Assault won't address needs of Iraqi civilians

Regarding the Nov. 10 article, "After the Fallujah fight, then what?": All this mess that we see now in Iraq would have been largely avoided had the Iraqis seen any improvement in their way of living after the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime. On the contrary, things have gotten a lot worse. Water and electricity supplies worsened in many places, not to mention other facets of life.

You cannot win the hearts or support of the Iraqi people by invading them, insulting them in prisons, stealing their resources, imposing a puppet government, and killing their women, children, and young men. The democracy that the Americans are talking about for Iraq is for the consumption of their highly biased media. Iraqis do not need such democracy. Iraqis are a highly resourceful and inventive people.
Riyadh A. Rahmani
Victoria, British Columbia

The Nov. 8 article "US heading into major urban assault in Iraq" quotes Marine Lt. Gen. John Sattler telling his troops that Fallujah "is held by mugs, thugs, murderers, and terrorists." He makes no mention of innocent civilians. Countless innocent Iraqis have been killed or injured during this war. Do President Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld realize that this "collateral damage" leaves behind families, careers, hopes, and dreams?
Mary T. Shaw
Norristown, Pa.
Philadelphia Area Coordinator - Amnesty International USA

Time to invest more in relationships

The Nov. 3 article "Changing habits, expanding waistlines" saddened me. With factory farming, we crowd animals in too small spaces, rarely interact with them, and think of them only as food products.

In some ways, we are treating our children the same way, sending them to warehouse-like schools, teaching them to be consumers, and leaving them home alone.

When will we learn that bigger isn't better, that more in one area is less in another, and that standardization often comes at the expense of relationships? Relationships and connection are essential to a good life. Yet, our society seems determined to make all values subservient to money.
Pat Maslowski
Drake, Colo.

Hear the varied voices of voters

I so enjoyed the Nov. 5 Opinion, "Voters speak," originally collected on the Monitor's web site. If I were in line and had my courage up, I might ask President Bush to heed the advice of William Shakespeare: "It is excellent to have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant." I might even ask him to consider this from English historian Christopher Dawson: "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."
Robert Goodspeed
St. Louis, Mo.

Own the building, 'rent' the land?

Your Oct. 28 editorial, "Property Rights and Wrongs," which dealt with the bad side of eminent domain, was correct in defining a person's home as his castle. In defining "property," however, a distinction must be made between a building and the land on which it resides. This is commonly done in the estimating of property values for tax purposes. The building is the result of the owner devoting earnings to the project. The land site, though, is a gift of nature and its value is created by the demands of the surrounding society for the limited space available. A proper tax system would not punish the builder for creating a useful structure. It would instead require that he pay for the privilege of occupying a gift of nature and excluding others from doing so.
George Amberg
El Cerrito, Calif.

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