In response to your Nov. 27 article "Selling arms to India and Pakistan: explosive business": You quote an expert, Siemon Wezeman, who contends that the only thing holding India back from attacking Pakistan is the nuclear deterrent, thus suggesting that nothing should be done to upset the balance.
This argument has no basis in historical precedent and fact. While it is widely publicized in most media reports that India and Pakistan have fought four wars until now (1947, 1965, 1971, and 1999), it is never mentioned what all four were initiated by Pakistan. Also never mentioned is India's restraint.
In 1947, Pakistan launched an attack on Kashmir, prompting the state to accede to India. India was well within its rights to go all out to evict the intruders. Instead, it accepted a cease-fire, which resulted in one-third of Kashmir coming under Pakistani control. Fifty years later, that territory remains under Pakistan, despite a UN resolution directing it to vacate the region.
In contrast, in 1965, when hostilities ceased, India held several hundred square miles of Pakistani territory. It returned every inch. In 1971, after the conclusion of the war, India held 90,000 Pakistani POWs. It released every one of them. Finally, in 1999, when Pakistani forces crossed into Indian territory to capture Kargil, the Indian Army exercised tremendous restraint and did not enter Pakistani territory, even though it very well could have.
Besides the conventional wars, for the past 10 years India has been fighting a shadow war waged by Pakistan through its terrorist proxies - which it actively aids and supports. But India hasn't attacked Pakistan to target the terrorist training infrastructure.
Pakistan's nuclear deterrent is only a recent development. If India had any designs on Pakistan, it had ample opportunity and just cause to initiate attack during most of the past 55 years without any fear of a nuclear retribution. It never did. Such fallacious arguments as the one quoted must be carefully analyzed before being given space in your well respected paper.
Regarding your Nov. 29 article "Hopeful holiday signs for retailers": I am disappointed that Christmas has become an economic event, that it is no longer about the birth of the founder of Christianity.
So I went to the Monitor, and what did I find but a front page article about Christmas shopping. This holiday has been hijacked and co-opted, and it has little to do with the original celebration. Why publish "Christmas" news better suited for a business page?
Stephen E. Stewart
In response to your Nov. 29 editorial cartoon by Clay Bennett: I was a subscriber when Mr. Bennett came on board, and have since said that he's dead on with his observations - that they are very cleverly conveyed. Changing George Orwell's "1984" to "2002" created a visual image of my current thinking, something Bennett manages to do often.
Yellow Springs, Ohio
Your Oct. 29 editorial "US Must Samba with 'Lula' " is thoughtful and open-minded. However, President Bush won't pay any attention to Latin America. In relation to Brazil, his treatment will depend on the way President Lula will deal with questions of free market, public debt payment, etc. Our free-market experience has been painful. Besides crowding our streets with luxury cars, it left more than 10 million jobless. Globalization has yet to offer benefit to the lower classes.
José Thomaz Gama da Silva
Ouro Preto, Brazil
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