Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of August 29, 2011

Readers write in with praise for a US Department of Peace and ire at US support for Pakistan in spite of its poor record on women.

Peace – practical, not fanciful

In the July 18 issue, Michael Shank has written a compelling yet distressing commentary about America's low ranking on the current Global Peace Index ("Peace is profitable: time for the US to invest").

Mr. Shank recommends that the United States must invest further in the infrastructure of peace. In addition to a growing number of university programs offering degrees in conflict resolution and peace studies, there are proposals before the US House of Representatives to establish a cabinet-level Department of Peace, and a "Smart Security Platform for the 21st Century," which includes a Department of Peace.

This is not as fanciful and idealistic as it might seem. The multi-disciplines of conflict resolution and peace studies have developed to the point where theory and practice exist to build a new world where the culture of war could at least be complemented by a culture of problem solving to address the growing number of complex, interacting challenges facing the planet.

Dennis J.D. Sandole

Professor of conflict resolution and international relations

School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

George Mason University

Arlington, Va.

Pakistan's abuse of women

Walter Rodgers's July 25 column ("'War of terror' against women in Pakistan: Will US act?") articulating Pakistan's "abhorrent treatment of women" rightly demands of the US government the "backbone" to cut further aid to a dark and unstable country it's been courting until recently via "hundreds of millions of dollars," hoping it might sometime become a dependable terrorist-fighting partner.

Expediency has led our government in times past to "partner" with questionable entities to accomplish political ends, usually with equally questionable success. Clearsighted moral courage looks for other solutions.

In this particular instance, is the behavior of the terrorists Pakistan shields any worse than its government, which allows its female citizens to be killed, raped, maimed, and humiliated to fulfill a criminal, medieval male code?

America must forge a political path representative of the enlightened, humane people we purport to be, while doing right by the women of Pakistan.

Julie C. Foskett

Edmonds, Wash.

How can one not be furious at the US for continuously pouring money into Pakistan while ignoring the country's dismal human rights record on women?

Yes, our own country is far from perfect. Yes, we have the highest incarceration rate in the world. Yes, we must respect the culture and customs of the countries we have dealings with. But when, too, must we stop ignoring the obvious suffering and abuse and make some kind of effort to put an end to it?

Carl Mattioli

Newtonville, Mass.

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