A 'closed wallets' protest against Medicare drug card

Regarding your June 2 article "Debut of drug cards greeted with a shrug": I'm one of the many Americans who quit AARP in protest of its aggressive promotion of last year's prescription drug program. The illusory benefits for most consumers, high cost to taxpayers, and failure to negotiate drug discounts and imports are each reason enough to oppose the legislation.

I was always suspicious that AARP was more concerned about its private insurance efforts, including drug cards, than any real benefit to its members. Its failure to sign up more people is an indicator that the common sense of Americans is beginning to show.

When this drug-card boondoggle grinds to an embarrassing halt, perhaps we can go back to the drawing board in bipartisan fashion and draw up a plan that serves the public's health needs far more effectively, simply, and rationally. Until then, it seems most remaining AARP members are speaking loudly with their closed wallets.
Dave Roberts
Guerneville, Calif.

Higher standards for the US?

Regarding Helena Cobban's June 2 Opinion piece "Zero tolerance on torture: How hard is that?": Should the US be held to a higher standard of behavior than brutal dictatorships when it comes to the treatment of prisoners? The answer to that question should be abundantly self-evident, shouldn't it?

Otherwise, what was the point of differentiating between our behavior and that of Saddam Hussein's old regime? What was the point of deposing him? If President Bush does not reaffirm America's commitment to the Geneva Convention and the civilized behavior it represents, then the US stands to lose immeasurably in the eyes of the world.
Frank Macskasy
Upper Hutt, New Zealand

Where are today's heroic journalists?

Regarding Daniel Schorr's June 4 column "Remembering the heroes of Watergate": Yes, Sam Dash and Archibald Cox were both heroes, but Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein can also be counted among the real heroes of Watergate.

When I examine the run-up to the Iraq war, however, I have to question where today's heroes of the press were, to counter the false information that drew us into one of the worst wars we have ever been involved in. I have the feeling that the press fell asleep at the switch.
David MacIsaac
Englewood, N.J.

Daniel Schorr's column about Sam Dash and Archibald Cox being heroes in Watergate forgot to mention some other heroes of that era: Judge John Sirica, Attorney General Elliot Richardson, and Sens. Barry Goldwater and Lowell Weicker. They were all Republicans who believed in putting the Constitution above their political party.

One only wishes that Sens. Tom Daschle and Robert Byrd had the same courage of conviction in the 1998 Clinton impeachment proceedings. But then again, the aforementioned Republicans did believe first and foremost in the sanctity of the Constitution, unlike the aforementioned Democrats, who in my opinion made their retention of power the highest priority in 1998 and 1999.
Mike McAdoo
San Francisco

Honoring moral courage

Your June 1 editorial "Heroes' Honors" reminded me of the lack of recognition given to those who show moral courage. Spec. John Darby and Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba both made a conscious decision to reveal the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison at great personal and professional sacrifice. Some call them traitors - they both deserve medals.
Margaret Nichols
Greene, N.Y.

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