Considering a Middle East nuclear-free zone

Regarding the Dec. 29 article "Syria pushes WMD-free Mideast": That Arab nations would sooner or later undertake a campaign at the United Nations to pressure Israel into giving up its arsenal of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction is no surprise to anyone with even limited acquaintances with Middle Eastern realities.

And Syria seems to have exactly that in mind in its proposal for implementation of a UN resolution to ban such weapons from the region. The curious thing is why some other Arab or Muslim government has not pushed this issue sooner.

That neither Israel nor its Arab neighbors should have such weapons is something that most of the rest of the world would agree on. Whether this issue will finally get an open, free, and honest examination remains to be seen. Such a debate is long overdue.
Landrum Bolling

Nothing 'conflicting' in signs' messages

Regarding the Dec. 26 article "President reaps a year-end rebound": The caption next to the photograph accompanying the article mentions "conflicting signs" belonging to protesters, yet I could see no conflict in the messages visible. "No More War" and "I [heart] US Troops" are two equally important sentiments among those of us who believe that the war in Iraq was started under false pretenses and has continued in a foolhardy way.

Our troops deserve all the support and praise we can give them for risking their lives to do what this country asks of them, and I can see no better way to show our love than to keep them out of harm's way, especially when they face these risks unnecessarily.
Noah Scalin
Richmond, Va.
Richmond Peace Education Center

Military muscle helped sway Libya

Regarding Daniel Schorr's Dec. 26 opinion column "How Libya saw the light": There is no doubt that Col. Muammar Qaddafi's turnabout in military policy is a complicated story. Mr. Schorr's commentary, however, seemingly dismisses the impact of thousands of American troops on the ground in the Middle East. His is one of the chorus of liberal voices celebrating diplomacy as the primary, if not the sole, cause of Mr. Qaddafi's change of heart.

Intellectual integrity calls for a much more profound recognition of the role of strength and threat of force.

Let's give credit to President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the group of willing nations for the blend of diplomacy and strength that is leading to a new reality in the Middle East.
Carl Schnakenberg

Rewarding former volunteers

Regarding the Dec. 23 article "Flame of altruism burns, even in US": Corporate America also has a bargain in the returned Peace Corps volunteer. Consider that these men and women come back home with solid project-development experience, proven cross-cultural diplomatic skills, and fluency in foreign languages.

Imagine the positive impact these dedicated pros can have upon the economy helping to grow business.

The smartest thing we can do for these volunteers is help them with postgraduate study and with finding meaningful, rewarding careers. Encouraging more scholarships and fellowship programs is a step in the right direction and a small recognition for a job well done.
J.W. Seymour

Correction: The Dec. 29 letter "Returning to a simpler path" intended to refer to the student character played by Julia Stiles in the film "Mona Lisa Smile," not the professor played by Julia Roberts.

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