Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Blackwater security, candidates' increase of financial support, the Amish example of forgiveness, the consequences of Sputnik, and women athletes.

Even with Blackwater, security is still lacking

Regarding the Oct. 3 article, "More questions on Blackwater," I think several critical points were missing from this Blackwater report. First, the idea that Blackwater has been involved in only 195 shooting incidents cannot be correct. , If you asked Iraqis, I think they would say an astounding number have been shot at by US contractors, which clearly doesn't help our cause. Second, the fact that contractors do not stop driving when shooting needs more explanation. Generally, if they stop, they will be killed. If they get into trouble they can not count on US military support. Which brings me to the most important point. The actions of contractors are clearly hurting our effort and are morally questionable. However, I can't really fault them. This activity is required for contractors to have a chance to survive their job.

Still many incidents have happened on the four-mile stretch of road from the Baghdad airport to the Green Zone. If we have not secured this relatively short main supply route in the capital city four years into the war, what the heck are we doing?

Doug Lawrence
Lynchburg, Va.

Candidates made only of money?

In response to the Oct. 4 article, "Clinton moves up in polls and money," I am disturbed by an apparent trend where journalists equate a candidate's ability to raise massive sums of money to becoming the candidate of choice. Whatever happened to investigating the candidate's stand on the crucial issues: war, hunger, genocide, etc.? Whatever happened to assessing the values and morals of the candidate? Can he or she be trusted to represent our country, or has he or she already sold out to greedy power brokers who are funding the campaign?

These are things that a truly objective reporter should be bringing to our attention, so that we might be weaned away from the "sound bites" of media that try to teach us which way to vote. If one must report on the amounts of money being raised for a campaign, let us discover who is donating this money, and why they are collecting massive amounts, and what they expect as a result of their efforts. Then, perhaps, we can gain a clearer picture of our candidates and what they stand for. If we do not demand answers to these questions, then we shall get what we deserve – or has that already happened?

James Harris
Angola, Ind.

The Amish are an example for all

Thank you so much for publishing the Oct. 2 Opinion piece, "Why the Amish forgive so quickly." The Amish are an example to all of us around the world. We all can and should learn from them how to forgive and why it is important. As one farmer explained, "The acid of bitterness eats the container that holds it."

Rachel Robertson
Fremont, Calif.

Negative result from Sputnik

In response to the Oct. 4 Opinion piece, "Blessings of Sputnik": There is no doubt that there were positive consequences in American education for the shock that was Sputnik, but there were also some negative ones. Our emphasis on math and the sciences after Sputnik led to the educational disaster that was "the new math."

Those who want to reform education should find out what works before they "deform" education once again. New math failed because, among other things, insufficient attention was paid to teacher input and feedback, a mistake that is currently being made yet again under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Herb Yood
Orleans, Mass.

Women are strong athletes, too

Regarding the Oct. 1 "Letter from Shanghai" entitled "Women's World Cup: Unexpected thrills": The comments took me back to the 1970s when chauvinists taunted women, proclaiming they couldn't do such-and-such or that if they could do it, they couldn't do it well. We've proven those guys wrong on many fronts. Don't take us down that road again and say that a woman "plays like a man." She plays like any competent athlete would when given the opportunity. We should commend these players, but do so with respect, not condescension.

Joan Dawson

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.

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