Extra assistance is nice, but it's easy to pay for college without it
Regarding the Nov. 16 article, "No money for college? One town's reply": Kalamazoo, Mich., ought to be commended for its offer of college funding to high school graduates. Since a four-year college degree makes a graduate about as competitive in the employment market as a high school degree did years ago, I believe that college should be completely paid for publicly.
However, I get a bit tired of the tear-jerker tales of "no money for college." Federal grants, work-study programs, and loans have long been available to students from low-income families, as well as those from fairly well-off families. And balking at taking out student loans is foolish because, unlike material goods such as a car, education is an investment that is guaranteed to appreciate.
Students need to know that every college maintains a financial aid office and that applying for work, grants, and loans to pay for education is simple. Aspiring college students may be surprised at how much help is available even to middle-class families.
Laura Ann Harris
I commend your Nov. 23 editorial, "Legalizing the Muslim Brotherhood," for taking a position for democracy and freedom in the Middle East. The point of democracy is not for the US to have lackeys or allies controlling governments. The point is for governments to be freely elected.
Yes, situations like Iran can develop. But even there, a strong, if incomplete, democratic system has taken hold where a parliament checks the power of the president, and even religious leaders are beholden to some form of democratic rule.
It seems clear that Middle East democracy will develop differently from the US's own purely secular system. It will be more akin to past European democracies, where religious rule played a part up until recent times. Let democracy flourish, and Islamic terrorism will surely be extinguished.
San Jose, Calif.
Bush must learn the lessons of Vietnam
In response to Daniel Schorr's Nov. 15 Opinion column, "More lessons from Vietnam": It is certainly evident the Bush administration did not learn the lessons of Vietnam. Perhaps the quagmire the US finds itself in today in Iraq could have been avoided if the chief architects of the Bush doctrine of preemption had fought in the Vietnam War.
Our hasty, unwise invasion and occupation of Iraq played right into terrorists' hands. I think they have us where they want us - on their own hot desert turf. Former Defense Secretary Melvin Laird is exactly right in saying, in a recent Foreign Affairs article, that our military presence in Iraq is what fuels the insurgency.
With three more years left in the George W. Bush presidency, I hope the commander in chief will have learned lessons from Iraq that will prevent us from getting into another unthinkable mess somewhere else in the volatile Middle East.
Paul L. Whiteley
Regarding the Nov. 23 article, "How should US prepare for a post-Castro Cuba?": I think that the US has done enough damage in Cuba. We should stay out of Cuban affairs after Castro is gone.
Of course the US government should offer aid and help in revitalizing Cuban communities, but it should stay out of the political end of the regime change. To meddle will do nothing but bite the US in the future.
Palm Bay, Fla.
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