Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the moral crises of Harry Potter, the debate about the Endangered Species Act, a US military raid on Turkish officials, and the Al-Qaeda link in Iraq.

Harry Potter did grow up through moral crises

I would agree with the July 25 Opinion article, "Missing from 'Harry Potter' – a real moral struggle," that J.K. Rowling might have given us a better interior view of the character Snape. In my opinion, he is the most intriguing character in the whole series. But Ms. Rowling chose to focus on Harry's experience, and that is a limitation readers have to accept. And to suggest he did not grow, had no moral crises, or learning over the series is myopic.

The moral problems and the struggle of moral ambiguity are recurring features of every story, though I would agree with the article that the final book is perhaps weaker in this respect compared to Books 3 through 6. I think this is one reason why the Potter tales resonate with readers: They reflect both the pain and the urgency of growing up – not just for adolescents, but for all of us.

Brian Donohue
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Debate over Endangered Species Act?

While the July 25 article, "Controversy erupts over Endangered Species Act," is an excellent piece of journalism, I'm puzzled that the headline characterizes what was reported on as a controversy over the ESA. There seemed to be no new challenge or debate over the law or its merits. Instead, we were told of a horrible bureaucratic abuse of power, one which sounds distressingly similar to stories coming out of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Peter Gillis
Elgin, Ill.

Should Israeli Jews avoid hummus?

In the eyes of some critics of the Jewish state, Israelis can do nothing right. Their latest sin? Eating hummus. In the July 25 article, "Hummus brings Israelis, Palestinians to the table," Israelis who enjoy the Middle Eastern chickpea dish – and especially those who see hope in its potential to bring Jews and Arabs together – are criticized for having appropriated the dish from their neighbors.

The complaint seems odd, especially in America, where most of the food we love is influenced by and absorbed from other cultures. Even France's cuisine assimilated foods from Italy and the Americas. The absurdity of the criticism becomes even more apparent when considering the large percentage of Jews who came to Israel after being driven from their homes in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East, where they have lived for thousands of years. Indeed, Jews have been in the Levant (a large area of Southwest Asia), including Israel and, before that, Palestine. Should they now avoid hummus and other foods their families have eaten for generations?

Gilead Ini
Cambridge, Mass.

US military raid on Turkish officers

After reading the July 24 Opinion article, "Time to heal US-Turkey wounds," I believe the article fails to mention the recent incident that has played a big part in the increase in anti-US feelings in Turkey. The US, at the behest of Kurdish leaders providing false intelligence, invaded a Turkish command center in northern Iraq and took senior Turkish officers into custody after shooting up the interior of the center.

As discussed in international news sources, these men were handcuffed and driven to Baghdad. The article correctly points out the esteem in which the military is held in Turkey. The incident was widely covered in Turkey. Little coverage was provided in the US media. A US apology was quietly delivered afterward. Can you imagine the uproar in America if the British military took over a US division command in central Iraq and did the same to US officers?

John Luebben
San Jose, Calif

The case for the Al Qaeda-Iraq link

The July 26 online daily update article, "In 'surge of facts,' Bush emphasizes Al Qaeda-Iraq link," about the Al Qaeda presence in Iraq is only accurate along a static timeline. It primarily confronts a 2003 accusation – of a missing link between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein's respective regimes – with 2007 facts. Few dispute that 2007 Iraq is teeming with Al Qaeda support, but evidence has yet to be shown that this was the case 5 years ago.

While I generally respect your news source, the article comes close to mixing multiple issues. Please stick to the facts instead of repainting history.

Grant Cothran
Norfolk, Va.

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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