Everyone should read Don Irwin's article (June 2) "Marshall Plan: Savior of Europe." It is a lesson for us all in how to rebuild devastated lands, in how to transmute an "enemy" into a partner. The Marshall Plan has been cited as the greatest single feat in building the foundation for pluralist democracy in West Germany.
In hindsight, the concept is very simple. It is based on the principle that it is in our best interest to have the interest of other people at heart. In practice, it was a way to take the taxpayers' money and give it to the Europeans so the Europeans could prosper and buy American products, employing Americans in the process.
But what course do the affluent nations of the world take today to ease the burden of the less fortunate? The overwhelming monetary support is in arms and military assistance, and the negative results are consistently evident in the suffering of the people. In this age, war and violence target primarily the economy and well-being of the civilian population. It is unfortunate that it is not as evident to us that this path is to our own detriment as well.
I hope we can learn from the achievements of the Marshall Plan. Our country performed a great humanitarian service then. We need to change our priorities, and perform that same service today--to the benefit of all of us.