Regarding the Oct. 5 article, "How VP debate can help - or hurt": I believe it is wrong to suggest that vice presidential candidates somehow do not matter. Anyone considering voting for one party's ticket over another should examine the position of the vice presidential candidate.
A vice president plays an integral role helping to define the policies of an administration. In the dreadful event the president is assassinated or leaves office, this is the person who would assume total responsibility for the country. Consequently, a vice presidential candidate's views have a profound influence on an administration's policies and actions, and should receive just consideration.
Regarding the Sept. 29 article "Baghdad's Green Zone 'island' prepares for rough seas": I get the impression that our leaders do not trust the Iraqi people to work in their own country. They need to learn to work together and look out for each other. Have them do the same with their police and military. Make the residents of the area responsible for their area. What you protect and rebuild is yours, be it a refinery, pipeline, waterworks, or power plant. If your area is secure, you may help those in other areas.
Why can't their own people drive the trucks, run the oil facilities, etc.? The word should be, "Don't wreck my future and don't put me out of a job."
Ralph S. Galen
Regarding your Sept. 28 editorial, "The Race to Iraq's Election": The credibility issue raised by Kofi Annan is not only "no small consideration" but is in fact just a small piece of the much larger issue of credibility, which your editorial appears to miss completely.
You stated that it's premature to assess the holes in Iraq's security right now, and said that "news has dribbled out about steps being taken" to secure Iraq for free and fair elections.
In fact, it is premature to assess the security situation in Iraq only if information such as the CIA report on the Iraq situation, paid for by taxpayers, is kept secret. It's time for the American people to be allowed to read the CIA report on the situation in Iraq, rather than allowing the Bush administration to "dribble" information over us.
Regarding the Oct. 1 editorial "Allow College Students to Vote": My son was legally a resident of Maryland but was attending college in Illinois. There was an active effort to register students on campus, and my son did just that. However, not once was he asked if he was already registered in another state. Conceivably, my son could have voted twice - once in Illinois, and once by absentee ballot in Maryland. I wonder how often this happens, since many students attend out-of-state colleges.
College students have dominated the vote in my town since 1981. Students with no community stake are controlling those whose lives are invested here. Just try to hold back a property tax hike when 10,000 of your 30,000 citizens are students from elsewhere who pay no property taxes.
Students should vote where their dependent tax break is going, by absentee ballot, and have their fair voice like the rest of us. Or, they should register to vote at school and lose their dependent status. One or the other - that's fair! College-town citizens are tired of being lab rats for socialist academia. We want our cheese!
Santa Cruz, Calif.
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