Regarding your Aug. 23 article "Political shoals of the swift-boat wars": Historians who write about battles find one universal rule in effect: If there were 450 soldiers involved in a battle, you will get 450 versions of "what really happened."
Veterans of combat actions know very little about the entire scope of the battle around them. It is a time to react and respond to training, not to make mental footnotes.
All soldiers' war stories are true because they recount their personal perceptions.
Let's give all involved that credit, and get back to real issues such as economy, healthcare, education, foreign policy, and a vision for peace and reconciliation.
It is my understanding that Bob Dole warned Kerry not to make an issue out of his war record. Kerry opened that door at the Democratic Convention. I have a problem with someone who keeps bragging about his war record.
Fort Worth, Texas
To me, Kerry's "flip-flops" mean he is a thinking man who continues to reevaluate issues throughout his life. Better than a "strong" man who holds the same opinions, no matter how wrong he is. The fact that Kerry went to Vietnam in spite of his personal issues with the war tells me he is also honorable and loyal to America.
I want Bush supporters to stop this unproductive character assassination, and for Bush to tell me how he is going to get us out of Iraq honorably - leaving it in better shape than when we went in.
The Aug. 16 Opinion piece "World Bank ignores its own advice" misrepresents our extractive industries review.
The review included both independent economic reviews and a stakeholder report. The independent reviews found that more than 75 percent of projects in this sector were successful in contributing to development. In practical terms that means these projects created more jobs, tax revenue, infrastructure, and supply-chain enterprises, among other benefits.
In a parallel process, stakeholders from around the world provided us with invaluable input on a wide array of issues related to the sector. However, stakeholders were sharply divided on whether the Bank Group should stop oil and coal investments in poor nations - a point fully reflected in the public record of the proceedings.
On issues where there was a consensus for reform, we have responded with specific commitments. They will result in greater emphasis on transparency of revenue management, governance capacity, local participation, renewable energy, and natural gas projects. This represents a new and better balance of programs and policies for reducing poverty, one that reflects both the proven positive impacts of these projects and the reform suggestions of stakeholders.
Washington Manager of Corporate Relations
International Finance Corp., World Bank Group
I was quite inspired by your Aug. 23 article "Something new to check out at the mall: library books." I have always thought of the typical American mall as a bit of a cultural wasteland where Americans go to shop and consume. By including a library in a mall, this makes for a more community-friendly mall where bored spouses and kids can find a place to read.
James Hill Silver Spring, Md.
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