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The Root of Congressional Power

Your Jan. 6 editorial, "Selective Term Limits," is on the mark as far as it goes. Term limits should indeed be set at the ballot box by the constituents of the candidate in question.

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This leaves unaddressed, however, the basic problem that term-limit advocates want to combat, which is the inordinately powerful few in Congress and the waste and improper influence that flows through them. The root of that problem is not how long someone remains in office; rather, it is the committee seniority system and the unreasonable power granted to committee chairs.

Committee chairs should be just that, chairpeople. Instead they are more like national dictators regarding legislative and budget aspects of important parts of the government, with the power to hold most of the public's representatives hostage to their views and favors.

R. Springer

Naperville, Ill.

Land for peace? Not in the US

Regarding the Dec. 18 editorial, "A Heart for Peace": The United States asks of Israel what we ourselves would never accept. We never gave land for peace. If native Americans ever tried to retake territory by terrorist acts I don't think there would be much negotiation.

Nations exist solely if they have the military power to do so. Israel's rights were established in its 1948-49 war and confirmed several times since. In 1948, hundreds of thousands of Arabs stayed in Israel - but hundreds of thousands left, too. Those who left were unfortunate pawns.

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Everything that is being asked of Israel today was a fact in 1949: The Arabs held half of Jerusalem and all of the West Bank; Israel was not on the Golan Heights.

Israel does not want to govern the Palestinians' areas. It does want to protect Jews living there. If several hundred thousand Muslims can freely live in Israel, then a few thousand Jews should be able to live safely with them. Right now the Palestinians have some autonomy. They can accept this and try to build a country. Stop dreaming about the past and things that will never be. The alternative is to go on like the past.

Richard Berkun

Albany, N.Y.

Drop the 'cute' headlines

To me, The Christian Science Monitor represents top-quality reporting and stands as an example for other papers to follow. However, in reading the Monitor during the past year, I've noticed more attempts at amusing or attention-catching headlines on articles and editorials. There have been headings using words with a repetition of a consonant, words that sound "cute" together, or "trendy" words and word combinations. In my opinion, many of these headings don't work and are a poor substitute for the elegant and erudite writing to which the Monitor usually adheres. The Dec. 3 headline "One Man's Plan to Goose the Game of Golf," I find simply vulgar. I don't find any definition of the word "goose" that is either relevant to the article or that expresses the Monitor's standards. The article itself was informative and well-written.

Karen D. McKinzie

Lancaster, Pa.

Effects of multicultural studies

The article, "Multicultural Studies Don't Divide Us," Jan. 6, sees positive benefits in exploring the influence of various cultures on the United States. No one would argue with that. There is no doubt that we can learn a lot from studying various cultures.

The problem with multiculturalism is that it is another example of an interested group, invested with power, telling people what they should think.

The author speaks of a class she taught in which students studied the accomplishments of various persons, apparently with the goal of getting the students to appreciate other ethnic groups. However, by explicitly focusing on racial background, race automatically becomes an issue. Inevitably, the underlying purpose of the class takes a decidedly political direction.

Doug Jones

Monterrey, Mexico

Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey

Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published. All letters are subject to editing. Mail to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail (200 words max.) to OPED@CSPS.COM.

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