Kosovo's independence? What about KLA's behavior?

Regarding the Sept. 22 article "Even in eager Kosovo, nation-building stalls": The current impasse over Kosovo's status is not the fault of the UN. The nonnegotiable demand of the province's Albanians for an independent and ethnically pure Kosovo was an inevitable consequence of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's pre-Rambouillet bestowal of a blank check on the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Well before becoming, in effect, the air force of the KLA, NATO turned a blind eye to KLA training camps in Albania when "Partnership for Peace" exercises were conducted with the Albanian Army. "Partnership for an Impending War" better describes those exercises.

After Belgrade had been bombed into submission, the KLA expelled most of Kosovo's non-Albanian communities under the noses of occupying NATO troops. This was accompanied by a concerted, still continuing campaign to erase the province's Serbian heritage. Countless churches and monasteries, many medieval, have been destroyed. The few remaining Serb enclaves are under constant threat.

The KLA and its offshoots will continue to call the shots as long as the West is reluctant to reclaim its blank check. To discuss Kosovo's status before the province's Albanians demonstrate civilized standards of behavior would reward ethnic cleansing.
Yugo Kovach
Twickenham, England

Sharks' captivity counterproductive

Regarding the Sept. 23 article "In shark tank, a great white survives:" For an animal that is adapted to a complex ocean environment and to being almost constantly mobile, the open ocean is the only appropriate habitat; anything less is an acceptance on behalf of the aquarium that the shark will be subject to the stresses imposed by the restriction of its normal behaviors.

There exists little or no behavioral research demonstrating an association between viewing animals in a captive setting and either knowledge about the animal or intention to take action to conserve the animal in the wild. Further, many marine species - including, for example, humpback and right whales - enjoy a high level of public sympathy and concern despite the fact that they have never been maintained in public aquariums.

The scientific value of displaying the shark is also suspect. In general, captive animals make poor models for free-ranging populations because captive animals do not interact with a natural environment or live in normal social groups. In addition, many captives exhibit abnormal behavior not known in the wild.

We must not teach our children that it is acceptable to exploit animals and nature in this way. The future of conservation depends on it.
Monica Engebretson
Senior Program Coordinator

Animal Protection Institute
Sacramento, Calif.

Put Floridians' welfare in global context

Regarding the Sept. 22 article, "After the hurricanes: Ordeals persist": Though I am keenly interested in the welfare of Floridians following the recent spate of turbulent weather, I thought it was irresponsible to equate the problems there with the problems of the wider world.

I don't think the rising cost of grapefruit juice is foremost on the minds of the people of Haiti, who have experienced over 1,500 deaths from the same weather systems. And though I understand the pressure of the impending standardized exams on Florida schools, millions of children around the world do not have access to clean water, much less education. And while I am thrilled that Charley the dog is doing well, there are many millions of humans right here in this country who do not enjoy such healthcare benefits.
Amy Trojanowski
St. Paul, Minn.

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