Diarrheal diseases are the second leading killer of young children in the developing world, but a simple remedy costs a tiny fraction of medications for big-name illnesses. Our report on the challenges of delivering treatment prompted readers to lament the lack of clean water and the abundance of human beings
The cover headline for your story on why diarrhea kills millions of children every year was meant to be the remedy for the condition: "A Fistful of Sugar + A Pinch of Salt + A Jug of Water" [Oct. 16]. The formula, however, was missing a crucial word: clean. The lack of clean water is the problem and the real cause of diarrhea in most cases. Anyone who has spent time in a refugee camp knows that it takes a lot of effort to purify water and that you need the right tools to do so. Nevertheless, congratulations on picking this deadly issue for your cover story.
Demetrios G. Pyrros, M.D.
World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine
The simplicity of the solution depends on the quality of the water, and there Murphy's Law prevails. In regions where water quality is questionable, young children should drink boiled water from properly cleaned containers.
Johannes H. Kop
Delft, the Netherlands
time reported that 5,000 young children in the developing world die each day from diarrhea. Gastroenteritis is due to unchecked population growth and overcrowding, to humans' overtaxing their environment. The most stable environment is one in equilibrium. Growth leads to instability and breakdown. It is unfortunate that, in this world, everything is geared toward growth.
Chin Wei Pok, M.D.
Subang Jaya, Malaysia
What Veils Reveal
Congratulations to columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown for arguing against the face veil worn by some Muslim women [Oct. 16]. The veil certainly represents the suppression of women. It is apparently worn because some Muslim men are so lacking in self-control that a mere glimpse of female flesh would drive them into a sexual frenzy. Since even animals do not behave that badly, I suggest that such men be put in cages in a zoo and that women be given their freedom and a little up-to-date education. After all, this is Britain in the 21st century, not the Arab world or the Middle Ages.
I was disturbed by Alibhai-Brown's column on her opposition to Muslim veils. Wearing the veil does not oppress women. It is only by coercion which is the mark of an authoritarian society that it becomes a symbol of oppression. I would not be as disconcerted if Alibhai-Brown expressed her views only in private. But by denouncing the veil publicly, she does not do justice to the Islamic faith, which remains part of her identity.
Re "The end of a revolution" [Oct. 16]: The Republican majority in Congress has bullied, lied, changed rules, twisted arms and done everything possible to retain power, without consideration for the minority Democrats or the U.S. as a whole. The g.o.p. has violated the principles it once stood for especially fiscal conservatism and now stands only for clinging to power.
McLean, Virginia, U.S.
Although I'm hoping the midterm elections will spell the end of the corrupt Republican regime, I'm disheartened by the cause of the party's downfall, distasteful as it is. The end will not have been brought about by stolen elections, an unprovoked and disastrous war breeding more terrorism, suspension of habeas corpus, state support of torture or a dangerous and ballooning federal deficit. It's curious that Republicans might be toppled by the Foley fiasco. Seemingly, only a sex scandal can make voters take notice.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Let's face it: there is no true leadership in the U.S., Republican or Democratic. Our elected officials operate at the basest level of power politics, ready to skewer one another whenever necessary. And they call themselves Christian to boot! Jesus would weep.
Duluth, Georgia, U.S.
The values that I hold dear as an American have been destroyed by this Republican-dominated government. Freedom of speech disappeared when Americans who spoke out against Bush's policies were labeled unpatriotic. The right to privacy was destroyed when the government bypassed the courts and began to secretly track telephone, e-mail and banking records. The separation of church and state no longer exists because politicians have imposed their beliefs on the public. The right to a fair trial exists only as long as we are not secretly flown to Guantánamo Bay or a secret prison. I can no longer defend my country's policies. I hope the world understands that the Republicans are not representative of all the American people.
I had to laugh at time's asking News Corp. chairman and ceo Rupert Murdoch if Fox News had done anything that he thought was "unfair and unbalanced" [Oct. 16]. Your magazine is anything but fair and balanced. Your coverage of the Foley scandal seemed as if it had been written by the Democratic National Committee.
Allen, Texas, U.S.
I chuckled at Murdoch's claim that Fox News chief Roger Ailes "has been insistent on equal time for all sides." This is the same Ailes who served as media strategist for three Republican Presidents and once produced Rush Limbaugh's now extinct television show. This is the same fair-minded producer whose "journalists," such as Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, frequently tell their guests to shut up, and turn off the microphones when they hear viewpoints opposed to their own.
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
Red Planet Close-Ups
Re "Mapping Mars" [Oct. 16]: with space travel being one of humankind's finest achievements, I was quite distressed to see that the beautiful pictures taken by the Mars Opportunity rover and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter were buried inside the magazine. Those images should have made Time's cover.
Livonia, Michigan, U.S.
While it was intriguing to see the pictures from Mars, there's still so much we don't know about our own planet. Our lives may depend on learning more about Earth's climate, its ecosystems and how pollutants affect its inhabitants. That research is much more important than exploring Mars.
Carpentersville, Illinois, U.S.
Empty Bellies, Hard Hearts
"Turning hunger into hatred" [Oct. 16], on the deteriorating conditions in Gaza, failed to mention the reasons Israel feels so threatened. Hamas is a terrorist entity. The government of Gaza is led by Hamas, whose charter calls for the elimination of Israel. Since its withdrawal from Gaza, Israel has been the target of hundreds of rockets fired by Hamas. Maybe the Palestinians should consider a nonterrorist government to lead them to peace.
Bruce S. Cooper
Columbia, Maryland, U.S.
I was dismayed by your article "Turning Hunger into Hatred" because of its rather limited perspective. One can't deny the suffering of Palestinians, but at the same time we should be acutely aware of what caused it not Israeli bombs but Palestinian terrorists. The article explained in detail everything the Israelis have destroyed and how miserable Palestinians' lives are as a result. Not once did it explain the defensive reasons for Israel's actions. The blame lies solely with the Palestinians for encouraging terrorist activities.
Ruining Our Pun
Re "A not-quite-immaculate conception" [Oct. 16]: The tongue-in-cheek headline for the report on actress Keisha Castle-Hughes' pregnancy confused the Immaculate Conception of Mary with the virgin birth of Jesus. Roman Catholic dogma teaches that Mary was conceived without original sin and therefore didn't need to be baptized.
Paradise, Pennsylvania, U.S.
More Than a Democratic Label
Re Andrew Marshall's essay "Dictator's delight" [Oct. 9], on the Thai military coup: Democracy must not be a meaningless label. When Western leaders recommend that other nations implement democracy, they are endorsing a system of government that has checks and balances among the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. They surely do not envision the installation of a President who decides judicial matters without the presentation of evidence in a trial or a Prime Minister like Thaksin Shinawatra, who, as you noted, described the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi as "reasonable enough." We in the West have to be clear about what kind of government a country such as Thailand may install. Will it be one that balances the powers of its different branches? Or will it be one that misuses the label of democracy and allows a dictatorial leader to do as he wishes to serve his interests?