Magnitude of blame
The problem with Martha Nussbaum's article is that it seems to distract attention from the horrendous events in Mumbai. It also fails to emphasize the differences between Hindu and Muslim terrorism.
Stories of Hindu mobs massacring Christians and Muslims may well be true, but Hindu militants are not nearly organized or prevalent enough to threaten most of the civilized world. I don't see any evidence of a Hindu jihad that spreads an ideology of hate, under which it is OK to spray machine-gun fire into a railway station or a restaurant, or fly planes full of innocents into buildings full of innocents.
Isolated incidents of Hindu extremism do not add up to a global problem. The threats posed to the world from Muslim terrorism are an order of magnitude greater. Any reasonable debate on terrorism must recognize this problem.
Martha Nussbaum writes that we should not single out Muslim extremists for condemnation because ... why? Because there are other inexcusable groups that exhibit similar behaviors?
I don't get it. Does Nussbaum not notice that our news sources remain chock full of wars, attacks and insurrections linked to Muslim extremists?
To hint that we should not focus on the ever-increasing dangers in the spread of Islamic radicalization because there are other people behaving badly is just plain and reckless foolishness and logic from another universe.
All the faces of terrorism in India have just one face -- the face of the 800-pound gorilla in the room that everyone ignores: religious violence. As long as every religion claims there is an absolute truth, the gorilla will continue its rampage.
Religious violence will end when religions no longer control moral standards while demanding the murder of heretics. There really is only one kind of terrorism, and it continues to rape and murder in the name of God.
I was struck when reading these horrifying articles by how eerily similar they were to stories about holy-site violence and stampedes elsewhere in the world.
Do we need any more proof that consumerism is the dominant "religion" of the United States? And can we opt out of this lemming race before it does us in?
Help for vets is in disarray
Reading The Times on Nov. 25 gave me an extreme case of vertigo. On the front page was the heartbreaking article about the plight of our current veterans -- injured in war and then denied benefits because of questions surrounding the definition of "combat-related" disabilities.
And then there was the Op-Ed article by Adm. Mike Mullen making a case for the importance of giving 100% to our young men and women picking up arms to fight.
It makes you wonder: Does the chairman know what his Pentagon is doing?
As the widow of a patriotic former Marine, I read your news article with fury and horror. If sustaining injuries from roadside bombs and their resulting mayhem isn't regarded as being "disabled in combat," what is?
I donate money to veterans. I regret that I can't support all the deserving servicemen and women who are fighting for our freedom and freedom for other countries. It's a shame that our government can't seem to support them either.
This article should have been placed right next to Mullen's Op-Ed article.
Jo Ann Michetti
Rancho Palos Verdes
The truth about Thanksgiving
Re "Give the little ones a break," editorial, Nov. 26
Your editorial is part of the problem, not the solution.
You wrote, "Claremont parents angry about the pageant can be forgiven for wanting their children to understand the real story of North America's colonization and conquest, but kindergarten might be a trifle early for the full grisly truth."
"Forgiven" for wanting their children and others to know the truth? Wow. Are you arguing that there is no age-appropriate way of teaching young children historical truth, and that therefore half-truths masquerading as fun are proper substitutes?
Your view that complaining parents are "oversensitive" insults them, us Indians and all Americans who want our children to understand history.
We're lucky to live in a nation where we can observe our past without being shackled to it. Presenting the original Thanksgiving in its ironic context can be accomplished without harming 5-year-olds, without making anybody feel guilty and without stealing anybody's fun.
The writer is a member of the Seminole tribe.
Re "Hold the turkey, please," Nov. 27
Cheers to The Times for giving a voice to vegans. Those of us who sit down to a vegan feast on Thanksgiving do not feel at all deprived by the absence of a dead turkey on the table. We feel twice as thankful for our array of colorful, delicious and healthful food as we ever did in our meat-eating days.
Many vegans are celebrating the day not only happily and compassionately but prayerfully: Present at the Animal Acres celebration were Quakers who see animals as encompassed in our commitment to peace.
Gracia Fay Ellwood
As I read professor Juliet Schor's essay, I wondered how she could express fear of "an economic collapse steeper, more widespread and potentially far longer lasting than anything experienced since the 1930s" and simultaneously suggest that we all pitch in to make it worse by curtailing our normal spending.
After a few paragraphs of statistical stew and Church of Stop Shopping silliness, the answer appeared.
Schor is a practitioner of environmental monasticism who sees virtually all consumption as undesirable. Because "by the late 1970s, humans had begun to draw down stocks of 'natural capital' -- that is, degrade the Earth's ecosystems. We're turning arable land into deserts, transforming ocean areas into chemically induced dead zones and heating up the climate."
Essays like this should come with a warning label about the dangers of taking economic advice from a sociology professor.
William R. Snaer
These two articles are linked in a way that may not be evident to the casual reader. The mayor has an ambitious solar plan, but he is contradicting himself by backing the Metro Universal project, for which the public comment period just closed.
If you look at the shade and shadow figures in the draft environmental impact report for this project, you will see that homes in the neighborhood would be covered in shadow during certain times of the day, which might compromise the effectiveness of solar panels on their roofs.The mayor really should take a closer look at the projects he supports instead of just looking at their potential to win elections.