A model for peaceful coexistence

Regarding your May 26 article "Whose edifice is this? Spain peels back the layers of its identity": I so appreciated your informative and open article on Cordoba's Mezquita in Spain. We visited this marvelous mosque last June and were awed at the acres of Moorish red and white arches, but we were disturbed by the Christian cathedral built inside that had destroyed much of the original mosque.

The fact that for 700 years three of the major religions of the world (Jews, Muslims, and Christians) lived in comparative harmony here is instructive in today's world. This incredible place of worship needs to be opened to all who would pray here in order to reclaim a sense of Andalusian roots and inclusion for all.
Kathryn R. Housden
Laguna Beach, Calif.

Curbing college dropouts

Your June 1 editorial "Cut the College Dropout Rate" offered some compelling statistics about this issue. It overlooked, however, a factor about the subject that many universities have inflicted on themselves.

I refer to the high percentage of freshmen who fail university-administered placement examinations in English and mathematics. These students customarily are then required to take no-credit remedial courses in these subjects as part of their "higher" education. In the California State University (CSU) system of late, as many as half its freshmen are found to have these academic deficiencies. Although the CSUs deplore current cuts to their budgets, they refuse to stop funding their remedial courses.
Patrick Groff
San Diego
Professor of Education Emeritus, San Diego State University

Countering the tendency for brutality

Your May 26 article "Making Them Talk" leaves out the "natural" tendency for brutality that always exists when we demonize people. European settlers and their descendants called the native Americans "savages" and butchered them, and called blacks "subhuman," and enslaved them or lynched them. In Vietnam, American soldiers sometimes "saved" villages by destroying them, or killed masses of innocent women and children. And now those in Iraq who fight us are denounced as Satanic warriors.

Psychological experiments have shown how "good" people can do evil. In Iraq, commanders should have kept a close watch on the Abu Ghraib guards. Evil triumphs everywhere that good men stand by.
Roy Lechtreck
Alabaster, Ala.

History lends perspective

Regarding your May 27 article "Not yet forgotten, the 'greatest generation' finally set in stone": I would like to express my shock that the "young" have no idea of what we went through in World War II. Neither will they have the perspective and vision to avert future disasters if they don't ever study American and world history in school.

I am a widow of that war - my husband was lost in the South Pacific. Wake up, America, to the realities of life and the value of history.
Céline Karraker
Southbury, Conn.

A word of moderation

Regarding your June 1 article "The new deluxe travelers: Humans welcome, too": For every gourmet meal prepared for a canine guest, I suggest that the Loews Beverly Hills Hotel prepare and donate one nutritious meal to an area child in need. I have no quarrel with the growing tendency of folks to take their companion animals along on trips. However, the notion of serving filet mignon to an animal, no matter how beloved, is really way over the top in excess.
Dorothy Bergin
Bedford, Mass.

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