Reviving the Army takes draft, dedicated citizens

Your Jan. 14 editorial "An Army Stretched Thin" opines that we should not even consider a resumption of the draft to fill depleted ranks. I disagree and strongly believe we should draft in wartime, which is apparently what we are in. In a democracy, when elected leaders choose to engage in war, all citizens of military age should recognize that they may be required to serve.

It is not right that only a few should bear the often painful brunt of defending a free society in battle. And, secondly, it is too easy for politicians and a somewhat apathetic citizenry to commit an all-volunteer force to war while they and their sons and daughters are immune from any such danger.

Everyone should have a stake in the ongoing action when a democracy goes through the process of deciding that waging war is the best option.
Bob Gregson
Vashon Island, Wash.

The impression you give of the National Guard, in which I serve, is a mischaracterization, and lacks understanding of the soldiers who fill our ranks. Citizens like us have been answering the call to serve since Colonial times. We are at war and we train for that eventuality. That is why the National Guard exists.

Through all our tears, our separation, and our sacrifice we hope that the difference we make will make the world and our communities better places.
Steve Gaffke

Accreditation shouldn't hurt students

Regarding your Jan. 13 article "Making the grade keeps getting harder": The article suggests that students who come from schools that have lost accreditation may not be eligible for admission to elite universities. The loss of accreditation is a dramatic signal to a community's residents that they are not providing the community's children with adequate resources. But most, although perhaps not all, universities should realize that rejecting someone because of the dereliction of their community is unfair.
Herbert M. Yood
Sebastian, Fla.

Assyrians and Yezidi part of mix

Regarding the Jan. 9 article "Kurds' struggle intensifies ethnic conflict in Kirkuk": The article fails to instruct readers of the truly complex mix of northern Iraq's ethnic groups and current tensions, which also involves Assyrians and Yezidis. The subject is of great interest to me and to other Assyrians from northern Iraq. I am amazed that no mention of this historic and well-represented group appears in the article, since Assyrians are a notable Christian presence in the region, and thus often shunned and persecuted. Assyrian and Yezidi populations represent the indigenous people of the area, and existed long before Kurdish and Arabic invasions. Now Assyrians are represented by six members of the Kirkuk Council and one Governing Coalition Council member.
James Rayis
The writer is an international legal counsel to the Assyrian Universal Alliance.

NGOs watchdog should be independent

Regarding your Jan. 13 editorial "Holding NGOs to Account": The Monitor is right to insist that the best nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) hold themselves to high standards and are willing to be open and held to account. Independent corroboration of the work of NGOs can lend authenticity to their efforts in contributing to sustainable development internationally and to a vibrant civic culture at home.

However, the efforts undertaken by right-wing organizations such as the Federalist Society and American Enterprise Institute to stigmatize the efforts of NGOs that do not fall into their ideological camp are anything but praiseworthy and neutral.
Lee Cokorinos
Montclair, N.J.

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