Spain's vote represents a world divided over war

Regarding your March 17 article "Do terrorists play election politics?": The assertion that Al Qaeda contributed to the fall of the Spanish government is ludicrous. I have repeatedly read and heard the assertion that Spanish voters have demonstrated that carefully timed terrorists attacks will change electoral outcomes. Terrorists will be no safer with the new government than with the old. The Spanish voters did not vote for Al Qaeda, nor did they vote against the "war on terror." Rather they very clearly (and democratically) demonstrated that the public will not tolerate a government which justifies its actions with lies and deceit. Despite popular opposition to the war in Iraq, which still has no clear links to Al Qaeda or terrorism for that matter, the Spanish government joined the Coalition of the Willing. But even now, there is no doubt that the new government will continue to fight terror, but the means of fighting this war will change. The world stands united in fighting terrorism, however we remain deeply divided by the methods.
Fabrice De Clerck
Davis, Calif.

If Spain and the rest of Europe believes it can shield itself from terrorist attacks by denouncing the US and Britain and siding with outspoken opponents of the war, it is sadly mistaken. Despite Spain's stated withdrawal from this war, neutrality provides no security. On Jan. 20, 1940, Winston Churchill described those nations still hoping to stay neutral and avoid becoming a target: "Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured. But I fear - I fear greatly - the storm will not pass. It will rage and it will roar, ever more loudly, ever more widely."
Daniel John Sobieski

Focus on attracting US students

Regarding Philip G. Altbach's March 16 Opinion piece "In race for international students, US erects hurdles and loses out": The larger crisis is that we are failing to attract US students to a graduate education. In many graduate engineering departments, foreign students still outnumber Americans. As Mr. Altbach correctly states, the sign of scientific power may be the attractiveness of the university to people from around the world, but this cannot come at the cost of alienating our own best and brightest from the sciences.
Marcis Jansons
Piscataway, N.J.

Show true 'cost' of war

Regarding your March 18 article "Military might tested, after the battles": The accompanying graphic titled "The war's cost" only reported US dead and wounded. What about the soldiers and citizens of Iraq who died or were wounded, and those of our allies? Furthermore, the costs reported are only appropriations and not the real amount of money that we are spending. Shouldn't we be given the actual estimates of all human and dollar costs?
Filson H. Glanz
Durham, N.H.

No 'loophole' for the poor

Regarding your March 17 article "A tax loophole for common folks": The use of the term "loophole," which is most commonly used to denote a means of evading the law, is something that is more pertinent to those at the top of the US economic pyramid rather than to those struggling for survival at the bottom.

The poorest, like one man in your article, often have to deal with unemployment, transportation to seek work, a place to live, and keeping a family together. They have neither the time nor the money to avoid taxes or to hire "income tax preparation mills" to prepare returns.
Barbara Glancy
Portland, Ore.

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