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Blame the Consumers, not the Loggers

As one who is unashamedly a lifelong lumberman, I'm commenting on the article "Subsidized Timber Sales Raise Public-Benefit Issue," June 20. I think it might be interesting for non-lumbermen to hear one man's thoughts.The first question one must ask is, "Why are trees cut, anyway?" While there are many reasons (agricultural clearing, water reservoirs, roads, housing developments, etc.) certainly one of the main reasons is to produce raw materials for housing, furniture, and paper products. The world as we know it could not function without the products of the forest. Said another way, demand by the consumer determines that trees will be cut, not some irrational desire by lumbermen to see trees fall down. With trees being our only renewable resource, people should understand that cutting them is not "bad," in fact, it is good. Humanity has the opportunity to use the current generation of trees, while at the same time the next generation is maturing. To allow the trees to mature, decline, fall down and decay is an unjustifiable waste when judged by contemporary standards. The lumber industry in the past has not been responsible about the environment when viewed through today's eyes. However, the basic feeling of Americans is changing toward the environment - individuals and businesses will become more responsible with time. But the increase in cost that comes with environmental awareness needs time to infiltrate the economy. Instead of laying blame, look into the mirror, for it is you and I, as consumers, who create the demand. Thus it is our responsibility to clean up our mess in the short run, and prevent it in the long run. Donald Bradley, Plainfield, N.H.

Israel's policies in the territories Regarding the article, "Barbed Wire, Bullets Mark Israeli Push in West Bank," June 13: Except for minor exceptions, the article is written from the Palestinian point of view. Almost all the sources are Palestinian. This is very important because this results in a one-sided perspective. The author did not interview one official from the Israeli government, military, or police. The intifadah is where the real violence is going on - and it's Palestinian violence. The settlers carry guns for defensive, not offensive, reasons. The general media's use of the term "occupied" is a misnomer. There are many people who feel that Israel's presence in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza is both right and just. There are areas to be negotiated - let the media try to present a more-balanced historical view. Moses M. Twersky, Brookline, Mass.

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The article, which reports on stepped-up Israeli land-grabs in the West Bank - over 32,000 acres in the past three months alone - and the attendant displacement and intimidation of Palestinians, is disturbing. As a result, harm is done to Israel itself. Its moral foundations are eroded because Palestinians are denied their basic human rights. Grievous harm is also done to the Palestinians. Are they less human, less worthy of land, water, home, education, political rights than the Israelis? The US government neglects the needs of its own people, particularly in affordable housing, yet subsidizes Israel at an annual rate of billions! I have yet to hear one person support the expansionist policies of the Shamir government. Thus I am puzzled how Congress gets such a contrary message. Lizabeth H. Furst, Springdale, Ark.

Regrettably, it is we United States taxpayers who are footing the major bills for the encroachments the author describes. Without our annual billions in foreign aid, the Israeli government could not possibly offer the preferential mortgages, guaranteed loans, land value discounts, equipment grants, tax reductions, infrastructure subsidies, and other financial inducements currently enticing Jews to settle on Arab turf. Texas Congressman John Bryant's proposal to withhold from that aid the equivalent of what Israel spends on illegal settlements deserves fuller consideration. L. Humphrey Walz, Janesville, Wis.

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