I was appalled by the wink and nod given to the Burmese military dictatorship in the article ``Under Burmese Junta, Tourists' Dollars Rule,'' Dec. 29. Contrary to the author's rosy assessment of political progress, my own memory of recent events includes watching the pain of teenage Burmese students as government bullets were pulled from their bodies and the agony of hearing how friends, unarmed doctors and nurses, were slaughtered by government forces when they tried to stop the attack on Rangoon Hospital.
To encourage tourism is a central component of the regime's plan to gain legitimacy and circumvent widely supported international sanctions. It is one of the few ways that the pariah government can raise hard currency. While your readers have the right to choose whom they support by how they spend their money, they also have the right to know how their money is being spent by one of the world's most violent and repressive dictatorships. David P. Anderson, Swannanoa, N.C. A more realistic view of science
I object to the author's views in the article ``A Sound Method for Forecasting Hurricanes,'' Dec. 20. As a retired engineer, I am presently doing volunteer consulting work in waste-water disposal for an environmental group, trying to save some of our environment from the ravages of overdevelopment.
The author states that there is no substance to the concerns over greenhouse gases. He also disparages the work of Greenpeace. The basis of this news story is the author's interview with one leading atmospheric scientist, William Gray. I have nothing critical to say about Dr. Gray's work; it is widely accepted. However, the author should have included sources from the other side.
I have worked with many scientists who believe that nothing we do in society has any harm to our environment, who rationalize facts, and overlook mountains of data confirming environmental problems.
I am tired of scientists and engineers, and science writers, who put forth the idea that all will be well for ``as long as the sun shines and the rivers flow,'' that no problems exist, and that we may continue in our destructive ways. Charles R. Gahr, Nanoose Bay, British Columbia UN needs a global policeman
United Nations peacekeeping needs to be reexamined, but we should focus on where the problem lies, namely the long-term policy of the United States (``Peacekeeping Fatigue Sets In as Risks Rise for UN Troops,'' Jan. 4).
It is to this nation's credit that our people will not support sending US military forces to deal with every international crisis. We do not want to become an imperial power. But that means that the UN must be given the means to act on its own when the global interest requires it. There is a need for a ``global policeman.''
If the US and NATO don't want that role, let's equip the UN to do it. Such a change would include a better means of decisionmaking, such as a weighted voting system in both the General Assembly and the Security Council, plus some reliable source of income for the UN other than just contributions from national governments.
It would also mean the establishment of a permanent UN police force rather than relying on contingents from national governments, which understandably must always consider their limited national interests.
The world community is moving from being a collection of independent states to being a true global economy. The UN needs to take account of that significant transition, and the US should be leading this effort. Ronald J. Glossop, Edwardsville, Ill. Professor and Coordinator of Peace Studies Southern Illinois University A progressive law for women
I enjoyed the article ``New Statute in California Cuts Women Some Slacks,'' Jan. 3. It provided positive insight into this law and why it is needed. When I began my career in public accounting, I was dismayed to learn my employer would not allow women to wear pantsuits. The ``pants are OK'' law may seem peculiar to some, but it is a necessary and progressive development allowing freedom of choice for all California women. L. Celeste Vafi, San Diego