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>> The arresting cover photo of young Tommy Barrett, who has Asperger's, drew divergent reactions from readers familiar with autistic youngsters. "By portraying a child engaged in unusual, silly behavior, you further stigmatize those with disorders like Asperger's rather than allowing them the gentle dignity with which they should be treated," wrote an Ohio mother of an autistic child. Yet a father from Illinois praised the picture as being "dead center in portraying what this complex, multifaceted disease is. I felt as if the photo could have been that of my beautiful autistic son."
Your article "How Green is the White House?" [POLITICS, April 29] included poll results indicating that 62% of Americans "are in favor of protecting wilderness areas, even if it means higher gas prices." We want to make it clear that President Bush has not proposed energy exploration in any congressionally mandated Wilderness Areas that have been set aside to remain wild and are designated for natural use only. There are 104.7 million such acres in the U.S., and President Bush is committed to protecting those lands. Meanwhile, on a case-by-case basis, the President's energy plan supports environmentally sensitive energy development on other federal lands [such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] to provide America with energy security for the future while protecting wildlife and its habitat. GALE A. NORTON SECRETARY OF INTERIOR Washington
Who Needs Whom?
The real question is not whether the U.S. needs the Saudis, but whether the Saudis need the U.S. [NATION, May 6]. When Kuwait was invaded by Iraq, it was primarily the U.S., not the Saudis, that ejected Saddam Hussein. Now that Saddam is kissing up to the rest of the Arabs, the Saudis are falling prey to his charm. President Bush should take a wait-and-see attitude with the Arabs, leave Saddam alone and withdraw many, if not all, of our troops from the Middle East. If Saddam decides to attack and take control of the lands of other nations, let the Saudis come to us for help. Then we will be in a position to tell them exactly what we want, not the other way around. LANCE TROTTER Seattle
Have the French Gone Mad?
France, a cradle of democracy, had a deplorably high rate of abstaining voters (28%) in the first round of the election [GLOBAL AGENDA, May 6]. This could be one of the reasons Jean-Marie Le Pen's far-right party came in second. Le Pen is the man who called Nazi gas chambers a "detail in the history of the Second World War" and claimed that "the tide of immigration will submerge us after first having ruined us." An atmosphere of shame and embarrassment hangs over my country. LAURENT GIRAUD Aubiere, France
Massacre in Erfurt
The shooting spree by high school student Robert Steinhauser in Erfurt, Germany [WORLD, May 6], in which he killed 16 people, should finally convince the entire world that simply declaring "It can't happen here" will not protect students from such violence. The killings at Columbine and other schools have proved there is a problem that needs to be addressed. As a student, I realize that this danger demands the vigilance of teachers and students. KATHRYN HARTFORD Flemington, N.J.