Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the connections shared by Palestinians and Israelis, why it was foolish of the US to arm Al Qaeda in the 1980s, an pverlooked antiwar view on the Afghanistan conflict, and how some colleges are keeping the "student" in "student athlete."

We need more stories about the connections shared by Israelis and Palestinians

Regarding the March 26 article, "For a few minutes, Arabs and Jews united by music": As an American Jew, I felt honored to read such an objective piece that showed me the capacity for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The article says that "performers and ... survivors connected through music and ... gave one another some empathy for lives intertwined by conflict but separated by borders." The "intertwined" relationship between the Palestinians and Israelis is not always realized, and I think the mention of that connection sparks a feeling of tragedy in the reader in that a peaceful coexistence is so difficult to attain.

After the January conflict in Gaza, during which pain was felt on both sides, such an article might help to lead to a more cooperative relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. I strongly encourage the Monitor to produce similar articles that focus on the compassion of both sides, and perhaps some betterment can come out of the conflict. I know I speak on behalf of my community when, as a religious Jew, I say that all I want is mutual peace. Unfortunately, as an avid reader of several publications, I find that many writers don't focus on this aspect of the struggle. I appreciate the Monitor's doing so.

Joshua Fattal
New York

Arming Al Qaeda was naive of the US

Regarding the April 3 Opinion piece, "Don't be naive about Russia's real aims": I am confused by how author Ariel Cohen can condemn the invasion of Afghanistan by Russia and support the American response, which included arms for Osama bin Laden.

Perhaps if America had stayed out of Afghanistan in the 1980s, the World Trade Center would still be standing. In many ways, the groups America supported and armed served as an incubator for the later rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, including the training and arming of Osama bin Laden. Logic would have it that had we not armed them then, we would not need to shed American blood there now.

Perhaps what is arguably naive is the zealotry of radical and hypocritical policies, dating back to the Carter administration, of arming terrorists in foreign countries.

David Bean
Monterey, Calif.

Some antiwar views are overlooked

Regarding the April 4 article, "Antiwar activists split over Obama's Afghanistan policy": This article, which describes supposedly antiwar legislators and others who support President Obama's escalation of the US war in Afghanistan, ignores a good portion of the antiwar movement.

There are those who believe that Washington's strategy will not accomplish the goals elucidated by Mr. Obama. These people suggest the possibility that those stated goals are not the true intention of Washington in the region. Could it be that the goals Obama explicitly denied (i.e., "We are not in Afghanistan to control that country or to dictate its future") are the true ones?

Ron Jacobs
Asheville, N.C.

Some colleges succeed in keeping the student in 'student athlete'

Regarding the March 30 editorial, "March Madness gone wild": Although I do agree with the basic point of this editorial and would advocate solutions for retaining student athletes longer, I would like you to take a second look at some of the colleges' graduation records.

The University of North Carolina, under both the leadership of Dean Smith and Roy Williams, has kept its athletes in school longer while continuing to be successful in the NCAA rankings. Tyler Hansbrough is quite worthy of a mention of as an exception, and there are several others who are in their third year of education at UNC.

Sometimes a good example or two can show the benefit of a point made – the Monitor's point, in this case. I wish you had mentioned those great examples!

Glenda Burgin
Asheville, N.C.

The Monitor welcomes your letters. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must include your full name; your city, state, and country; and your telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear on our website, www.CSMonitor.com, or in our weekly print edition. E-mail letters to oped@csps.com. Or mail letters to Readers Write, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.

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