Chávez more popular with his people than with the US
Regarding the Aug. 11 article "Venezuela courts join fray": In the United States it is illegal for another country to fund political campaigns. Why do we have the right to do so in Venezuela? Venezuela has a democratically elected president who became unpopular with the US when he started using funds to educate and provide for the vast majority of the poor in his country. The US is trying to keep the few rich elite in power and maintain the "banana belt."
M. L. Gulick
I read with interest your article on Venezuela's recall referendum and it is quite accurate. Only one objection: You write that the opposition had been unable to find a presidential candidate.
On the contrary, the opposition leaders had decided to deal first with the Chávez recall vote, and then hold a primary election to select by popular vote a candidate for the next elections.
Regarding your Aug. 11 editorial "Goss as CIA Boss": The problem with the nomination of Porter Goss is that he is a very partisan politician whose ties with the Bush administration are obvious. He has voted with the president on every important piece of legislation in Congress. If the lessons of the 9/11 commission teach us anything, it's that whoever is in charge of intelligence needs to be completely nonpartisan, and have the willingness to tell the truth even if it is not what a president wants to hear. If the events of 9/11 were from a "failure of imagination", how does nominating an old-school spook, who served during the cold war, solve that problem?
It was not partisan for Goss to criticize John Kerry for voting against increased intelligence agency spending, or to criticize the CIA. Goss's willingness to stand behind his views, regardless of whom he disagrees with, shows his independence and balanced view. Partisanship is supporting only one side.
Bungling the fight against terrorism
Regarding the Aug. 10 article "A banner week in the war on terror": The real story here is that by outing Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan in Pakistan, whose e-mails were being monitored by British intelligence services, this source became useless. This was not a success, but a bungle by the White House, which was trying to legitimize the latest orange alert terror warning.
The complexities of modern family arrangements cited in the Aug. 10 article "Modern life stretching family law" suggest that it is premature, on a federal level, to try to deal with the legal issues they raise, either by constitutional amendments or legislative action. Over the next several years it will require extensive debate among legal representatives, social policy experts, political leaders, and ordinary citizens to develop an effective structure.
For now, it is best to let individual states develop policies on family law. The variations this will lead to will enable us to better evaluate different approaches or strategies. Having differing state laws may seem messy, but we have always had different marriage, divorce, and family laws, which were binding in other states when people moved.
There may come a time when establishing federal guidelines for uniformity may be desirable, but given the enormity of the changes, we are a long way from being able to do that intelligently.
Murray J. Friedman
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