intuitively seek, whatever their political persuasion, not the packaging or bombast seen on other news shows. That's not to say the truth can't surface in those areas. "Now's" format just allows the truth more oxygen.
Alan Willis
Portland, Ore.

You insult the memory of a great and wonderful man, Mr. Rogers, by comparing him to Bill Moyers.
J. B. Marlow
Lewisburg, Tenn.

Correction: The May 6 editorial "Clean Politics in 1,600 Pages" on campaign finance incorrectly stated the year of the last presidential election. It was in 2000.

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