In Iraq, tough shift in rules of engagement

Regarding your Aug. 5 article "Portrait of a US combat casualty": I am a staff sergeant with the 3rd Infantry Division, recently back home from Iraq. Although we did not lose anyone from my company, I did lose some friends within the brigade during the war.

It's articles like this that let Americans know what we go through daily. More than half my division is still there, and so is the 101st Airborne. We fought the war, and now we are expected to do peacekeeping as well. It's much harder now. The enemy is invisible and within the civilian population. The rules of engagement have changed, making life more dangerous for us. I should be happy to be back to the safety of my home, but I often find myself sad and feeling out of place, knowing that so many are still in harm's way. I pray for their safe and quick return home so they, too, can be reunited with their loved ones and take pleasure in everyday things that so many take for granted.
Felipe C. Chuab
Columbus, Ga.

Islam and women

Regarding the Aug. 4 Opinion "Tailor Muslim practices to fit life in America": The problem I see with Ahmed Nassef's account of Omid Safi's negative experience (women having to use the entrance near the trash bin) is that it confuses two separate issues and attempts to find a solution that throws the baby out with the bath water. The segregation of genders is intended to maintain an atmosphere of propriety and reduce the problems that arise from free mixing and open display of physical charms.

These norms were prescribed by the Koran and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace), and their underlying wisdom does not change with time. The fact that in certain cultures women have been treated poorly is due to the ills of the culture itself and its failure to assimilate a proper understanding of Islam's enlightened teachings into its worldview.

The solution to this is not to jettison the prescribed norms of Islam, but to understand them correctly. The role of women in Islam is very crucial and their stature very lofty. Adherence to the prescribed norms of Islam ensures this is safeguarded.
Jaafar Husain
Corona, Calif.

US economy must cooperate with Asia

Regarding your Aug. 5 article "Booming China trade rankles US": The situation we are facing with China will be repeated with India and other countries in the next few years. The US will soon no longer be the dominant economic power. We must learn how to work cooperatively with other nations, with mutually advantageous arrangements that balance the interests of both sides.

Such negotiations have been at the heart of our foreign policy with the European Union for some time. We must now extend the process to Asia. There is no other reasonable alternative.
Don Jacobs
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Politically correct? No. Great? Yes.

Regarding Godfrey Sperling's Aug. 5 Opinion "Truman's public deeds vs. his private diary": Why must we feel obligated to apply the lens of political correctness to history? Harry Truman's comments are hardly out of context for trying social times.

Rather than sully his reputation, perhaps we should further appreciate a man who, even if he carried deep prejudices, did what he felt was right in recognizing Israel and integrating our military. Truman should get more consideration as one of our great leaders - as a man who did not fold under the burden of some of the most momentous decisions of the past century.
Jeremiah Sauter
Fort Collins, Colo.

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