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The "Your Time: Health" column "Baby Bulletins" [March 7] erroneously indicated that the American Academy of Pediatrics (A.A.P.) has revised its guidelines on breast feeding and concluded that it is O.K. to sleep in the same bed with your baby. The recently published breast-feeding policy statement contains no such recommendation, nor does the A.A.P. advise that. We use the phrase "sleeping in proximity to," not "in the same bed with," your baby. We advise that so the mother can respond promptly to an infant's hunger. You also incorrectly implied that the A.A.P. supports the use of "a formula supplement ... for underweight babies." No such recommendation is contained in the policy statement.
LAWRENCE M. GARTNER, M.D. CHAIR, SECTION ON BREASTFEEDING AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS Valley Center, Calif.
Support for Assad
In his interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad [March 14], Joe Klein reported that Assad "evaded the question of closing Palestinian 'rejectionist' group offices in Damascus." What is Assad supposed to do? Free speech requires that all views, however unwelcome, be allowed expression. Assad strikes me as a decent man doing his best in impossible circumstances. We could push him harder, but we would do better to support him.
NOEL FALCONER Couiza, France
In your interview with Mahmoud Abbas [March 14], the Palestinian President argued that Hamas should be seen as a political party, like Israel's "more than 33 political parties from right to left and in between." The very huge difference is that none of Israel's political parties have a militia to intimidate their foes and conduct terrorist attacks. Until the government of the Palestinian Authority has a monopoly on the use of force in the territory it is supposed to control, Israel has no real Palestinian partner for peace.
ED FEUER Winnipeg, Canada
Math, Science and Women
Harvard President Lawrence Summers is being punished in the name of political correctness for his ideas on male and female brains [March 7]. But the controversy isn't about whether a theory is right or wrong. It's about whether academic freedom is at risk.
MARY L. MITCHELL Toronto
Thank you for addressing the issue of brain differences and women's performance in the fields of science and math. It should be obvious that we need to change the presumptuous opinion that girls are not interested in science and math. That prejudice still exists throughout the Western world, manifesting itself as girls and boys grow up and resulting in less interest in science among women. I had an unusual experience in that all but one of my math and science teachers from kindergarten through high school were women. They provided direct evidence to me that women could excel in math and science. I only hope that more girls will be sufficiently provoked by prejudice to prove the common notion wrong. Women make just as good engineers, physicists and science professors as men.
LOUISE BARKHUUS, RESEARCH FELLOW UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW DEPARTMENT OF COMPUTING SCIENCE Glasgow