Our stories on the military and political career of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon prompted letters from readers who praised him as a true soldier and protector of his country. Others, however, criticized Sharon's militarism as an obstacle on the road to peace in the Middle East
Territorial integrity and the safety of the people are always a prime concern for the leader of any country [Jan. 16]. Sharon became symbolic of the true soldier, a warrior and an aspirant for peace. He remains an undaunted hero, but no individual is indispensable. Israel has no dearth of successors to Sharon.
K.C. Subhash Chandra
Whoever becomes the next prime Minister of Israel knows that the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world will never want peace of any kind. They will always want to knock off Israel.
Perhaps there will be a better chance for peace for Israel after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has left politics. How can anyone forget Sharon's "indirect" responsibility for the killing of Palestinian civilians in Lebanon's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982? Those who believe that Sharon's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was a peace initiative need to think again. Yes, he was pragmatic and confronted extremist Jewish settlers; however, he did not demonstrate enough of the goodwill needed to win over the Palestinians.
Saleh A. Mubarak
Seffner, Florida, U.S.
The Making of a Scandal
Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff was not "The Man Who Bought Washington," as your headline said [Jan. 16]. No one can raise enough money to do that. In my 23 years of staff work in the U.S. House of Representatives, I never knew of a member who could be bought. But there were always a few around who could be rented for a time. There was a simple test in the offices where I worked: if something offered to us could also be given to the average person a pencil, calendar, ballpoint pen we could accept it. If something was offered to us because we worked in Congress, we turned it down. Football tickets, meals in expensive restaurants or golf outings like Abramoff paid for are not offered free of charge to the average person.
Gary K. Madson
Lancaster, Virginia, U.S.
Time's headline said it all. But you can't buy what isn't for sale. When are American voters going to demand elected leaders who will put the common good of the people above their self-interest? If we keep electing incumbents with for sale signs hanging from their necks, we will get what we deserve: a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.
Moorpark, California, U.S.
It is shameful that lobbyist Abramoff was able to buy Washington, but it is truly reprehensible that members of Congress took part in the sale.
Cedar Falls, Iowa, U.S.
I felt sick to my stomach when i read how Abramoff got the Coushatta Indians to trust him by suggesting that he knew the pain, loss and mistreatment of the tribe because of his birthright as an Orthodox Jew. And then the lobbyist scammed them for millions. I can tell you that Abramoff's actions in no way reflect the heritage, teachings, honor and dignity of the Jewish faith that I was raised in. Abramoff is a poseur, disgracing and shaming other Jews by his deceitful actions.
It is high time that congress be held accountable to the laws it is sworn to protect. The old slap-on-the-wrist attitude about those who betray the public trust is in part to blame for this disgrace. Another reason is the never-ending need for politicians to raise money. Voters must demand meaningful campaign-finance reform. Elected officials found guilty of accepting bribes belong in jail like all other crooks. They should forfeit their costly, publicly paid pensions.
Mount Arlington, New Jersey, U.S.
I love it when dirtbags like Abramoff get busted. It reminds me that the difference between America and so many other countries is that in the U.S. these guys are prosecuted and there is at least some attempt to punish them. I appreciate all the good people who don't break the rules.
Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
Music You Can Use
"The Power Of Mozart" described how listening to the composer's music can help "treat ailments ranging from acne to Alzheimer's disease and even, it is claimed, make you and your kids smarter" [Jan. 16]. It is ironic that while Mozart's compositions are used for the purpose of healing, it is alleged that Eminem's rapping and ranting are used by the U.S. to torture prisoners in detention camps in Afghanistan. Truly, music has crossed any boundaries we humans had envisioned for it.
Unchecked Presidential Power
Klein's criticism of the democrats was way off the mark [Jan. 16]. Liberals want to track down the bad guys as much as anybody. But government officials have to get a warrant before they start wiretapping! Klein surmises that a majority of Americans would favor the National Security Agency's bugging program "if its details were declassified and made known." Is he advocating blind trust in Big Brother, or does he know something the rest of us don't? Maybe someone should be tapping Klein's phone!
Columnist Joe Klein argued that the Democrats are on the wrong side of the debate over the Bush Administration's eavesdropping on citizens without a court order, but he misrepresents the situation. No one objects to wiretapping to prevent terrorism. It is the unchecked power to order surveillance that is worrisome. When the President can decide without oversight who the enemy is, there is nothing to prevent his spying on war protesters, Time reporters or anyone else on his personal enemies list. The same objection applies to the President's assumption of the authority to arrest suspected terrorists and hold them out of sight: there is simply no way to tell if presidential power is being abused. Klein touts the successes of the spying program and laments that its cover has been blown, but getting the approval that the wiretapping law requires would not have impeded the program one whit. As for the newly cautious agents of al-Qaeda: if they were so naive as to suppose that their phones were not being tapped, then we would have little to fear from them.
Leverett, Massachusetts, U.S.
Klein is out of touch with the U.S. mainstream. It's not just liberals but many conservatives as well who are concerned by the flagrant disregard of the law by Bush in his approving wiretaps without a warrant or any oversight whatsoever by anyone outside the Executive Branch. Had the President followed the law, there would be no discussion about the wiretaps. If the investigations now under way indeed conclude that the wiretaps are illegal, approving them would be an impeachable offense.