US support increases impunity of Indonesia's military

Regarding your Aug. 25 article "Debate reignites over US aid to Indonesia": US military assistance to Indonesia sends the worst possible message to a military that continues to violate human rights with impunity.

General Wiranto, former armed forces commander and failed presidential candidate, was trained in the US. He has been indicted by a UN-backed court in East Timor based on evidence of his role in the destruction of East Timor in 1999.

In Aceh, West Papua, and elsewhere, the Indonesian military continues to use the same terror tactics - often directed by the same commanders - as it used in East Timor. The Bush administration's current efforts to step up training and other assistance to Indonesia's security forces have only encouraged more violations and legitimized continued impunity throughout the archipelago.
John M. Miller
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Media and Outreach Coordinator

East Timor Action Network
Liberal faculties compromise academia

Your Aug. 24 article, "The new activism," exposes the burdensome number of liberal faculty on college campuses. Princeton University professor Robert George's confession that 95 percent of the faculty there will vote for John Kerry should be a disturbing signal to all academia. The bloated number of liberal faculty compromises the learning experience of students and forges a divisive atmosphere.

The Students for Academic Freedom, whose goal is "to end the political abuse of the university and to restore integrity to the academic mission as a disinterested pursuit of knowledge," is putting a new face on activism while securing the integrity of their education. Let's hope that academia joins students in this beneficial activism.
Kristian Kirkeiner
Oak Park, Ill.

Assault weapons ban: How effective?

R. Gil Kerlikowske's Aug. 24 Opinion piece, "Save the Assault Weapons Ban," is not saved by virtue of having been written by a police officer. Assault weapons have always been used in a minuscule fraction of crimes. That has not changed, despite 10 years of restrictions on the rights of the law-abiding.

Contrary to the Seattle police chief's assertions, the best defense against crime begins at home. The police can't be everywhere. So rather than banning assault weapons, perhaps you ought to go out and buy one.
Dave Kopp

Since criminals rarely, if ever, use legal means to procure their weapons, and since the actual number of assault weapons used in crimes is very low, it would seem that just enforcing existing laws might be a better answer than adding layers of laws that criminals continue to break anyway.
Bob Crossman
Cardiff, Calif.

Soros money helping Kerry

Regarding your Aug. 25 article "Mr. Soros goes at Washington": George Soros is the poster boy for using money to influence elections. His attempt to buy the election is truly sad.

America, wake up. Isn't it time average Americans take back our political life from the rich?
Walt Wilson
Longview, Wash.

I take my hat off to Mr. Soros. With all his money, he could be getting huge tax cuts, investing in military defense, hobnobbing with Dubya, and attending Republican convention parties. Instead, with his help, we can save the country as well as the whole world, because this president could start a nuclear disaster with the ripple effects of his policies.

So let's rally, America.
Carlos Mosley

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