Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the sanctioning of an offensive prayer against Jews, defending the US border, relationships of European monarchs, and programs for female veterans.

The sanction of an offensive prayer against Jews

In response to the July 18 article, "A church's assertive shift toward tradition," the Anti-Defamation League and its National Director, Abraham H. Foxman, have taken no position on the wider use of the Latin mass. Rather, the ADL's concern is with the Vatican's sanction of the wider use of a prayer to convert Jews that is included in the 1962 Latin Good Friday liturgy, which has been confirmed by leading Roman Catholic liturgists with whom we have consulted. In 1970, the prayer for the conversion of Jews, which refers to Jews as being blind and living in darkness, was replaced by a positive prayer recognizing the Jews' eternal covenant with God, a principle to which Pope John Paul II was deeply committed.

It is the sanction of this offensive prayer to convert Jews, which contradicts Catholic teaching for the last 42 years since the Second Vatican Council, that Mr. Foxman referred to as "a body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations."

Eric Greenberg
New York
Anti-Defamation League

British military talents in Iraq

Regarding the July 23 opinion article, "How to beat Iraq's insurgents? Ask the British.": The author is right to say that the US military in Iraq has something to learn from the British about counterinsurgency. But he is wrong to suggest that "US troops, imbued with a fierce warrior ethic, have been more reluctant to take up the task." Reluctance is not the central issue.

The fact is that the British sector around Basra is fundamentally different from Baghdad and Anbar Province. When I served in Iraq in 2004-05, the British colonel in charge of operations in Basra admitted this difference. The Shiites around Basra were glad to see Saddam Hussein go; it made life better for them. But the Sunnis lost power when the US invaded and they resented it. These are two very different situations, one welcoming and the other hostile.

The US has indeed "fully leveraged Britain's military talents" by putting those talents to best use in the British sector.

Paul Sherbo
Lakewood, Colo.

First, defend the US border

The July 20 article, "US steadies its aim at gun trafficking into Mexico," underscores the real problems at the US-Mexican border.

Rather than aim US efforts at enforcement at the border, it is helping Mexico's president fight drug cartels in Mexico. The US has failed to defend its own laws and is heartily engaged in defending Mexico's.

Clearly President Bush has not chosen America's best interest when it comes to the southern border. To further placate Mexico, he ordered the railroading of two US border guards – Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean – for violating the rights of a Mexican drug smuggler. Considering the volume of crimes left unpunished on the border, the highly focused prosecution was comparable to issuing speeding tickets at the Daytona 500.

Thomas Geraghty
New York

Relationships of European monarchs

Your July 24 book review article, "The 'King, Kaiser, Tsar' who were cousins," begins by noting that "It was Queen Victoria's grandsons Georgie, Nicky, and Willy who marched the world to World War I." Although they were cousins, Nicky was Queen Victoria's grandson only by marriage. Georgie and Nicky were cousins because their mothers were sisters. In any case, the relationship of Europe's monarchs during World War I is still a fascinating subject.

George Wiggers
Forest Heights, Md.

Comprehensive programs for female veterans

Thank you for your story highlighting the difficulties female veterans are facing. Our 35-bed program in Long Beach, Calif., is seeing more female veterans than ever before, with incredibly complex problems. Not only are women now serving in combat, they also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Female veterans today need comprehensive programs that offer the safety of female-specific housing, and the professional assistance that will help them deal with these issues and move forward in their lives.

Stephen Peck
Los Angeles
Community Development Director

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

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