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Making Headway from The Hague

It was good to read the editorial "Does Nuremberg Live?" Oct. 7, but I was disappointed that not more was said about how much is at stake. The United Nations General Assembly is now considering an international treaty that would establish a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) to try those individuals who violate international law. Such a court would mark a huge advance in replacing the law of force with the force of law in our global community. Resorting to war becomes less of a danger when individuals rather than nation-states are held accountable. Unlike ad hoc tribunals established at Nuremberg, Tokyo, and The Hague, a standing tribunal would serve to deter these horrible crimes instead of taking action only after the victims are dead.

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Failure in The Hague would have a devastating impact on efforts to establish the ICC. Of what value are international courts if they can't bring indicted persons to court or put convicted persons into prison? We need some financially able nongovernmental groups to offer a large reward for delivering Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic as well as the lesser-known criminals to The Hague tribunal before the opportunity to build a new institutional framework for punishing international lawlessness is lost.

Ronald J. Glossop

Jennings, Mo.

Ms. President starts in the Senate

Regarding the Oct. 22 opinion-page article, "The First Woman President," if we want our daughters and granddaughters to have a chance to become president, we must work harder now to elect more women to the United States Senate and state governor posts. Only by getting qualified women in these senior public offices can we expect the voting public to think in terms of a female president or vice president.

The author is right to say that encouraging and coaching young girls to be strong, independent, self-reliant thinkers will certainly help them to become leaders, but we should also teach girls the steppingstones to the White House. The best way to do this is to be able to show them the role models at all levels of government , including statewide officers and women in Congress.

Women should have an equal opportunity to serve in all public offices, including the presidency, the Supreme Court, all Cabinet posts, and as mayors of our towns and cities.

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George A. Dean

Southport, Conn.

A step toward animal rights

The headline to the editorial "Humane Hunting," Oct. 3, did, indeed, strike this reader as an oxymoron, even as the author stated it might. The phrase "hunters who respect animals" is another. One who respects animals would respect their right to live. As an animal activist and a member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), we oppose all animal abuse - which includes eating meat, wearing fur or leather, circus animal acts, puppy mills, etc. However, change occurs slowly, and as the author says, a ban on the worst forms of hunting is a step in the right direction. I hope someday the Monitor will jump fully on the bandwagon of animal rights, but until then, at least you are moving toward it.

Hazel Hohn

Reno, Nev.

Millennium miscue

The Oct. 11 opinion-page article about the turn of the millennium, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," has one important error. The author's statement, "... the year 2000 is not the start of the next millennium but the end of this one. We begin counting with year one, not the year zero." This is wrong. It is amazing the factoid continues.

No one, including the author, is one year old at birth. We are zero years old at birth. We are one year old after one year. With calendar years we begin with zero.

The calendar numbering system is base 10. One cannot change a base number system without changing the entire system. Not starting with the year zero, the first nine years are a modified base nine. One can never change that to base 10. It violates principle. Therefore, the year 2000 is the beginning of the next millennium.

E. Dabney Howe

Rossmoor, Calif.

Send letters to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, fax to 617-450-2317, e-mail to OPED@CSPS.COM.

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