Your Dec. 2 article "Europe's illegals trapped in Catch-22" inaccurately represents the situation. First, the people profiled in your story would be more accurately called "economic migrants" and not "refugees" as the inside reference indicated. The difference is quite important. All civilized countries have a duty to treat those fleeing true oppression humanely. But countries also have a duty to protect their borders from economic migrants, who seek to improve their economic circumstances through illegal means.
The key word is illegal. The irrational policies you expose make no sense, but for a different reason from the one you suggest. If Europe is going to deal with the vast influx of illegal economic migrants, it will have to come up with a more forceful EU-wide policy, or Europe, as we know it, will be a thing of the past. These economic migrants "living like animals" should be repatriated immediately. Only then will the influx stop. The alternative will be a modern variation of the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike.
Michael G. Brautigam Cincinnati
Regarding your Dec. 2 editorial "Staying Power in Iraq": Thank you for something besides the usual Bush-hating diatribe. The tone seemed even-handed and the set of facts a little more complete than usual.
D. John Smith Canton, Mich.
Your praise of President Bush for his "stoic tenacity" and "doggedness" to stay the course in Iraq misses the point.
He's reacting in the usual way to violence - with more violence. It is the same reaction that the Iraqis have - as we bomb and shell, kill and maim, we generate more people who want to react violently to us. It is childish and cowardly to characterize opponents as "thugs" and "villains" and yourself as a saint. This good-versus-evil simplicity defies reality and accomplishes nothing. Sadly, what we are seeing is the repetition of the age-old problem where violence begets violence. Leaders on all sides are to blame.
If only these "coalition" leaders and their counterparts in the Islamic community could show more depth of perception. Someone, somewhere, has to demonstrate the nerve and intelligence to turn the other cheek, look for the root causes of the violence, and seek meaningful reconciliation. If Mr. Bush had suddenly flown into Iraq in an attempt to better understand the situation, that would be genuinely admirable.
Regarding your Nov. 24 article "Military gets break from environmental rules": While these restrictions are of major importance to our environment, if the military has no alternatives, I believe the president is making the right decision. Environmental laws should take a back seat to the necessities of global military forces - not only the United States - to combat the war on terror.
I think it's a tragedy that whales, if indeed killed as a result of military surveillance equipment or for any other reason, have lost their lives. But, obviously, global defenses are a priority right now, no?
I have noticed that the Monitor and many other news outlets have taken to referring to Bush's rollbacks/gutting of environmental laws with various euphemisms like "easing," "relaxing," or "leeway." It is not fair or accurate to say "Military gets break from environmental rules" when it is now exempt from so many major environmental laws.
A "break" is equivalent to a deadline extension, not the removal of the deadline.
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