America needs the help of British troops in Iraq

Regarding the Jan. 29 article "US, Britain diverge on troops in Iraq": The withdrawal of British troops from Basra in 2007 would have a serious impact on Britain's relationship with the US. Who would replace the British military in southern Iraq? The US, presumably, since no other US ally is likely to offer assistance.

If the US becomes the only nation with an active military presence in Iraq, it undermines the premise that a UN-sponsored "coalition" is seeking to promote democracy and the rule of law in Iraq. US troops would be further stretched if they needed to maintain a strategic stronghold in Basra.

The White House is unlikely to regard British withdrawal from Iraq with equanimity. However, a growing number of members of Parliament in Britain regard the postinvasion policy in Iraq as a failure and are not prepared to tolerate further casualties among British military personnel in southern Iraq.
Alistair Budd

How promising is the '$100 laptop'?

Regarding the Jan. 29 article, "A closer look at what '$100 laptop' will be": I applaud the altruism that will give underprivileged children and students around the world the opportunity to learn more because of access to computer technology. But I was dismayed that there was no mention of the underprivileged young people in the US. I hope that the same technology, at the same low price, will be offered to native American students, inner-city students, and low-income students all over this country as well.
Victoria Goss
Nantucket, Mass.

In response to the Jan. 29 article on laptops for schoolchildren worldwide: Access to information does not equal education. You cannot give kids access to the Internet and then just see what happens. No intelligent adult would advocate this practice for children here in the US, so why would it be OK to do that with kids in the developing world?

Yes, the children will teach themselves how to use the laptops, but who will teach them what to do with the massive amounts of information they will find? How will they react when they come across sites that spew pornography or espouse violence or showcase American consumerism? How much will they hate the US when they see how much we have – compared to the daily struggle of their own lives? The One Laptop Per Child initiative could be a rocket, propelling children in developing countries to new heights of learning, or it could be just a barrage of unfiltered information.
Wilma Wiersma

Rocket attacks are militant, too

The Jan. 30 article, "Bombing in Israeli resort town shatters lulls in attacks," characterizes the suicide bombing in Eilat as "shattering one of the longest pauses in militant attacks on Israeli cities since the start of the latest Palestinian uprising." I am curious to know how it is that continual barrages of Qassam rockets aimed at Israeli cities do not constitute militant attacks.
Stuart Creque
Moraga, Calif.

Don't jump to conclusions on Guilford

In response to the Jan. 29 article, "After fight, calm eludes campus": Why the perpetual rush to judgment that the attacks on Palestinian students constitute a hate crime? Does Guilford College aspire to become another Duke University? North Carolina must be a district attorney's paradise. Just don't be a defendant there.
Randolph Parrish
Scottsdale, Ariz.

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