Air power didn't do the whole job Regarding the article "TV's pundits: often wrong, rarely repentant" (June 23): It states that "the legion of military experts who insisted the air campaign alone would not be sufficient in Kosovo" were wrong - or were they? We have Army airborne and Marine troops on the ground in Kosovo, some of whom came under fire the day this article appeared. Americans, and NATO, may need more troops to stop the "cycles of revenge" mentioned in the other front page article ("Stopping the cycles of revenge") on the same day.
Ultimate goals are not achieved when bad things are destroyed. They are achieved when the bad things are replaced with good things, and it can take much time to create the good things. Bombs and missiles can do great destruction but occupying armies are often needed while reconstruction is going on and a new society is being created. Japan and Germany were devastated by air power, but the governments in these countries, which we respect today, would never have been created without armies of occupation.
We can also see that air power, alone, has not been sufficient to bring about desired results in Iraq. There were good reasons why we did not occupy Iraq after the Gulf War, but without an army of occupation our ultimate goal was not achieved.
Land and air power must still be used together for success. Let us hope and pray that only a minimum of land power is needed in Kosovo.
Andre DuChateau, Plymouth, Mass.
More on manners Regarding the article "Bayou schools may mix math with manners" (June 21): It needed an accompanying article on manners in general. The Monitor could have pursued other regions' successes. Also, there are cultural differences that sometimes lead people to overlook existing good manners in US and around the world.
Here in Massachusetts, my husband and I are raising our children to respond with "Yes, please" or "No, thank you" when appropriate, not with "ma'am" or "sir." When I substitute teach, I prefer "yes, please" to "yes, ma'am." I don't say the Southern way is wrong; we're just different regions. Both have traditions of good manners available, as have other regions.
I take issue with the comment by Bethany Braden, a teacher, that children in single-parent families are less likely to learn proper behavior than children in two-parent families. We know families of both sorts teaching manners well. It simply depends on the commitment of the parents to teach good manners.
Moreover, additional information would have been useful for readers to understand what is meant by Mrs. Braden's remark that "many of her students think of themselves as adults since that's the way they're treated at home." I suspect that she and I largely agree on these things; Both of us don't want children to act as though children are in charge, know best, and have a right to be rude. But I certainly do not want adults to feel that they have a right to be rude, either.
The key is that respectful behavior begins at home - and goes both ways. Children learn better when they are handled with respect rather than with harshness, whether they are learning math or manners. Respect and pride belong together. I do not treat my children as adults.
I do share with them how well they are doing at the work of becoming adults. That is basic respect. Their pride, and my love, all are part of the mix of trying to be good humans.
Margaret McCandless, Jefferson, Mass.
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of submissions, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.
Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to email@example.com