What a pleasure to read Matthew Spence's Nov. 30 Opinion piece, "Don't give up on Ukraine's Orange Revolution." As a Russian-speaking American who has devoted considerable effort to fostering free enterprise and free markets in Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union since 1990, I have witnessed an amazing transformation. As Mr. Spence indicates, it has not all been good. However, a dedication at all levels to persevere and to resist the temptation to resort to "shortcuts," such as violent repression or assassination of opponents, will pay off for this brave nation.
The US deserves some credit, with both public and private programs aimed at promoting the development of civil society institutions in Ukraine. Our organization (the Center for Economic Initiatives in Cincinnati), with funding from the US Agency for International Development, has replicated the technical assistance portion of the post-World War II Marshall Plan, with dramatic effect. Of course, the patience and hard work of the people of Ukraine is the key ingredient of that nation's success so far. Ukrainians should be very proud.
Trustee, Center for Economic Initiatives
Regarding the Nov. 27 article, "When will Iraqi troops be ready?": High-quality training for Iraqi troops and police might be provided here in the United States at a much lower cost than in Iraq.
Both American and Iraqi instructors could be used in a safe and effective manner. Such training might be patterned after the successful pilot training programs used for foreign pilots. Perhaps Iraqi troops trained here would carry back ideas that would help Iraq form its "democracy."
We know how to train troops here; let's build on our successes rather than repeating the failed efforts of the past three years. Train them in the USA.
The Dalles, Ore.
The Dec. 4 article, "Greener, cleaner ... and competitive?" mentions wind farms as an example of renewable energy. However, the environmental ramifications – aside from killing birds – have yet to be thoroughly evaluated. If or when a substantial proportion of the world's energy use is derived from wind farms, what will be the effects of taking energy from the natural movement of air and airborne water? Wind farms seem akin to the damming of rivers – unanticipated consequences are likely.
Estes Park, Colo.
Thank you for acknowledging the level of giving that goes on in our country in your Nov. 30 editorial, "Rich or poor, charity begins one by one." We Americans give largely on our own – through churches, organizations, our colleges, and finally by volunteering.
I am a major gifts fundraiser for a small liberal arts college in Bronxville, N.Y. Can you guess what the biggest obstacle to my securing major gifts is? It is not alumni's disaffection for their alma mater; it is not because they do not feel giving to us would be worthy. It is because they are involved locally and really think about making the greatest impact on organizations that are even smaller than our college.
I suggest to those various charities that advocate on behalf of the most fragile among us: Continue to get your message out, and tell personal stories about those for whom you advocate.
Adele Lynn Conner
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