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Damming the American River

International influence through exampleRegarding the opinion-page column "Bush's Opportunity to Foster Freedom Around the World," Aug. 8: The author seems to ignore a lot of realities in his desire to impose our "values of freedom and the free enterprise system" on "all mankind." Since he is quite pleased with our recent "triumph" in the Gulf war, the author seems to imply that our enhanced superpower status should be used to bring quite a few countries into line with our policies. Setting a good example here in our own country and being completely nonselective in supporting human rights at home and abroad is a good means of influencing other peoples and countries. Throwing around our military might and boasting about "triumphs" we brought about at the expense of more than 100,000 Iraqis is no way to bring about "freedom and the free enterprise system." We had better clean up our act at home where many of our rights and laws are being trampled in the halls of our lawmakers, where corruption is rampant, where the action word is money, where integrity is almost absent. Then, maybe, we can offer free advice to other states. William V. Kelly, Austin, Texas

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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