Regarding the Oct. 14 article, "Chechen rebel attack fuels growing unrest": Russian president Vladimir Putin should take a longer-term view of Russia's security. If he thinks he can suppress Islamic terrorism solely by harsh local military measures, he is mistaken. The modern inspiration for Islamic fundamentalism is Iran. It serves as a model and partner in much of today's terrorism. By trying to protect Iran from international censure and by supporting its construction of a nuclear reactor, Russia is nurturing a major source of its own difficulties. If Iran should ever attain nuclear weapons, it is possible that the Islamic Republic would supply one to Chechen terrorists for use within Mr. Putin's own borders. Closer cooperation with the West, far from showing Russian weakness, would be a sign of much needed realism.
I agree with Steven Gorelick's assessment in his Oct. 14 Opinion piece, "A new New York state of mind." I was not surprised that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to apply stringent security measures in the face of a specific threat of unverified credibility. In the mid-1990s, we in the Federal Aviation Administration civil aviation security office authored several security directives raising and lowering required US airport security measures based on assessments from law-enforcement and intelligence agencies. On many occasions, the New York-New Jersey Port Authority chose to remain at a higher level of security. Federal government directives only set minimum requirements. Local governments have the option to implement more stringent measures if they believe it is reasonable and prudent to do so. After all, they are the entities actually responsible and accountable for providing security to protect the traveling public. The New York City risk assessment analyzed the threat in relation to known vulnerabilities in the transit system and led officials to the decision to do more rather than less. Their response was prudent for these trying, uncertain times.
Courtney L. Tucker
I well remember watching the McCarthy hearings on television in disbelief. The fear and shame of it all were dredged up by Daniel Schorr's Oct. 14 column, "No screen too big for Murrow." Murrow's courageous "See It Now" program simply revealed the vitriolic accusations McCarthy made against so many people. Murrow cast a glaring light on the whole messy business, and President Eisenhower and senators finally put pressure on McCarthy to cease his accusations. Like Murrow, Mr. Schorr belongs in the pantheon of great journalists, and we are lucky he is still around.
You wisely endorse free trade in your Oct. 17 editorial, "Bush starts to bat for free trade." You weaken your argument, however, by using loaded, protectionist language: You write about the "flood of Chinese textile imports." Floods kill people and destroy property. No one wants them. Imports, in stark contrast, are goods and services that consumers choose to buy. Imports improve consumers' lives and free domestic resources to produce yet other valuable goods and services that otherwise would be too costly to produce.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Chairman, department of economics George Mason University
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