Regarding the Oct. 22 opinion piece "Carter deserves praise beyond the Nobel Prize": The fact that Jimmy Carter gets the Nobel Peace Prize shows that it has nothing to do with peace and everything to do with supporting, excusing, and coddling dictators throughout the world.
Mr. Carter's record as president speaks for itself: We still live with the consequences of his many disastrous policies, particularly his refusal to keep Iran from falling into fundamentalist terrorist hands. Political leaders who advocate peace through weakness and pacifism should not be honored.
Michael J. Hurd
Chevy Chase, Md.
In response to "Carter deserves praise beyond the Nobel Prize": How refreshing to read a positive review of Mr. Carter. Godfrey Sperling's assessment of the president and the prize is right on the money.
Too bad pundits and columnists like George Will cannot see past their own right-wing agenda to recognize a decent leader when they see one.
San Marcos, Texas
Regarding your Oct. 22 article "Al Qaeda's capabilities may be growing": We need to delegitimize the Al Qaeda ideology and understand that the terrorist mind-set is, in some important ways, right.
The terrorists are right that the US supports many corrupt and tyrannical regimes in the Middle East, such as Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, and that most Arabs resent US attacks against radicals like Iraq's Saddam Hussein, while ignoring radicals like Israel's Ariel Sharon.
The way to prevent a bleak future of militant Islamic attacks is not through smart weapons, secret detentions, or shadowy covert operations.
What we need is a new foreign policy that truly supports our ideals of democracy and freedoms of speech and press. We must accept Islamic culture, even if it is not like our own, and realize that there are people who equate Westernization with endemic divorce rates, child abuse, and general permissiveness. Only then will the threat of Islamic terrorism truly be extinguished.
San Jose, Calif.
In response to your Oct. 21 editorial "Negative ads aren't debates": I applaud you for denouncing the intense negativity and lack of reasoned debate in the public sphere.
The single most important resource for voters in a democracy is information about their elected officials and those who aspire to be in office.
By "information" I refer to unbiased facts about issues and positions regarding a certain candidate, facts that can actually assist a citizen in making an informed decision about the person she wishes to support with her most precious public resource: a vote.
Project Vote Smart is a nonprofit organization that supplies information on the approximately 18,000 candidates running for state, gubernatorial, and congressional offices, as well as their positions on key issues. The information is available at www.vote-smart.orgor 888-VOTE-SMART.
Project Vote Smart
Regarding the Oct. 23 opinion piece "The roots of American-style terrorism": If social isolation and job loss factor into this, then there should be at least 500 snipers per city in the US. But there aren't. Every so often, a nut cracks and something like this happens. I'm just surprised it doesn't occur more often.
Crown Point, Ind.
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