Why must UN endorse the Iraqi council?

Regarding your July 22 editorial "Bush returns to the UN": This Iraq adventure is among the most devastating blunders in the history of US foreign policy. You blithely call for UN sanction of a US-backed Iraqi council that cannot be more than a rubber stamp for President Bush's failure. Any challenge it raises will be vetoed, and, if necessary, the council will be disbanded. Why is this exercise in puppetry worthy of UN sanction?

Bush has gone to the UN because even he knows that our occupation of Iraq will shortly deliver a devastating blow to the US economy in the form of massive deficits we cannot afford. In addition, our military grows increasingly restive in the deadly guerrilla war that debilitates its morale. Why should the UN feel any obligation to make the man who disdained it look better in the eyes of the world and his core constituency?
Don Jacobs
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Call for bipartisan support

Regarding Daniel Schorr's July 18 Opinion column "Buckpassing the 16 words": President Bush may have relied on questionable intelligence for some of the details of his case for war in Iraq - this remains to be seen - but this does not mean that his action was unjustified. No leader should be judged on lapses such as the president's 16 words concerning African sources for uranium. In the face of those who sought to appease Saddam Hussein, he stood courageously and led our coalition to a decisive victory. He has set in place the foundation for a democratic regime to take the place of the world's most brutal dictator.

At this moment, when national unity is so important to our survival, the president's political opponents are attempting to divide the country for their own cynical ends. Politicians of both parties need to stand behind the administration's war on terror.
Jeffrey Folks
Knoxville, Tenn.

US priority: Hit the books

The first step Saudi Arabia can take to foster tolerance within its own society is to revise immediately its education system ("Islam's internal struggle," editorial, July 15). A recent study of Saudi textbooks used in Grades 1 through 10, cosponsored by the American Jewish Committee, reveals that the demonizing of Christians, Jews, and the West is pervasive.

Even grammar and math books are full of phrases exalting war, jihad, and martyrdom. Saudi youth are educated to reject all notions of Western democracy. Saudis are instructed that the West is a "decaying society" on its way to extinction. Given the breadth and depth of US-Saudi ties, Washington should take the lead in pressing for education reform. Thus far, though, our government has seemingly downplayed this issue on the bilateral agenda. Meanwhile, resolutions calling for Saudi education reform have been introduced in the US Senate and House. Members of Congress are recognizing that education is at the root of the long-dormant problems in the US-Saudi partnership.
David A. Harris
New York
American Jewish Committee

Depressing dress code

Regarding your July 21 article "Image quest: One woman's bid to eradicate 'Level 1' garb at work": Yet another person wants individuals to spend money on unnecessary clothing. Productivity does not go up because people are dressed nicely. That is nonsense. The problem I see is that people don't know how to dress neatly. Showing one's underwear is not dressing neatly. But requiring a suit makes many folks of my generation depressed, because the only time we see people wearing navy and black suits is at a funeral.
Melissa Owsley
Waterford, Mich.

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