Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Letters to the editor

War clouds

Overstretched U.S. is now the enemy of resourceful deliverance

Editor, The Times:

How should the U.S. respond to the border conflict between Israel and Lebanon? ["Israeli forces push deeper into Lebanon; Rice visits Beirut," Times, News online, July 24.] Our range of options may be severely limited. We've made a wrong turn into Iraq, overspent, and now have few resources or international goodwill to apply elsewhere.

Laying aside the issue of the correctness of Israel's response to Hezbollah's provocation, what should the U.S. response be, considering the Middle East as a whole?

Along with somehow finding the resources to replace Israel's precision-guided munitions, we should come to the assistance of the half-million displaced Lebanese.

The pity is — and we will see this play out time and time again across the globe — U.S. resources are exhausted. Many of our choices squander already precious resources that undermine national security on both sides of our border.

We need a better concept of who our enemy is. We need to make sure our real enemies are well targeted, and that the results of our actions do not have a multiplier effect for making new enemies.

Being the best in the world for creating enemies — in Lebanon or anywhere else — is not an option.

— Lee James, Coupeville

Ethos of destruction

Israel is being condemned almost universally for overreacting [" 'Unbelievable' losses, terror as civilians flee missiles," page one, July 24].

Many innocent Lebanese have suffered death or personal injury or property [loss]. But taken in perspective, the injury doesn't compare to that suffered in the bombings of London and Dresden during World War II, nor the napalm bombing and torching of homes in Vietnam, which some people were prone to justify.

The Israeli government says its objective is to force Hezbollah out of a buffer zone, to be turned over to international and/or Lebanese military. If this happens, it could be beneficial to the Lebanese people.

But don't expect the Lebanese to be grateful to the Israelis any more than the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were grateful to the United States for ending World War II with the atomic bomb.

However, much of the rest of the world was grateful, which may be the case again.

— Jack David Israel, Bellevue

Friends to the death

When you have been attacked, and you fear for your life and the lives of your family, you may lash out at all around you, even those who had no part in the attack. Sometimes that is understandable.

But in that case, your true friends are not those who egg you on with harsh talk of your right to defend yourself, and of the nastiness of your enemies.

Your true friends are those who try to calm you down, help you come to grips with the consequences of your own actions, and look for more rational ways to ensure your safety.

— James Eachus, Lynnwood

Your new country calls

For those who claim to be ashamed to be an American ["Folly of war: The partial watchdog," Northwest Voices, July 22], I will buy each and every one of you a one-way trip to the Middle Eastern countries that do not live in a democratic society, and see how long you last.

These countries are the very ones that have made it their business to take over all oil fields, which Israel does not have, and professed to kill all Americans who do not believe the way their religion teaches them.

In case these un-Americans do not have a clue, Israel is a democratic country. [Israelis] have rights, just like we do, they vote for their president, just like we do, and have trades, just like we do. The other countries do not have these freedoms, and this is one of the many reasons why Lebanon and Palestine want to regain control of Israel.

I have never been ashamed of being an American in all my 67 years of living. I may not always agree with our elected officials and president, but I can still vote against them, if I so choose.

— Patsy Gee, Federal Way

Mother of intervention

Recently, your president vetoed the research into stem cells from human embryos as he said it was murder ["Bush's first veto kills extra funds for embryonic stem-cell work," page one, July 20].

This week he said that the war in Lebanon, by the Israelis, could go on for another week before he would think of U.N. involvement.

Here is a man saying the use of American embryos in medical research is murder, yet he is prepared to see hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent Lebanese die, in the name of peace. Does this mean an American embryo is worth more than an innocent Lebanese?

— Robert Pallister, Punchbowl, Australia

School of hard knocks

Graduating at the bottom

I was saddened to hear the University of Washington request full tuition-setting authority (TSA) from the state ["If colleges get to set own tuition, prepay plan may suffer," page one, July 24].

The premise of its request seems fair enough: As an under-funded state institution, we would like to provide a quality education to our students at a level comparable to our peers; if you do not provide us with the requisite funding, we request that we have the flexibility to set our own tuition so that we may collect the necessary funds to compete.

But there are major flaws underlying this request.

First off, let's not forget what happened in 2001 when the state gave the UW full TSA for all students, except resident undergraduates, for six years, not unlike what the university is proposing now; the university immediately raised tuition at the law school by approximately 50 percent.

Secondly, it seems hypocritical for a school that touts that it has among the highest number of Pell Grant recipients to desire a high tuition and high aid model. Even with Pell Grants, students need to supplement tuition with additional funding, which usually materializes in the form of tens of thousands of dollars of debt/loans, (aka financial aid).

Disillusioned idealist and alumnus believing public schools were actually supposed to be available to the masses,

— Jonathan Lee ( '06 Seattle University School of Law), Bellevue

A clean finish

Try the chenin blanc

"Bacteria pry raw oysters off menu" [Local News, July 22], the survey of oyster-eating practices in summer months, fails to point out that Vibrio bacteria are easily killed when the oysters are accompanied by a 12-percent solution of alcohol.

In other words, a glass of white wine.

— Ronald Holden, Belltown

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company


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