Could Fallujah become the Islamic 'Alamo'?
Your April 28 article "Insurgents in Iraq show signs of acting as a network," on the changed nature of the conflict, points to the conundrum now facing the coalition's political and military leadership. How can they prevent Fallujah, and probably Najaf, from becoming Islamic versions of Bastogne or the Alamo? Both were victories - one military and the other moral - for the defenders and both have become definitions of and inspirations for dogged, even suicidal, courage. It now looks as though the siege of Fallujah will enter Islam's iconography of martyrdom, where it will feed the deep well of resentment and revenge.
Your April 22 article "Fenced in, frustrated Arafat speaks out" provided a sympathetic portrayal of the Palestinian leader - perhaps too sympathetic. If I knew little about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the political career of Mr. Arafat, reading your article would give me the impression that he is a decent, well-intentioned, and fair leader who just happens to be the victim of Ariel Sharon's policies. I wouldn't know that apart from his background of violence and his possible connection to the violence in the current intifada, Arafat has long been accused of corruption. Your article's criticism of Mr. Sharon's treatment of Arafat is legitimate; however, it gives readers a false impression of a leader whose policies have proven to be unjust and corrupt.
Your April 27 article "The term-limit movement of the '90s stalls" leaves the highly inaccurate impression that I consider term limits to be a spent force.
While term limits remain a very popular idea at the grass-roots level, momentum has slowed down at the political level for two reasons. First, politicians no longer consider federal term limits to be a feasible proposition since the Supreme Court ruling several years ago. Second, at the state level, the initiative process has taken term limits close to as far as it can go, given that legislators in noninitiative states are unlikely to vote for more political competition.
Hence, I referred directly to term limits running out of political room rather than running out of intellectual steam. The quote that appeared in your article reflects neither the context of my remarks nor my regret that term limits do not apply to more state legislatures or to Congress. For the most part, the term-limits action at the state level centers around the campaign to repeal, rather than extend, term limits. Both the widespread lack of popular support for these repeal campaigns and the nakedly self-interested motivation of those leading the repeal effort merit closer examination.
Senior Fellow, Center for Representative Government, Cato Institute
Regarding your April 28 article "Hey kid - you wanna buy a ...": I agree with child psychologist Susan Linn that parents cannot "do it all" with regard to regulating their children in a commercial culture out of control. The surge in "ad-busting activism," however, cannot have an impact when parents, too, are "being consumed." Young children aren't driving themselves to the fast-food restaurants or the mall. They aren't responsible for allowing the TV to be on six hours a day. If parents of young children change their own behavior, they will discover that the pestering by children that advertisers count on will be reduced substantially, and that their 4-year-olds won't be "demanding belly-button shirts."
St. Paul, Minn.
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