Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the US's ability to stop Iran's nuclear program, fighting Al Qaeda, passports and a nationwide ID system, and how trial and error allows for progress.

Only the US can stop Iran's nuclear program

Regarding the Nov. 1 article, "Middle East racing to nuclear power": The industrialized world can only afford to pay lip service to the US on opposing Iran's nuclear program because these countries are dependent on Iran's oil. This gives Iran the money and confidence to continue with its nefarious nuclear program. Though China, Russia, and Europe may agree that Iran is quickly becoming a nuclear threat to world peace, they cannot afford to sanction Iran or other Arab countries with nuclear ambitions.

Only the US has the means and the courage to stop a nuclear holocaust.

Ann Ashworth
Anaheim, Calif.

A red light to fighting Al Qaeda

In response to the Oct. 19 article, "A green light to oust Al Qaeda": As shown by the bomb blasts that welcomed former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto home, the alliance between her and President Pervez Musharraf hardly portends an end to Al Qaeda in Pakistan. Quite to the contrary, this undemocratic union of two leaders will be a lightning rod for further extremism. Both Mr. Musharraf and Ms. Bhutto are seen as exponents of US policy, which is detested throughout the region.

The US should desist from backing its favorite dictator(s) du jour and instead should invest in boosting the tattered institutions of democracy in the region. Even if the results of free and fair elections may not be to America's liking in the short term, this truly democratic course of action will build goodwill with Pakistanis and serve the US well in the long term.

Yousaf Butt
Cambridge, Mass.

Passports should act as an ID

Regarding the Nov. 5 article, "Why states are resisting US on plan for REAL ID": Technology is always going to be topped; there will always be people who can be bought. Therefore, it is naive to believe that a nationwide ID system would protect us from terrorists. It would, however, infringe upon our privacy enormously.

If residents of noncompliant states could use passports as ID to board planes, why not simply require fliers to carry passports as identification? If you can afford a plane ticket, you can afford a passport – and it would probably generate revenue for the government rather than increase our debt. If you don't fly, you don't need to incur the expense.

Let's put our money into paying off our national debt and taking care of our health and educational needs, rather than pouring it into schemes that undermine our freedom and safety while pretending to protect us.

Sheri McGuinn
Lakeside, Ariz.

From trial and error, progress

Regarding the Nov. 5 article, "A reality check on dreams for space: the repairs": The reader is led to the conclusion that space is too far, space travel costs too much, we don't know what we are doing, space travel doesn't accomplish anything, and it is too dangerous.

Yet the real lesson to learn is how much adaptability and innovation we need to cope with the unknown and unexpected. Most learning takes place on the job, on the spot, by trial and error. By trying something and observing what didn't work, we learn things. If you never make the attempt, if you never make the mistake, chances are you will never learn anything. This article seems to look at this event – the necessary improvised repair to the solar panel on the International Space Station – and see a failure. I see a great success.

Thomas Lenon
Skandia, Mich.

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 pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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