To bolster National Guard, cut unneeded government expense

The Sept. 27 article, "For Guard, equipment falls short," states that the National Guard is always at the end of its available equipment and funding. No matter if we agree or disagree with the war in Iraq, we need to upgrade our National Guard's abilities to protect the citizens of this country from both natural and man-made events.

To this end, it is time to scrap the many bloated and unneeded weapons system programs in the Pentagon budget, which won't protect us from terrorists or hurricanes. It is time to reduce the number of aircraft carriers with no remaining meaningful mission. It is time to audit the no-bid contracts handed out to politically linked corporations. It is time for the Defense Department to focus on protecting the people, and it is time for Congress to do its job of representing the interests of the country.
Kevin Fitzpatrick
Florissant, Mo.

'Cow Power' a current reality

The Sept. 15 article, "Need Energy? Get a Cow!," failed to mention that the method of using manure to generate energy is not only being researched, but is also currently being put into practice as a viable option for some energy customers.

Central Vermont Public Service's "Cow Power" - a new energy choice for consumers that uses energy generated by burning methane from cow manure - gives energy customers the option of buying 25, 50, or 100 percent of their electricity through cow- manure-generated power.

This process relies on a renewable resource and is a practical use of farm waste.

So the hope that livestock waste can "one day" be used to generate power is actually a current reality - at least in a small area of New England.
Larissa Snorek-Yates
Brattleboro, Vt.

Driving slower won't solve gas crunch

Your editorial, "Driving 55 m.p.h. is looking pretty good," is pretty good - but not good enough for what ails us.

All these sensible driving tips are in the same context as Bush's admonition to conserve gasoline: short-term action to address a temporary situation - the disruption in gas supplies resulting from the most recent climatic disturbances.

We have a long-term problem: The world is using all the gas it can produce. Pretty soon, the world will be producing less, and we must consume less - a lot less than the amount conserved by driving 55 m.p.h.
Mike Lekas
Concord, Calif.

US should support UN more fully

Indeed, it was a big relief that the United States found some common ground with the United Nations at the UN World Summit, as John Hughes pointed out in his Sept. 21 Opinion piece, "US, UN find common ground." Despite the Bush administration's continued contempt toward the UN, the truth is that the US needs the world body more than any other nation. The UN system contributes to a stable world order - a world order in which the US enjoys the status of sole superpower.

Interestingly, officials and legislators in Washington are increasingly aware of this fact, but some ideologues are preventing the US from adopting a more conciliatory, more positive approach at the UN. Only the urging of the American people can make our leaders rise above their narrow interests and promote a global perspective.

For this to happen, Americans need to have a better understanding of the crucial role of the UN in dealing with the daunting challenges humanity faces in the 21st century.
Dinesh Kumar
New York

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