Better pay for reservists, active-duty servicemen

I commend the Monitor for paying attention to the plight of reservists called to active duty since 9/11 ("At home, budget heroics," June 14) and I applaud the efforts of every American service member who has decided to make the sacrifice of military service, either in the Reserves or on active duty.

My husband is a sailor assigned to the USS George Washington. He receives roughly the same wages and benefits as any activated reservist of the same rank and years of service. If the wages aren't sufficient for reservists, how could they possibly be for the active-duty servicemen and women?

If there is a pay-equity issue between military and civilian wages, and I think there is, it should absolutely be addressed - not to protect the reservists, who are entitled to reemployment and higher wages upon their deactivation, but to protect the active-duty servicemen and women who serve our nation all day every day.
Binnie Greenwell McLaughlin
Chesapeake, Va.

EU elections need better publicity

Regarding your June 15 article "EU voters cast protest ballot": The low turnout in EU elections was not necessarily conscious. A close friend in Poland said, "It was a very weird election, because there was very little publicity. People didn't know how to vote and where. The usual voting places weren't marked in any way." Without sufficient attention and importance placed on the elections, there will never be significant turnout. The European press should take up the responsibility of publicizing the elections and the participating candidates.
Fenella Watson
Tallahassee, Fla.

Distinction between religion, tradition

Regarding your June 14 article "In rare public dialogue, Saudi women talk rights": I would like to give my support to these women who are coming forward. I, too, have been subjected to physical abuse, and even in my country it is not easy to come forward. I especially approve of the article because it mentions the difference between religion and tradition.

I think it is very important that people make this distinction. Most people in the West, I believe, do not understand that these practices are not part of Islam.
Dorothy Archibald
Reedsport, Ore.

Independent it must be

Regarding your June 11 article "In Egypt, a new outlet for reform" about Cairo's new independent newspaper: Any linking of indigenous efforts toward democracy with US policies will compromise those efforts, because it is easy for authoritarian forces to morph existing anti-American sentiments into antidemocratic sentiments.

To fail to recognize this fact is a dangerous aspect of our foreign policy and our journalism.
Jean Gerard
Los Osos, Calif.

Direct ICBM funds to border control

Regarding your June 14 article "Nuclear-weapons challenges rise": There is a serious logical flaw in US plans to intercept intercontinental missiles having nuclear warheads. The more we succeed in defending against ICBMs, the more this encourages an enemy country to emphasize equipping terrorists with nuclear bombs.

Why launch an ICBM if failure is likely, and probably would result in massive retaliation? Smuggling such weapons is far less expensive, they can be positioned precisely on target, and it makes identifying the sponsoring country difficult. So the more we succeed, the greater our failure.

Nuclear-missile defense is a fun project, but a great waste of funds that could be used to thwart smuggling.
Stanley Logue
San Diego

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