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Why Dams Create Social Destruction

The article ''Dam Brings Water - and Myths - to a Tiny, Parched Kingdom,'' Jan. 26, disturbs me. Large-scale public-works projects like dams have a problematic history in developing nations. Dam projects often move hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples from their homelands.

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Other problems include large-scale environmental destruction. For example, the author mentions little about the destruction of wildlife species and hundreds of habitats, as well as the failure of most wildlife-relocation projects that go along with dam building.

Many dams, like other large-scale public-works projects in developing nations, rarely deliver on the promises of progress, prosperity, and cheap electricity forever, but always create environmental and social destruction for those who happen to be in the way of the concrete and metal.

Andrew Savagian Madison, Wis.

Money wasted on Whitewater

Regarding the front-page article ''Tale of First Lady Who Sits in a Washington Hot Seat..,'' Jan. 19: If the Republicans in Congress and Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R) of New York insist on spending time and money keeping the first lady on the ''hot seat'' for their own political advantage, why don't they pay the $27 million-plus for doing it? The taxpayers' money could be used for a better purpose.

Helene S. Maris

East Brunswick, N.J.

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