National security is no license to ignore human rights

Regarding your Jan. 4 editorial "Interrogating Torture Rules": I don't know what it will take to bring the American people to their senses that this administration has put itself above international law. What gives us the right to ignore human rights just because it might affect our national security? If any other country did this we would denounce it as evil. Where is the morality in that? The only reason we aren't being called to task by the world community is that we have a huge military.

Alberto Gonzales, the nominee for US attorney general, has been one of the primary players in this arrogance and in my opinion, has no place in public office in any country that claims to be civil or moral.
Albert Gunther
Kingston, Wash.

The greater 'army'

The Jan. 4 article "US intensifies its role in relief," brought to mind the relief the US military brought to the Hawaiian island of Kauai after the 1992 hurricane Iniki. As a resident of Kauai at the time, I was without electricity and water for many weeks. The military, along with the Red Cross and others, purified water, served food in clean and orderly centers, and provided an invaluable sense of calm and organization.

I since have come up with my own definition of "army" to mean "many organized people working together to defend the activity of good," no matter in what situation they happen to be needed.

I'm immensely grateful for the organized efforts of our country as a whole to protect and serve not just our citizens, but citizens of the world. The efforts also awakened me to the importance of appreciating and supporting the institutions in our country. The institutions defend not just citizens, but the Golden Rule as well.
LaVeda V. Frasier
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Darfur needs aid badly, too

Your Dec. 6 editorial "The Other Big Tragedy" is absolutely right to ask why Darfur is not getting the kind of response as the tsunami survivors. The people of Darfur have experienced a sense of horror and tragedy, and for a longer period of time. It is quite sad that we as a nation have not taken a stronger stand in support of the people of Darfur.

Why isn't Darfur getting the same response? I hope and pray that we receive the answer in the coming year.
Ana Kirola
San Francisco

From A to B in a plane: Is it that hard?

In response to the Jan. 5 article "What do air travelers want? Competition spurs innovation": One of the major wants is obvious - to be able to get on an aircraft and fly directly from point A to point B, without stopping at a hub in the process.

Although hubs can increase efficiency for airlines in good weather conditions, they are always a negative for the passengers. They add a couple of hours to transit time, raise the specter of lost baggage and missed connections, and require long walks through madhouses at places like Chicago, Denver, and Atlanta.

Can any person not hate being treated this way? There is nothing like spending the night (or Christmas weekend), sleeping on the floor in an airport that you did not want to go to in the first place. This is the major attraction to start-ups; they may fly only to a limited number of locations, but on most of them there are no stops in between. Prior to deregulation, major airlines distinguished themselves from local service airlines by offering frequent, direct flights between key city pairs.

In trying to grab a bigger market share, the majors reduced themselves to the level of local-service airlines.
Don Millard
Corona, Calif.

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