McCain's war games

Well, we now know what John McCain's first term in office would be focused on ("McCain: Iraq war can be won, most troops out, by 2013," May 16). His reelection bid would emphasize staying the course in Iraq to finish what he started. Didn't Nixon say something similar about the Vietnam war? Will McCain announce a secret plan to end the war in Iraq soon?

Can America afford a McCain presidency? Troops are stretched to the breaking point. They are doing repeated tours in Iraq and suffering increasing levels of mental-health problems. Yet McCain wants to fight on for five more years. Where will the needed troops come from?

It seems that McCain is as much of a deep thinker about the war in Iraq as President Bush, and, if elected, we would essentially have four more years of Bush. Would McCain ask Dick Cheney to be secretary of defense?

Shouldn't Americans be more concerned with their own problems than sectarian violence in Iraq?

George Magakis Jr.

Norristown

Lebanon tragedy

How is it possible for Trudy Rubin to write about the mess in Lebanon without mentioning the one thing that would save that country's independence ("Bad policies have left Bush little leverage in Lebanon," May 14)? The United Nations and the international community need to live up to their obligations to enforce U.N. resolutions to disarm Hezbollah, a proxy army for Iran and Syria, and to allow the regular army to take control of southern Lebanon.

It is fashionable to blame everything on the United States and President Bush, but Hezbollah's drive to transform Lebanon into an Islamist dictatorship has gotten this far thanks to the world's so-called peacemakers and diplomats.

Kevin Jon Williams

Wynnewood

Don't be greedy

Brad Haynes wrote what I have been saying for years ("A say on pay," May 13). One of the main reasons people come together to create societies is the need for community. We need each other. Without the person changing the diaper or collecting the trash or fixing the home heater, without those who do the millions of small menial tasks throughout society, those sitting in the padded chairs of wealth and power would have nothing at their beck and call. So it makes sense to suggest that the privileged few would be able to live quite well on a half-million a year. This would help ensure that those at the bottom of our economic pile were helped with higher returns.

Ian Wachstein

Collingswood

Guns in parks

The editorial "Guns in national parks: Duck, Bambi!" (Inquirer, May 14) spends so much time flogging the old canard that more gun control yields safer Americans that it completely misses the reality that every state with "right-to-carry" laws has seen a subsequent decrease in overall violent crime.

Why does The Inquirer think that someone carrying a gun will start firing wildly at tourists and deer just because he has stepped into a national park? Do federal lands have that sort of effect on people?

The primary benefit of allowing concealed-carry in national parks is that law-abiding, concealed-carry citizens will no longer become criminals just because they drove through Valley Forge National Park on their way from King of Prussia to Phoenixville.

Charles Hurd

Norristown