Help urban schools, not just their students

Regarding your July 13 "One Man's Idea Gives Hundreds of Kids a Boost": As an alum of a program akin to the Wadleigh Scholars Program, I commend Wadleigh and others of its kind for offering low-income students of color in New York City educational options that they would not have otherwise been exposed to.

However, before lauding the achievements of these programs, I think we should critically assess some of their various effects.

By encouraging academically driven urban youth of color to attend elite, private institutions, these programs and the communities that sustain them abandon the public school system.

These programs should redirect their attention to public schools that are in need of young role models and leaders.

After attending Phillips Academy, I also believe that these programs not only provide entrance into privileged academic worlds but also exposure to discrete cultural units that reinforce class elitism. Many of the individuals that participated in my program (including me ) felt disoriented by moving in and out of polar-opposite worlds of blacks and whites, of rich and poor.
Manuella Meyer
Washington, Vt.

Leaders share blame for intelligence lapses

In your July 12 article, "Politics of Spy Agency Failures," a key element in the summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report was that "Intelligence officials did not fully explain to policymakers the uncertainties behind key judgments."

While the Senate report faults the intelligence community, I believe our leaders share much of the blame. Intelligence analysts' uncertainties regarding various claims about Iraqi weapons and capabilities were included as qualifiers and dissents in intelligence reviews.

Before sending our troops into a preemptive war, our top leaders had a responsibility to read the intelligence reports all the way to the end, even if it meant burning the midnight oil.

I fear that the weighty decision to go to war was made on the basis of one-page summaries that omitted key pieces of evidence.
Judy Porta, PhD
Moraga, Calif.

Christian Zionists' role in Holy Land

I found your July 7 article "Mixing prophecy and politics" heartbreaking and frightening.

I know Palestinian Christians - Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Quakers, Lutherans, and others - who can trace their family roots in Palestine back many centuries. Palestinians do indeed exist, contrary to the mistaken belief of Malcolm Hedding, an American clergyman now in Jerusalem who was quoted in the article.

I am deeply saddened that some of my fellow Americans are contributing to the misery of Palestinian Christians.

Christian Zionists are entitled to their religious beliefs, but when they translate those beliefs into political actions, I am deeply troubled. Why do these people, with their so-called literal biblical beliefs, not follow the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not covet"?
Bernice L. Youtz
Tacoma, Wash.

The Christian Zionists may have their drawbacks, but in a world rife with anti-Israel bias and overt anti-Semitism, they are necessary to the survival of the Jewish state. Israel is not in a position to reject any assistance no matter the source. Christian Zionists have proven to be good friends and a mainstay of the Jewish state. For that they should be thanked and congratulated by all those interested in the survival of Israel.
Nelson Marans
Silver Spring, Md.

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