Canada can help Afghanistan more
Regarding your Sept. 10 editorial, "Cold feet in a hot spot," as a Canadian with fellow soldiers in Afghanistan, I can understand why a lot of people want the military out of there. That might not be a good response, as the country will be even more fragile and easy to regain for the Taliban.
Our government, however, should spend much more money to reconstruct and help Afghans. It is electricity, water, medicine, and security they need. And there is still too much corruption. It is always "ordinary" people who pay the price. What do they have to lose now? Are we the ones fueling terrorism? I wonder sometimes.
What would Buddha do?
In response to the Sept. 10 article, "Indian farmers oppose giant Buddha statue," on the plan to erect the world's tallest bronze Buddha statue at Kushinagar, I am particularly concerned that the farmers are likely to be evicted because of the project.
As a Buddhist, I would like to say that the plan does not align with the Buddha's wish for peace in the world. If that project was motivated by worldly expectations for more business and more money, it is completely against the Buddha's wish and teaching. The Buddha and his teaching live within the heart of each follower, not with such a gross image.
In the 8th century, the Japanese emperor had the famous bronze Buddha built at Nara, but very few people are aware of how much harm the construction did to the environment. A mountain from which they took firewood is still bald even now. In conclusion, the planners, if they are Buddhists, should sincerely think what it is to be Buddhists.
A zoo of outrage
In response to Char Miller and Anene Ejikeme's Sept. 7 Opinion piece, "A zoo replays old stereotypes of Africa," the authors of the piece have layered their own prejudices and interpretations upon well-educated, sophisticated, articulate workers of Masai origin. It is they who abase the Masai, not Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. The authors write, "Imagine a zoo in Africa, where visitors are encouraged to 'Meet an American and learn how their lives intersect with the large mammals of the Rocky Mountains.' " Americans and the intersection of their lives with animals are on display throughout America in late summer: in county and state fairs that are attended by millions.
The supposed denigration of the Masai at the African village exhibit is only in the minds of the authors.
More than house value
Regarding your Sept. 6 editorial, "Heading off subprime woes," if a solution is found for subprime lending, we must remain aware of the value of a house (home) to those who are residing in it. The value to some of these folks is, in many cases, more than the dwelling's "cash value."
The house is the residents' nest. This is where many strive to be: in a home where they feel safe and the surroundings are familiar. When an opportunity to live in a nicer dwelling comes along, and money is available with a monthly payment that appears to be within the buyer's budget, he or she takes advantage of the situation.
Many of the people hurt by the subprime mess have not bought or sold property frequently, so they have little experience in real estate matters, and their current home (nest) is put at risk. When the foundation of their lives is threatened, they are not able to make sound judgments and are vulnerable to unscrupulous lenders.
St. Paul, Minn
Presidents should not use generals as shields
Regarding the Sept. 11 article, "Petraeus, Crocker try to buy time for US efforts in Iraq," there is a familiar tracking of the way this war is being explained in certain leadership circles. The echoes of the Vietnam War are there to be heard. The Johnson administration skillfully abdicated much of the responsibility for Vietnam to Gen. William Westmoreland, who grimly and bravely tried to win the war.
Today, President George Bush waits, hopes, and points to Gen. David Petraeus as "the expert" and is slowly, skillfully giving the impression that he, the president, will let General Petreaus make the call on what is needed. This is an unfortunate turn of events.
As the great President Harry S. Truman said, "The buck stops here!" And so it does with the commander in chief.
R. Ryder Stevens
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.
Mail letters to Readers Write and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to OpEd.