Credit due those who warned of danger before 9/11

Regarding your July 23 article "Failure of 'imagination' led to 9/11": For years, Osama bin Laden sent his "Coming to America" notes via a trail of vicious assaults on US installations abroad. Two former senators, Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, warned colleagues and two administrations of the clear and imminent dangers ahead for homeland America. No one listened.

In fairness, the Senate should honor Mssrs. Hart and Rudman for their efforts to alert the nation to the peril. It should also identify the intelligence agents who, in the face of official incomprehension and adherence to disastrously flawed group-think policy, sought to awaken their superiors to the threat.

Those who fought the good fight against the bureaucratic odds deserve great praise. And there were such men and women. Trust a former combatant in the battle against Washington's "lack of imagination" in times of crisis.
Wes Pedersen
Chevy Chase, Md.
The writer is a former analyst for the former US Information Agency.

Iran not totalitarian? Think again

Your July 22 article "Anti-Iran sentiment hardening fast" stated: "Yet supporters of dialogue argue that Iran is not a totalitarian regime - and that in recent elections, the country's hard-liners garnered more support as a budding youth-led reform movement faded."

More support? Apparently the "supporters of dialogue" were not aware that 80 percent of the would-be reformist candidates in the elections were "disqualified" by mullahs and not allowed to run. Not a totalitarian regime? Give me a break.
Lorne Henderson
Chilliwack, British Columbia

Remembering post-9/11 unity

In the July 15 Opinion piece, "American political polarization amounts to fear of being left out," Susan DeMersseman articulates some very valid concerns about the polarization occurring in this country.

A contrary example to this is the response New Yorkers had to the 9/11 disaster. In the political discussions five days immediately following the tragedy, New York was reportedly a much friendlier place. Domestic enemies were replaced with terrorist ones, and everyone seemed to be on the same side.

Given time, polarization crept in and blaming began. And while we still have terrorist enemies, fighting among ourselves is back. Values that many consider nondebatable are thrown into the mix, and the sides are formed, making for strange bedfellows indeed.
Christian Anderson
Salt Lake City

Toll roads are only a stopgap

In response to your July 21 editorial "Charging Up the Freeway": The only practical solutions to freeway congestion are dual-mode transportation systems, such as the "advanced vehicle transport."

Eventually we will run out of oil. What good will toll roads do us then?
Frank Randak
Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Space exploration needs global support

Regarding your July 19 article "What it will take to put humans on Mars": President Bush does well to push for expanded space exploration programs. However, NASA, as the global leader in space exploration, continues to take one giant step forward and three monstrous leaps back.

Space travel and exploration must remain a global joint effort. World governments should incorporate and invite participation by private industry, citizenry, and space agencies.
George Burrell
Corcoran, Calif.

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