The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has focused our attention on the critical need of this country to have a president who is immensely knowledgeable about foreign affairs ("Pakistan in Crisis," Dec. 28). Our security is significantly dependent upon our leader's ability to correctly interpret the significance of international events.
The current field of presidential candidates, with the exception of two individuals, is sorely lacking in international expertise. These two individuals, one in each party, are Sen. Joseph Biden (D., Del.) and Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.). They deserve more serious consideration than they have thus far received.
Joan and Donald LaVan
In his Dec. 27 column, "The poor are targets again," George E. Curry accused Bill Cosby of picking on the poor when he explained that the poor can help themselves with improved lifestyle choices. It is amazing that anyone can feel Cosby is wrong as he attempts to help people improve their lives.
In the '60s, as an assistant secretary of labor, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who later became a U.S. senator from New York, led a study that found that single-parent families were the biggest problem in the inner cities. For his efforts, he was charged with racism and his report was ignored.
Today, there are many conservative blacks who concur that there is much the poor can do on their own to greatly improve their circumstance. It is not making the poor "targets," it is citing things that the poor can do themselves to rise above their station. Curry's stance that the poor are victims of the system, just as the Rev. Jessie Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton teach, is of no real benefit to those in need.
Re: "Impeach Cheney now," Dec. 27:
Impeachment of the vice president is the minimum statement that Congress can make to start to redeem our republic. Absent impeachment, we have become exactly what the founders feared most: a government no longer of laws, but of men.
It is unnecessary to list the many abuses of power by this administration. The time has passed when the case for impeachment needs explaining. The explanation is owed by those in Congress who advocate doing nothing.
It is intriguing how we take democracy for granted in the Western world, and yet we see the news that former Pakistan Prime Minister Bhutto gave her life for democracy ("Pakistan in Crisis," Dec. 28).
Pakistan, a big nuclear player, is at a crossroads. They can turn to fair elections, or they can fall further into chaos. The world must hope that it is the former and not the latter.
Steven M. Clayton
No one is contending that Abu Zubaydah is a nice guy. In his Dec. 23 column, "In defense of waterboarding," Mark Bowden asserts that this enemy of ours "richly deserves" to be killed and that his alleged torture by waterboarding while in CIA custody was eminently defensible, whether useful information resulted from it or not.
The trouble is, one rarely faces the decision whether or not to torture one's friends for information. International agreements governing the humane treatment of prisoners exist precisely to protect the lives and dignity of those considered enemies by their captors. No one - neither interrogators nor officials at the highest echelons of a nation's government - must be permitted to strip even enemy prisoners of their human rights.
With prominent political personalities boldly declaring that the United States is a Christian nation, I find it curiously edifying that this article appeared just two days before the celebration of the birth of Jesus. When the founder of Christianity commanded us to love our enemies, I think he meant not to torture them.
Chester County Religious Campaign Against Torture