Antiwar officer free to dissent, and to suffer consequences

In response to the Feb. 2 article, "Dissent of an officer": I applaud Lt. Ehren Watada for his intelligence, courage, and dedication to the principles that make America the real land of freedom. His refusal to be deployed to Iraq will perhaps make many Americans realize anew that freedom carries responsibilities as well as privileges. One responsibility is constant vigilance of those who may abuse power. Lieutenant Watada truly knows how to put the country's interests before his own.
Richard Bradshaw

Regarding the article on Lt. Ehren Watada: He is right to express his beliefs about the war, but he also must be punished. People have to act on their moral beliefs. But we cannot have 130,000 soldiers in Iraq with each soldier making up his own mind about what to do and what not to do. That would be a mob and not a military. Sometimes individual conscience conflicts with a decision made by society. We have to accept the basic conflict and not demonize Lieutenant Watada, but neither can we demand that his protest be cost-free for him.
Rohit Parikh
New York

Africa wins when great powers compete

Regarding Anene Ejikeme's Feb. 1 Opinion piece, "An African stance against China's advance": The significant and growing link between China and Africa gives Africans an option. In the past, they had to look to the West for investments, loans, technology, and markets for their products. Now they can play China against the West and vice versa. In this development, there can be no question that the West is the loser, while the Africans and Chinese have benefited. How to split the benefit between them is a different issue.

I hope that India will engage Africa significantly so that Africans will have three options. The West, China, and India will have to compete against one another in the African marketplace, and none will be able to dominate the Africans as the West did in the past.
Wai L. Chui

Preserving landmarks – hard, but helpful

Regarding the Jan. 31 article, "Preserve or let go: Blacks debate fate of their landmarks": As a Jew, preserving remnants of the Holocaust is a painful but necessary step in understanding what has shaped and validated who today's Jews are. It is also the best way to ensure "never again."

In the same manner, everything that contributed to the history of today's African-Americans is important to preserve, or at least document and record for the future. Forgetting what made you the person you are is a tragic void in a person's mind. Remembering will strengthen you.
Harriet Simons
Cave Creek, Ariz.

A hindrance to telecommuting

In response to your Feb. 1 editorial, "Telecommuting as energy saver": I support your advocacy of increased telecommuting. As an occasional telecommuter myself, I can enthusiastically confirm the benefits that your editorial mentions.

However, I have experienced one roadblock that indicates another area in need of some reform: software licensing.

Many software companies use restrictive language in their licensing agreements that effectively prevents customers from using the software in a telecommuting mode. By default, this restricts the use of the software to onsite installations only. In most cases this is not a feature customers are asking for, nor does it make the software companies especially competitive or attractive. It is mostly an outdated and arbitrary protectionist measure, and one best left to extinction.
Jim McNelis
Skokie, Ill.

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