Forging relationships with Iranians is complex
In response to the Aug. 23 Opinion article, "How to challenge Iran's militancy without using arms," about reaching out to the Iranian people directly, I am often shocked by the simple-minded point of view that American analysts have on the subject of Iran. In particular, I mean those who advocate establishing a relationship with the Iranian people, opening an embassy in Tehran, and isolating the Islamic government from the people.
These analysts all have suggestions on what America should do and they always fail to mention how to achieve it. Establishing a relationship by circumventing the Iranian government is unrealistic. The majority of trade and economic levers are in the hands of the Iranian government. The Islamic Republic of Iran is not about to allow the US to have a direct relationship with the Iranian people.
The analysts never explain what will occur if the Iranian government prevents or stops the US from establishing this relationship. What would be the next option? The Iranian government survives on bashing the US and it blames America for just about everything negative in Iran. A relationship such as the one suggested by these analysts would assume that the people of Iran want the US to intervene in their government but there is insufficient evidence to support that contention.
Switching to clotheslines
Thank you for the well-written Aug. 24 article, "As an energy-saver, the clothesline makes a comeback," about reclaiming the right to dry and the importance of clotheslines. In 2001, Americans used 66 billion kilowatt hours of electricity to run clothes dryers, according to the Department of Energy. Electric dryers are responsible for about 6 percent of all electricity used in homes and cost the average household about $100 per year. Yet most families could readily switch to using clotheslines, for at least part of the year. This is an easy and cost-saving opportunity to reduce our ecological impact. Where this opportunity is hindered, citizens should reclaim their right to dry.
Sustainable Communities Project Director Worldwatch Institute
I was heartened to read that hanging clothes out to dry is making a comeback in the US. Here in Germany, hanging clothes out to dry – usually on a standing rack – is the norm. Many, if not most, people do not even own dryers. Those who do normally use them to dry only large items, such as sheets or towels. Indeed, hanging clothes to dry not only brings a natural freshness to the wash that one cannot achieve with a dryer, it also saves the color of clothing and keeps clothes from shrinking.
Investing more in America's youth
After reading the Aug. 22 editorial, "Better models for juvenile justice," I believe that even though there is no guaranteed method to eliminate juvenile delinquency, the best policy is to work on eliminating the need for juvenile systems in the first place. Specifically, the US needs to come to value its children more and invest more in their upbringing.
Granted, there are obvious problems with the juvenile justice system. These need to be fixed along with problems with the education system in the US. If the US can make these improvements, the need for juvenile justice models will decline sharply.
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