Israel is fighting a war deliberately provoked by Iran and Syria via terrorist organizations (Hizballah and Hamas) that aim to eliminate the sole legitimate democracy in that part of the world [July 31]. Instead of blaming Israel, Western democracies should stand up for it because they will be the next targets of terrorism. What have the U.N. and the West done to secure peace in the six years since Israel pulled out of Lebanon? Nothing, except allow Hizballah to build up its military. It is scandalous and hypocritical to demand that Israel forfeit its right to destroy Hizballah.
The war in Lebanon and Northern Israel might have been avoided had the Bush Administration not given the cold shoulder to Iran and Syria. And the U.S. might have been able to wield some influence had it not been embroiled in a civil war in Iraq. We don't have to wait to learn what the legacy of the Bush Administration will be. We can see it now in all the blood being spilled and the destruction happening in Israel, Lebanon and Iraq.
Waupaca, Wisconsin, U.S.
It is obvious to any casual observerthat the present conflict in the Middle East is part of a larger picture related to Palestine, 9/11, U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and issues with Iran, Syria and Hamas. It all boils down to President Bush's and British Prime Minister Tony Blair's version of democracy, terrorism, Islamic fascists, free trade and puppet governments. What goes around comes around. Herein lies the root cause of conflict in the Middle East.
Baguio City, Philippines
The delay in diplomatic engagement, the failure to press for an immediate cease-fire, the refusal to condemn Israel for heinous attacks on civilians and disruption of humanitarian relief: such tactics further reveal the Bush Administration's Middle East policy for the ethically bankrupt disaster it has always been.
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Your photographs of the destruction in Lebanon took me back to World War II and images of the devastation in Europe. But sadder still were the pictures of the young boys in Hizballah's al-Mahdi scout club being taught to hate their fellow man. They are being robbed of their childhood and often their life too, all in the name of religion.
Derek J. Waite
Knowing the history of the region, how could President Bush respond to the crisis in Lebanon by simply saying Israel has a right to defend itself? He gave a green light to the excessive use of force. The price will be continued fighting for generations. This Administration is a terrible disaster for those of us who believed in the America of "a thousand points of light."
TIME referred to Hizballah's "Struggle with Israel." What exactly is Hizballah struggling for? Israel pulled out of every last inch of Lebanese territory in 2000. Hizballah is a terrorist organization, armed to the teeth by Iran and Syria and firing rockets into Israel in order to maim and kill as many civilians as possible. In no way can this murderous aggression be considered a "struggle."
Zichron Yaakov, Israel
As the saying goes, it is better to allow 1,000 criminals to go free than convict one innocent person. But the Israelis have turned that maxim on its head: they seem to think it is better to kill 1,000 blameless civilians than allow one terrorist to go free. The Israelis have suffered in the past, yet that does not give them the right to inflict so much pain and suffering on innocent people. Such cruelty leads nowhere.
Israel has long been the main target of Islamic terrorists, but it became clear on Sept. 11, 2001, that every Western country is threatened. The present war in the Middle East is actually a war against international terrorism and the Iranian regime, which is a threat to all of the West. One day the world will recognize the importance of that fight and Israel's essential contribution.
Hizballah deliberately provoked Israel's ferocious response to inspire and strengthen extremist groups and rogue nations. Why hasn't the world been more supportive of the Lebanese government in its efforts to strengthen that nation's administrative and military power?
The U.S. has shown that it is not serious about winning the war against terrorism. By refusing to act in the face of Israel's excessive use of military force against innocent Lebanese women and children, the U.S. has succeeded only in creating more Islamic militants. What Israel is doing in Lebanon can be equated with terrorism. The U.S. must always lead by example and show the world that it has a soul. America's defense of freedom and human rights should not be selective.
Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Columnist Joe Klein missed one of the reasons for Senator Joe Lieberman's undying support of George W. Bush's war in Iraq: Israel [July 31]. Not only does Lieberman hope for democratic reform in the Middle East (to benefit Israel), as Klein pointed out, but the Senator also knows he has an unwavering supporter of Israel in Bush.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
The antiwar left has been very tolerant of politicians who initially went along with the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq. When Lieberman criticized Democrats who oppose the war, however, he forfeited his credentials as a humane liberal. Bush kissed Lieberman after the 2005 State of the Union address, bestowing his gratitude for the Senator's support of an immoral war. The President shows no sign of awareness, much less remorse. Lieberman's complicity is saddening, since he used to be one of the good guys.
Northfield, Illinois, U.S.
The College Gender Gap
Barbara Ehrenreich's essay about boys goofing off at college while girls are overachieving was nothing more than the flip side of the stories during the 1950s and '60s that claimed women went to college only to find husbands [July 31]. I didn't care to be stereotyped that way back then, and as the mother of 18-year-old twin sons who are honor students, eagle scouts, Young Democrats and all-around solid citizens, I deeply resent such a demeaning picture of the current crop of young men. Surely there are also plenty of unfocused, lazy, binge-drinking young women on today's campuses.
Christina M. Kapma
Springfield, Ohio, U.S.
Ehrenreich accurately observed that many American men shy away from careers that demand evidence of academic performance. Where she fell short, however, was in her failure to address why that is so. Doesn't she think male underachievement is a problem? She seemed to enjoy the fact that in our feminized culture, when it comes to higher education, the average guy is truly left behind.
Paul V. Phillipino
Falmouth, Massachusetts, U.S.
Isn't it strange that just when more women than ever graduate from college and university, their degrees seem to count for nothing? Suddenly, no matter how good your grades are or how many projects you have worked on, what really counts are soft skills such as likability and positive attitude. But will all those guys with winning personalities manage to keep companies up and running?
TIME's verbatim column quoted rich socialite Paris Hilton, who said, "Every decade has an iconic blond like Marilyn Monroe or Princess Diana and, right now, I'm that icon" [July 31]. Was she kidding? Hilton couldn't hold the handbags of those women. They were just as beautiful on the inside as on the outside. Hilton is no more than a lifeless doll. Why America is fascinated with her is beyond me.
Utica, New York, U.S.
Every time she opens her mouth, Hilton proves that money and privilege do not buy class.
Mickey Spillane, the tough-guy author who became an icon of American pulp fiction, died last month at age 88 [July 31]. Our Oct. 26, 1959, cover story addressed the spate of TV detective dramas whose heroes owed a lot to Spillane's sleuth, Mike Hammer:
"His work habits are abominable. He is busiest when the sky over the city is a grey suspicion of dawn, the hour when streetwalkers quit, grifters count their take, busted junkies begin to jitter with the inside sweats. He is a loner, but his world is filled with friends. He knows the cop with the abused arches, the complaisant heiress, the slick saloon proprietor, the sick comic, the sullen stoolie who talks in the guarded whisper of cell block and exercise yard ... HE IS HARD-MUSCLED, HANDSOME, HANDY WITH A SNUB-NOSE .38, AND HIS HIDE IS AS TOUGH AS THE BLUING ON A PISTOL BARREL. Decent, disillusioned and altogether incredible, he is a soap opera Superman. He is television's 'Private Eye.' Smarter than the cops, craftier than the crooks, too quick to be caught and domesticated by the classiest doll, TV's private detective runs second to only one competitor in the race for ratings. So far, in a season riddled with old scandals and new specials, the Cowpoke is still top draw, but the Eye has impressive fire power." Read more at timearchive.com.