Cosmetic surgery for GIs? Not that outlandish

Regarding Cathryn Prince's July 30 Opinion piece "Stepford soldiers?" on free plastic surgery for our men and women of the military: I'm a retired Army soldier living and working in the Netherlands for the Department of the Army. Cosmetic surgery is a way that the Army trains doctors. We need to keep Army doctors educated in all facets of surgery and general medicine. They deserve to keep pace with their civilian counterparts.
Randal Garfield
The Hague, Netherlands

The author appears to be against our fighting forces receiving any perks from their chosen profession. Ms. Prince says that taxpayer money can be better spent on other issues. She couldn't be further from the truth. Our men and women serving in today's military, fighting a war on two fronts, have earned the perks that are coming along with their service.
Mike Seace
Coatesville, Pa.

It is sad that this sort of thing would happen, but I think Prince hits very close to the truth. And with a feeling of guilt, I admit that she even made me laugh about it. Well done!
Pauline Houx
Miami Beach, Fla.

Xenophobia where it's least expected

Regarding your July 26 article "Xenophobia in Mexican soccer": When we moved to Mexico, to a barrio that had never seen a gringo resident, there was some real soul-searching among the residents that we had never anticipated. Most Mexicans we know are puzzled as to why anyone would move here from any other country.

With history being what it is, Mexicans have both pride and skepticism about their country. Then there is the reality of making a living here. This connects with "naturalized" soccer players, a naturalization of convenience, I suspect. Why should foreigners come in to skim the cream in soccer, or any profession?
Mark Dunn
Zacatecas, Mexico

As a naturalized citizen of the United States, I feel awful and disgusted hearing the same arguments used against foreigners in Mexico as are used against Mexicans in the US.
Jorge Fernandez

Al Qaeda tutorials fraught with error

Your July 28 article "Terrorists spread their messages online" contains the statement: "There are tutorials on all aspects of explosives, including improvised car bombs; poisons, including ricin; intelligence; and executions - 'detailed in scary, scary ways,' says the intelligence officer."

Much of the material in Al Qaeda training manuals on the Internet now purporting to show how to make ricin and other poisons actually springs from American sources. The recipes originated in pamphlets distributed by survivalists from the American fringe and were copied to the Internet some years later by teenagers running anarchic websites.

These instructions are fraught with errors. For example, recipes for ricin in terrorist manuals will not produce anything more dangerous than mashing a packet of castor seeds.
George Smith, PhD
Pasdena, Calif.
Senior fellow, GlobalSecurity.Org

Economics behind immigration

In response to your July 22 article "Foreign labor: for US, too much of a good thing?": It is refreshing to see US immigration policy analyzed from an economic perspective, rather than simply by anecdotes.

While immigration brings many benefits to our country, immigration policies need to be improved to reduce the costs of immigration, such as decreased wages of low-income Americans and increased government spending on social programs.
Christopher Edwards
New York

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