Response to Call for Clinton Resignation
Thank you Mr. Penny, for your wonderfully written opinion in "Mr. President, Resign Now" (Sept. 24) concerning your - and many fellow Americans - realization that "the nation's needs" will be best served by President Clinton's "voluntary departure." I can only hope that the leadership of the Democratic party will note your concern for the country and act on it as you have suggested.
Claude B. Graves
Port Townsend, Wash.
Timothy Penny calls for President Clinton to resign rather than have the nation go through the impeachment process. While it would avoid a lot of recriminations, it would not solve the underlying problem. There are some questions that need to be answered and only the process that is under way can bring them to light.
Should Congress have the right to "hound" a sitting president out of office? Starr has been investigating the activities of Mr. Clinton for over four years, digging for something "impeachable." Should all presidents be subject to this kind of intensive investigation? Clearly, no person aspiring to the office of president will also be a candidate for sainthood. And there's the idea expressed in the statement "those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear." Not only will all future presidents have to worry about this; nobody will be beyond the scope of an all-out investigation of every detail of their lives.
Should a sitting president be tried in a civil case? The Supreme Court argued that it would not affect the president's ability to govern the nation. Hindsight says the court was wrong. But how can a president defend him/herself when his/her depositions are subject to an independent review that will be released to the world?
These questions are not easy. The nation has seen the inside of the legal process and many of us are frightened for our government as well as for our freedoms.
Resigning would signal those who are the self-appointed moral authorities to take even more of our freedoms away. The issues must be on the table for all to see lest our freedoms be eroded by those who use fear as a weapon.
George N. Wells
Middle East peace corps pioneers
While I commend the effort of Scott Peterson in his article "Peace Corps Edges Into Arab World" (Sept. 25) the article is technically inaccurate. While the Jordan program is currently the only one being conducted in the Middle East, it is not by far the first.
The Peace Corps had a program for years in Yemen, The program was pulled, however, and Peace Corps volunteers evacuated, during that country's civil war in the early 1990s.
The Peace Corps has had a very successful and long history working among Arab and Muslim populations. In North Africa, the organization had a mission in Tunisia, which it eventually terminated given that country's successful development program, and continues to have a very popular program in Morocco. I myself studied the local dialect in Tangier through the aid of a Peace Corps manual last summer.
Having friends who were volunteers in the past, I know that the Jordanian program had been anticipated for a long time and that its success is important as a litmus test for the organization to reestablish itself in the region. However, we must not forget the work done by volunteers in the past that have made this program possible.
Lively discussion over 'Dilemmas'
I'm still enjoying your new series on "Moral Dilemmas" and wish you would run more stories. The subject has been intellectual food for lively discussion with friends.
Margot E. Palmgren
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