Mourning lost soldiers; the memoirs of George W. Bush; Israeli settlements and Mideast peace

Young victims of war

Re "A family of mourners," Column One, Nov. 11

The Veterans Day story about Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery brought tears to the eyes.

Each Sunday, I read The Times' military deaths column and think of those young people and their families and loved ones and how they must suffer. Normally the ages of the fallen are between the ages of 19 and 26. These are people who will never attend a high school reunion, watch their children graduate or again sit at the dinner table with family for Thanksgiving. They can no longer watch younger ones open presents on Christmas Day.

Sometimes, there are people listed who were over 30. These seem to me to be "old soldiers," and contrary to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, they didn't fade away, they were killed.

Maybe our country is safer because of their sacrifices, or perhaps it is poorer without them.

Bill Homann

San Marcos

The memoirs of George W. Bush

Re "Bush plays defense," Opinion, Nov. 11, and "Bush weighs his presidency," Nov. 9

Reading Doyle McManus' characterization of President Bush's book tour interviews, one wouldn't know that Bush comes across in these interviews as a warm, relaxed, gracious guy comfortable with himself and at ease with the many controversial decisions made during his presidency.

His silence on the troubled Obama administration is admired by all and speaks well of his sense of restraint and concern for the dignity of the office. This is especially admirable since the Democrats have been using him as a political punching bag for seemingly forever.

As a consequence, his approval rating among the public is on the rise. But, then, Bush never got a break from the mainstream media for eight years, so why would it be any different now?

Carl Moore

Lomita

Bush says, "The problem was not that I made the wrong decisions." Sorry, W., that is the problem. You made lots of wrong decisions. Or was it Karl Rove dressed in a flight suit on the deck of the carrier declaring victory in Iraq? Or perhaps was it Vice President Cheney who stood at the presidential podium after the Sept. 11 attacks and told Americans to go shopping?

No amount of suggesting it was otherwise will erase the truth.

Vickie Ahumada

Oceanside

Bush says his biggest mistake during Hurricane Katrina was choosing the wrong photo-op, and that the worst moment of his presidency was when rapper Kanye West called him a racist.

Never mind the destruction of an American city or the hundreds of thousands who became refugees in their own country.

Gary Davis

Los Angeles

Israeli goals and settlements

Re "Settlement fatigue," Editorial, Nov. 11

Where in your editorial was a call on the Palestinians and the Arab world to finally stop trying to delegitimize Israel in their decades-long attempts to end the country's right to exist?

The world continues to focus disproportionately on settlements while ignoring the Palestinians' ongoing incitement against Israel and abuse of the United Nations. They use the Human Rights Council and international legal proceedings to unfairly target Israel.

Israel has repeatedly shown its willingness to relinquish territory for the sake of peace, as it did when it disengaged from the Sinai Peninsula and when it unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. Any peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians would entail relinquishing almost all of the West Bank except for key residential blocs.

Amanda Susskind

Los Angeles

The writer is the Pacific Southwest region director for the Anti-Defamation League.

I share your frustration at watching Israel thumb its nose at yet another U. S. president, in spite of billions in aid every year. Israel's strategy has not changed for 35 years: Build and stall, all the while using security as an excuse.

The United States should not be supporting this illegal activity. Equally immoral is imposing de facto martial law on the Palestinians, also financially and militarily supported by our government. No wonder the Muslim world is suspicious of the United States.

Our government should not give one more dime to Israel as long as a single structure is being built in occupied territory. This might get Israel to finally negotiate with an eye to solving the conflict.

Alex Murray

Altadena

Re "Where is Israel's peace plan?" Opinion, Nov. 10

Robert Danin wants Israel to make concessions similar to what Ariel Sharon did when he forced out thousands of Jews from their homes in Gaza, resulting in a Hamas-run enclave. Unilateral concessions have resulted in outposts of Iran on Israel's doorstep.

When Israelis finally acted stop the attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah, they were chastised for defending themselves. Israel has learned the hard lesson of concessions with nothing in return.

If the Palestinians want peace, they should stop teaching their children that Israel is an illegitimate state.

Rabbi David Eliezrie

Yorba Linda

Danin writes that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "vision for that peace remains a mystery." Netanyahu may not have a formal peace plan, but everyone knows what he wants:

Recognition of Israel as the Jewish state; all of Jerusalem; no right of return; all of the colonies and the connector roads; all the land ensnared by the apartheid wall; Israeli control over the aquifers; Israeli control over Palestinian land, sea and air entry routes; Israeli control over the electrical grid

and communication systems; and Israeli control over Palestinian security forces.

Netanyahu wants the status quo: Israeli apartheid.

Arch Miller

Arcadia

Oklahoma says no to Sharia law

Re "Overwrought in Oklahoma," Editorial, Nov. 11

Having seen the social isolation of Muslim women in London and Dearborn, Mich., and having worked with young Muslim women in Tajikistan, I want to protect Muslim women from Sharia.

So when The Times says the Oklahoma law "was inspired by paranoia, xenophobia and ignorance," I wonder how in this country we plan to protect women and children from a political ideology that hides behind religion.

Linda Cone

Yorba Linda

Oklahoma's ballot measure forbidding judges from consulting international or Islamic law is a perfect example of the demagoguery being employed by the right.

A native of Los Angeles, I went from graduate school at Stanford to teach at Oklahoma State University some years ago. I wound up giving up my tenure because I found

the state to be so uncongenial. This episode confirms the wisdom of my decision.

Glenna Matthews

Laguna Beach

Gay bishop

Re "Gay bishop says he is not being 'run off,' " Nov. 10

Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson's decision to step down is disappointing. One has to wonder what would have happened if other seminal moments in history had been reversed: if JFK had withdrawn from the 1960 presidential campaign because of opposition from Protestant clergymen, or if the Little Rock Nine had retreated to their all-black high school.

Robinson's departure will not reverse the negative winds or heal the fracture within the Anglican communion. Millions, gay and straight, had an investment in his consecration and continued execution.

Kenneth Wesley Livingston

Woodland Hills

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