Despite Kiwis' frustration, US-New Zealand relations will endure

I read the June 20 article, "Kiwis have turned sour on Americans," with some sadness as well as some understanding.

My sadness is that fellow New Zealanders' personal verbal attacks on Americans tarnish both the affection I have for the American people and the pride I have for my country. New Zealand has consistently "boxed above its weight" on the international stage and has taken a bold stand on peacekeeping, peacemaking, and environmental issues for over half a century. New Zealand's military forces fought and died shoulder to shoulder with our American brothers and sisters in every major conflict of the 20th century. The history between our peoples is long, and the love runs deep. That will endure.

That said, there is genuine frustration and anger in New Zealand about US actions abroad since 2003. I believe there is a saying, which goes something like, "Do not judge someone in his grief." There is, I believe, genuine grief here in New Zealand as we watch US actions that seem unprincipled. But I think the love between our peoples is tough, and it will endure.
Martin Erasmuson
Nelson, New Zealand

Students can skip school for a protest

Regarding the June 19 article, "For students, cost of protest can be high": That Jennifer Avilez and other high school students were arrested for skipping school to protest immigration reform is quite an injustice and just plain ridiculous. We should be able to voice our opinions no matter what part of the US we live in – whether in a conservative or liberal area – and no matter what our age.

The fines levied by the police on the students for violating daytime curfew seem to have been thinly veiled covers for preventing the students from expressing their pro-immigrant viewpoints in the wider conservative community. The police acted in a completely biased and inappropriate manner, in my opinion. The schools did likewise.
Melissa Pulcini

Unity on Iraq is essential for Democrats

Regarding the June 19 article, "Do Democrats need to be united on Iraq?": I don't know why the Democrats are so afraid to position themselves as the antiwar party. Had Sen. John Kerry not flopped on the issue of Iraq during the last election, I think he would have been president. The Republican Party has a very clear message. The only way the Democrats can take advantage of this mess in Iraq is to be very clear in their message: Forget about the timetable, and get out of Iraq now. What Democrats are still failing to do is give Americans a choice.
Robin Westin
Calgary, Alberta

The Democrats should have a unified position on Iraq and the war on terror, but this is something they haven't established. Why would I vote for someone who will not tell me how he or she will handle the most important issues in our lifetime? At least it is clear what the Republican Party stands for, and I would argue that it has done a pretty good job of protecting us.
Robert R. Cohn
Duluth, Ga.

Kudos to lobster-friendly grocery stores

In response to the June 19 article, "Demise of grocery-store lobsters renews animal welfare debate": I agree that burger eaters have no place complaining about the treatment of lobsters, and as a vegetarian, I applaud Whole Foods and Safeway for ending this cruel practice of keeping lobsters in tanks. This is a step in the right direction, for which many are saying, "Tanks!"
Tim I. Martin
Corona, Calif.

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