Letters to the Editor

Readers write about why President Bush may not be given a lot of credit, the need for Nicaragua to work with international donors, and how the time has come for compassion in Gaza.

Why President Bush may not get a lot of credit

In regard to the Jan. 8 Opinion piece, "Why doesn't Bush get more credit?": Author John Hughes proclaims that "Sadly, Bush currently seems to get little credit for ridding the world of Saddam Hussein, surely one of the world's most fearsome despots since Adolf Hitler."

He fails to mention that Mr. Hussein was our close ally in the Middle East under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. If he was, in fact, Hitler-like, why did we embrace him until he invaded Kuwait? How was it that we didn't recognize the Hitler in him until August 1990? Indeed, why did he remain our ally after he gassed the Kurds in 1988 on Mr. Reagan's watch? Why did Reagan say and do nothing in response to that atrocity?

As far as the US is concerned, it seems Hussein didn't acquire his despot status until he threatened US oil interests.

David Henson
Akron, Ohio

I was pleasantly surprised by the balance of John Hughes's commentary, considering the title. However, his statements regarding torture as being the misguided actions of individual soldiers ring false. Those actions started in Afghanistan at Bagram, and were the result of a program developed from observations of torture in past wars that recognized that it brought little truthful evidence. Those who developed these torture policies will be brought to light sooner or later.

Deb Wickersham
Roseville, Calif.

Nicaragua must work with donors

Regarding the Dec. 30 Opinion piece, "Don't let Nicaragua's Ortega become a Mugabe": This commentary highlights an important point: A prosperous and democratic Nicaragua is crucial to the stability of the region. In 2005, the federal government's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) approved a $175 million grant to Nicaragua to help that country fight poverty and stimulate economic growth.

Recent actions, however – leading up to, during, and following the Nov. 9 elections in Nicaragua – run counter to the MCC's innovative mission to maximize the effectiveness of US foreign aid by targeting countries with a strong commitment to good governance.

While he calls for US government agencies to react to this, author Kevin Casas-Zamora does not mention that the MCC board of directors took action related to the situation in Nicaragua during its most recent meeting. On Dec. 11, the MCC board suspended assistance for new activities under its compact with Nicaragua. MCC's CEO Ambassador John Danilovich has publicly stated that the Nicaraguan government now has an opportunity to implement measures to reverse concerns regarding its commitment to democratic principles. When the MCC board meets again in March 2009, it will assess actions taken by the Nicaraguan government and determine MCC's future action.

The reality is clear: Nicaraguans are held back by actions that make it impossible for innovative US government programs, like those of MCC and other international donors, to work in the current environment.

Aaron Sherinian

MCC Director of Public Affairs

Washington, D.C.

It's time for forgiveness in Gaza

Regarding the Jan. 6 Opinion piece, "After Gaza, how Obama can pick up the pieces": I hope President-elect Obama sees this article and takes it to heart. The time has come for concessions and forgiveness.

Suzanne Connolly
Apopka, Fla.

The Monitor welcomes your letters andopinion 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, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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