Campaign charges based on fear don't equate

In your Sept. 9 editorial, "Campaign Scare Tactics," you wrote: "[John Kerry] has said, 'The world is more dangerous because of the way the administration has handled the [Iraq] war.' And he warns that Mr. Bush's policies are 'actually encouraging the recruitment of terrorists.' It's difficult to back up those claims, just as it's difficult for [Vice President] Cheney to support his warning about Kerry."

I disagree. It's not just as difficult to support Mr. Cheney's warning about Senator Kerry. There's a fundamental difference between Kerry's comments and Cheney's. Kerry talked about something that could be legitimately argued: the measurable effect of the Bush administration's policies. Cheney predicted that we would be hit by a "devastating" attack if he and George Bush aren't reelected and implied that we would not if they were.

The vice president's comments were a reckless and cynical play on the darkest fears of Americans in the post-9/11 world. We must do better if we want to have any hope of standing united against the very real threat of terrorism.
Andrew Hedges
Albuquerque, N.M.

Terrorists don't represent all Muslims

Regarding your Sept. 10 editorial "Saving Islam From Terrorists": I am a Muslim from Malaysia who feels very sad to see my faith being made a scapegoat by those who choose to blast themselves to bits to seek retribution for wrongs.

I pray that those who read these words know that Islam is innocent of all the mistakes being committed in its name and that it is individuals, no matter who they are or what they claim to stand for, who are guilty of scapegoating a faith that calls us to seek peace and salvation together.

I have been a Muslim all my life and never have learned anywhere in the Koran to commit suicide in defending myself against an enemy. Islam is a way of life that, properly practiced, would be a perfect blend of life, love, and mutual understanding between mankind, regardless of creed or color.

In the days of the prophets, Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived side by side just as we Malaysians are doing at the present. We do have our fair share of those who are lopsided in their ideas, but the general Malaysian public has learned tolerance and social integration over the years and we have mosques, churches, and temples all within walking space from one another.

Muslims are the closest in faith to Christians, and instead of fighting against each other, we should learn to seek common ground in our faiths for balance in our lives.
Zainol Abideen
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Stay course for Iraqi freedom

Regarding the Sept. 9 article "Slow shift in campaign's Iraq factor": In 1626, my great-grandfather 16 generations past left England for America for freedom of religion.

This country was founded as a place of refuge for those desiring freedom. We cannot hold within these borders all of the people in the world who long for freedom, but we can do our part to help them gain their freedom.

If we were not free, we would long for someone to come and liberate us. I thank President Bush for his swift action in the war on terror, protecting our freedom as Americans. I commend him for caring about Afghans and Iraqis, in making it possible for them to enjoy the same freedoms that we hold dear in the United States of America.

It may take a while to rebuild Iraq, but it was the same in Germany, for those who know their history. Rome was not built in a day. We should stay the course and finish the work we started.
Kathleen R. Saroka
Wapwallopen, Penn.

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