ISSUE | ABORTION

A video review

I am amazed that the commentary by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.J.) about Planned Parenthood's supposed videos of the dismemberment of a fetus and illegal selling of its body parts was printed ("It's time to demand answers of Planned Parenthood," Sunday). Those videos were highly edited by the Center for Medical Progress, an antiabortion group. In July, a New York Times editorial exposed their lies after a years-long attack on Planned Parenthood.

The nonprofit organization does not sell body parts. Perhaps Smith should demand truthful answers from the Center for Medical Progress instead of perpetuating falsehoods on a subject that shows his ignorance.

JoAnn Williams, Media

ISSUE | DEER CONTROL

Tally the toll on cars

Regarding the commentary "Control deer population with natural predators" (Nov. 18), ask the owners of damaged cars whether they prefer to wait for nature's deer predators to begin to cull the out-of-control deer population or have an extended hunting season and increased kill allowances for hunters to thin the herd now.

For every deer I see dead along the road, there is a car owner dealing with insurance or repair bills. In Montgomery County, I have hit two deer in the last three weeks, leaving one dead on the side of the road and a totaled car, and a buck running off injured (which hopefully has died) after causing more than $2,500 in damages.

Brad Tiffany, Phoenixville

ISSUE | EDUCATION

Kids deserve books

It is devoutly to be wished that each elementary classroom have a library ("Back to the bookshelves," Wednesday). Kudos to Alison Walters at the Clara Barton School.

But more to the point would be for each school to have a full library for the use of the entire school and a certified, full-time librarian on the staff.

If Philadelphia is truly to be a world-class city, it must give the education of its children primary importance in the city budget and focus. To leave schools and books in the dust is to ignore the city's future.

Anne Slater, volunteer, West Philadelphia Alliance for Children, Ardmore

ISSUE | TERRORISM AND REFUGEES

'We are a better country than that'

I am the grandson of immigrants. My family (six uncles and an aunt) served in World War II. One landed on Omaha Beach; three saw action in the Pacific. My father was killed in a naval battle off Guadalcanal.

I proudly served my country as a naval officer for 41/2 years in the Philippines and the South China Sea.

I am embarrassed by the cowardly and biased action taken by Congress in passing legislation that would effectively deny refuge to Syrian families escaping the ravages of war ("Refugees: House approves more stringent screening," Friday). That is not the America my grandparents emigrated to. That is not the America my family and I served. We are a better country than that.

Jim Ginty, Philadelphia

Trust Obama's course

The Cambridge dictionary defines a knee-jerk reaction as "happening or existing as a result of habit, rather than careful consideration."

The same politicians who led the charge into Iraq are again beating the drums of war. The Republicans hope to win votes with fearmongering. Why not? It worked in 2004.

We need to keep our composure, our sense of right and wrong. Are we ready to throw our sons and daughters into a fight that may make the battle of Fallujah look like a training exercise? House-to-house combat, IEDs, can't tell the good guy from the bad guy? The Islamic State is trying to pull us into another military escalation.

I put my faith in one of the few people who kept a cool head before the Iraq War. I trust President Obama to keep us safe. The GOP still hasn't learned that when you jerk your knee hard enough, you can hit yourself in the face.

Ed Truncale, Erial, etruncale@comcast.net

Republican rhetoric misses core values

If the game plan of the Republicans is to promote homegrown terrorism with their blatantly prejudiced rhetoric, they are on track. Most of the Parisian terrorists were homegrown, their resentment fueled by perceived prejudice.

The Paris attacks have given free rein to the xenophobic tendencies of the far right. New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo's mouthing of the anti-immigration mantra of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump should give all moderates pause ("After Paris, U.S. must lead," Thursday). When we lose the values that make America the hope of the downtrodden, it is time to reevaluate the people who represent us in Washington.

Jo-Ann Maguire, Norristown

Not the time for more 'boots on the ground'

The war drums beat louder every day. Members of Congress and presidential candidates scream for more boots on the ground to defeat the Islamic State "over there so that we don't have to fight them here."

How many of these politicians and candidates have served or would send their children to serve? These armchair patriots are afraid to vote on a use-of-force resolution, fearful that they might need to explain their vote in the next election cycle. Yet they can do nothing but criticize President Obama's policies, which seek to avoid another costly ground war.

President Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Bush, Rubio, Cruz, Christie - really? The thought of any of these bombastic, xenophobic neophytes being my commander-in-chief is frightening. That they have traction with some of my country men and women is even more frightening.

Al Hanssen, Philadelphia