Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Bush's diplomacy, Benazir Bhutto's will, racial bias in soccer, and the overload of information in schools.

Bush's diplomacy before the Iraq war was sufficient

Regarding the Feb. 6 article "Under Bush's budget, number of diplomats gets a boost": The article starts with the barb "George W. Bush may be tagged the 'undiplomatic' president in some circles," which reinforces a false perception that the president did not sufficiently use diplomacy before taking down the evil regime of Saddam Hussein.

It is worth recalling that at the time when the United States was debating war, President Bush and his administration made strenuous diplomatic efforts to get Hussein to comply with UN resolutions. Likewise, the Bush administration tried mightily to gain the support and cooperation of our major European allies. However, as is well known, several of those allies had improper financial deals with the dictator. Naturally, those allies were unsympathetic to Bush's diplomatic efforts.

Despite seven years of the mainstream press's grind against Bush, the approval rating of the Democratic-controlled Congress is lower than that of the president. It is reassuring that the American public can still think for itself.

Don Boyd

Bhutto's will dissapoints democratic hopes

The Feb. 6 article, "Bhutto's party releases her will to bolster PPP support" brings into sharp focus Benazir Bhutto's legacy as an icon of democracy.

Bhutto's handwritten will bears testimony that her commitment to dynastic politics was paramount in her desire to rule. That she had declared herself life chairperson of the Pakistan People's Party often led Pakistanis to wonder if others in the party would ever have the opportunity to come to the forefront in her lifetime, especially while she was in self-imposed exile.

It is disappointing, nay, depressing, that in her death she closed the doors for other key leaders to come to power by naming her husband, Asif Zardari, and 19-year-old son, Bilawal, as most capable of taking the party forward.

The will, which is being touted by the PPP as validating Zardari's right to become Pakistan's next prime minister, reduces the party's stature to that of a family enterprise, belying its oft-stated commitment to democracy.

Saira Yamin
Arlington, Va.

African soccer not betrayed by bias

Regarding Jonathan Zimmerman's Feb. 7 Opinion piece, "Africans' lingering bias against blacks": African football [soccer] has obviously not developed as well as European football; therefore Europe has better coaches. England has an Italian coach presently, and had a Swedish coach before him. Do the English suffer from Italo-Scandinavian inferiority? No, they want the best coach available.

Thomas MacInnis
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Regarding Mr. Zimmerman's Opinion piece on Africans' racial bias in soccer: Why does Zimmerman not allow for the fact that soccer teams of any color should be able to hire the best coaching staff they can find? Individuals should by judged by their skills, not by skin color. Why should the players with darker skin be prevented from getting the best coaching available, regardless of the coach's shade of skin?

Eric Smith
Yuba City, Calif.

Take time to undo information overload

Regarding Thomas Washington's Feb. 6 Opinion piece, "We're on information overload": I take issue with this school librarian's opinion when he elevates scanning and extracting main ideas from chunks of text above the kind of deep reading a literary novel demands.

In a pressure-cooker educational milieu, there appears to be no time for religion, philosophy, meditation, poetry, drama, or soul-searching art.

We cheat ourselves if we don't take up the challenge of great literature.

Kitty Bryant
Fort Valley, Va.

Thomas Washington's recent Opinion piece on information overload was right on the mark. Students today are inundated with bits and pieces of information that they are supposed to ingest like fast food.

I wonder if students will ever have an opportunity to read Jane Austen at their leisure rather than just read it in order to pass a test of some sort.

The students I teach desire to do their best. They are thoughtful and caring people. I really enjoy teaching them, but I know from talking to them that they are on "information overload."

Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight
Chicago Professor of Education

St. Xavier University

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, 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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