Readers Write: US must maintain strong military; Encouraged by fight for common ground; Media violence feeds gun violence

Letters to the Editor for the October 28, 2013 weekly print magazine:

An strong, efficient American military is needed to maintain safety and security at home and abroad; Olympia Snowe's suggestions for how those of us with no political clout can still mobilize for moderation are encouraging; When will we finally understand the consequences of allowing violence to permeate our entertainment?

US must maintain strong military

The Sept. 30 cover story, "America's new isolationism," says that a decade of war has left Americans "disillusioned and doubtful that military ventures are a solution to the world's problems."

The United States must, however, retain the means to use force when it can be justified in order to achieve a reasonable objective. In response to the terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sept. 21, US Special Forces launched separate raids to capture Al Qaeda leaders in Libya and Somalia. One raid (in Libya) was successful, while the other failed.

US politicians must not be naive about the challenges confronting democracies in the 21st century. An efficient and well-disciplined American military force will continue to play a vital role in maintaining safety and security at home and abroad.

Alistair Budd

London

Relieved and encouraged

I was thrilled to read former Sen. Olympia Snowe's Sept. 9 commentary, "Americans must mobilize for moderation," as the inaugural column of the Common Ground, Common Good feature.

I am so relieved to learn that someone who can make a difference within the political climate has come forward with concrete suggestions for those of us with no political clout. I have been so encouraged.

Jenella Smith Emelianov

 Port Huron, Mich.

Media violence, gun violence

The placement – intentional or not – of two statistics next to each other in the Prime Numbers column in the Sept. 30 issue did not escape me: $800 million first-day worldwide sales of the video game Grand Theft Auto V and 85 Americans killed daily on average by guns over the past few years.

When will we finally understand the consequences of allowing violence to permeate our entertainment?

Christine Matthews

Washington, D.C.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.