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A neglected priority: nuclear arms control As we sort out the rubble from the Kosovo conflict, as reported in your paper and others, another potentially more urgent issue - that of growing risks to global nuclear security - requires the public's attention.

As alarming as the Balkan war has been, we should be even more concerned about nuclear dangers.

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With India and Pakistan continuing their nuclear saber-rattling, Russia putting the START nuclear disarmament process on hold, and reported leaks of nuclear weapons secrets to China, the time is ripe for reversing this dangerous trend. One key opportunity is Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). It would serve as the last line of defense against nuclear weapons espionage by prohibiting countries like China from performing the test explosions necessary to reliably field new and more deadly weapons.

This treaty has been sitting idle in the Foreign Relations Committee for nearly two years now, thanks to the monolithic power of committee chairman US Sen. Jesse Helms (R) of North Carolina. The Clinton administration and Senate leaders should put aside their partisan differences and ratify this treaty, which is supported by 80 percent of the public in recent polls. Action is needed now so that the US can join the first conference of ratifying nations this fall. Not doing everything possible to achieve ratification this year does a disservice to global security.

James K. Wyerman, Washington Executive director 20/20 Vision

Generation X-cuse: inexcusable English professor Debra Bruno was correct with her opinion article "Generation X-cuse needs a moment of 'uh-oh' " (May 21). Allowing ourselves to become a culture of second chances has created a new society filled with excuses and irresponsibility. Nowhere is this behavior more prevalent than in today's high schools and colleges, where Generation X-cuse has perfected the art of slacking. Here at Cal Poly, I have been amazed and sometimes even ashamed at the behavior of my classmates when it comes time to turn in the assigned work. If students cannot show any responsibility getting their work done at school, then they can't possibly succeed in a business world that revolves around deadlines.

This behavior is being formed at home in today's weakened family structure. Kids are allowed to believe that every rule is negotiable and up to their own interpretation. They are given chance after chance without realizing the consequences of failure, whether in life or at school. When parents allow their kids to live this fantasy life, they are only leading them into a life where failure will be ignored or even accepted. We must reinstitute discipline in our homes and schools if we want to curb the laziness of Generation X-cuse. We must also abolish the fairy-tale myth that everyone can win while nobody loses. Anticompetitive ideas are poisoning the future of our nation, creating a lazy mass of cattle eager to follow the leader.

Gilbert Tucker, San Louis Obispo, Calif. Freshman, California Polytechnic State University

Clinton's negative legacy Questions raised in the article "Clinton 'Doctrine:' Is it substance or spin?" (June 28) have an obvious answer: Clinton is so desperate to establish a legacy for his presidency that he will try anything to erase the many stains he has left on the office.

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The legacies he can claim are many, however, including a dangerous drawdown of the US military and a substantial tax hike. When he finally does leave office, a collective sigh of relief will be heard across the country.

Paul Sedan, Charlotte, N.C.

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