Loan for GM not good for America
Regarding the Sept. 23 Opinion piece, "Why GM needs a government loan": The challenges the author cites are the exact reasons GM should not be bailed out. These challenges have been brewing for years. What did GM do in the interim? Build and promote large gas-guzzling vehicles. Why reward incompetence? GM had decades to reinvent vehicles.
No, the loans should go to help start up the mass transit systems we never should have gotten away from. That will provide the jobs the author of this commentary threatens will be taken away.
Thirty years ago, the American auto industry veered off the path of energy efficiency and economy. In search of quick profits, they chose to make enormous, gas-guzzling vehicles. Americans purchased what was presented to them. The auto industry didn't have to be in this position.
Before the American people open up their wallets to give GM a loan, maybe we should consider how it has spent its own money.
Most recently, GM spent hundreds of millions of dollars to bring to market the second generation of the Cadillac CTS-V. This $60,000 car has a 556-horsepower engine, can go from zero to 60 in under four seconds, and has a top speed of 193 m.p.h. It does all this while getting 15 miles to a gallon of gas.
I'm sure the workers and managers of GM can find the vision and resources to contribute to a transportation system that will demonstrate American self-reliance and ingenuity. And do it without taxpayer backing.
St. Louis, Mo.
Israel's democracy lacks definition
In regard to the Sept. 24 Opinion piece, "Israel's slipping democracy": The article is on point but, nevertheless, quite an understatement. Israel's non-Jewish population suffers from distinct second-class citizenship. The judiciary, hardly independent, usually does the Israel Defense Force's will when it comes to matters such as the wall in the West Bank. And the influence of the ultraorthodox on politics is effectively a tyranny of the minority.
Further, while the writer uses the term "constitutional" at several points in the piece, this obscures the fact that Israel has no constitution, primarily because it cannot resolve what it means to be a Jewish state and, at the same time, a democratic state.
Robert D. Brooks
U.S. must conduct Pakistan raids for security
In regard to the Sept. 15 article, "Raids into Pakistan: What US authority?": Pakistan has almost no control over what happens in its Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which border Afghanistan. Insurgents conduct raids and operations from Pakistan against US and Afghan forces within Afghanistan. They then retreat back into Pakistan. The Pakistani military intelligence service and politicians are either impotent or choose not to take action against those in the FATA.
What choice does the US have, given this situation? We either reinforce the insurgents' behavior by allowing them to get away with terrorist activities, or we follow them home to make sure it doesn't happen again. Diplomacy does not always work. We would like Pakistan to take care of its own problems, but it either can't or won't.
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