Bono's good intentions for aiding Africa are admirable, but he appears to believe that government-to-government aid will help Africans [April 2]. This is wishful thinking. Liberal Western democracies have poured billions into Africa to relieve suffering, but the money has disappeared, with no benefits for the people. The only hope is people-to-people aid, like what was recently provided by Oprah Winfrey at her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. She personally funded and supervised the school's design and construction and approved the curriculum, instructors and the selection of the most outstanding students. If we could find another billionaire who would do the same thing for outstanding African boys, there would be hope for saving Africa from itself.
Jack H. Stuart, EAGLE, IDAHO, U.S.
Wow, Bono didn't point fingers at anyone or accuse the U.S. of not sending enough money to Africa. What a rarity from a celebrity! Bono's well-written insight is inspiring and has heart. He recognizes that the U.S. isn't the only country with Africa's fate resting on its shoulders. European nations also need to take action.
Sarah Gooch, COLUMBIA, MISSOURI, U.S.
Working the Borderlands
I read Aryn Baker's article on Talibanistan [April 2] with interest, since I spent time working in the borderlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan in the early 1980s and '90s. It isn't in the least odd that a Waziri elder in Pakistan should look to Afghan President Hamid Karzai as his leader. When I first went to Peshawar, I discovered that Pashtuns had contempt for Punjabis, that they speak a different language and have very different customs. Lieut. General Hamid Gul may be a former director general of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, but old soldiers in Pakistan never really retire, short of the funeral shroud. He is an éminence grise to be watched. Since its founding, Pakistan has fundamentally been a military state. For U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher to see Pakistan as a potentially "moderate, stable, democratic Muslim nation" shows considerable optimism.
Michael Day-Thompson, VALE OF GLAMORGAN, WALES
Bullies Get the Boot
I was surprised by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen's "No Jerks Allowed" [April 2]. Cullen said "beastly bosses have shaved months off my life" and then defended them as being "some of the most gifted people I've known," as if that excuses their behavior. It is people like Cullen who create an atmosphere of acceptance for these cretins. There is no justification for jerks in the workplace. Give me an office full of smiley faces anytime.
Suzy Stephens, HAMPTON COVE, ALABAMA, U.S.
Beastly bosses don't reach the top because they're more gifted than the rest of us. They do so because they're more adept at practicing cutthroat office politics. I hope that Robert Sutton, author of The No Asshole Rule, is right. I would love to see corporate America purge itself of the "bullies, louts and misanthropes" who make millions of workers' lives a living hell. Of course, I'm not holding my breath.
Rick Ansorge, HOOVER, ALABAMA, U.S.
Smart, challenging, engaged, even-tempered and fair leaders raise the bar for employees a lot higher than do mean bosses. What is harder than treating people kindly? Being an evenhanded manager is not a job for wimps; the faint of heart need not apply.
Mary G. Sims, UNION, NEW JERSEY, U.S.
Was the casual, repeated use of the word a__hole spelled out in full really necessary? Thousands of old-fashioned parents have a bar of soap waiting with Cullen's name on it.
Rob Reynolds, SEATTLE
Oh, Give Them a Home
I was interested to read about the flourishing buffalo population, but the author could not resist reminding us that the species Bison bison is not a true buffalo [March 26]. I have been hearing this for about 65 years. I do not understand the zeal for calling the animals bison rather than buffalo when similar misidentities are usually ignored. For example, the pronghorn antelope is really not an antelope, and the jackrabbit is not a rabbit. Let's give bison a rest and let the buffalo roam along with other common usages.
Russell Schofiel, GLENDALE, ARIZONA, U.S.
The bison entrée in the photo was mouthwatering, but farming an animal for its meat could hardly be characterized as giving it a chance at life. There is something unutterably sick and unnerving about the idea that life is somehow worth living when it inevitably leads to someone's dinner plate.
Jason J. Yuen, CHICAGO
I raised an orphaned bison, and since bison are herd animals, he always wanted to be with me. When he was a small calf I allowed him into my house, but only with close supervision. As he grew, I curtailed his house privileges, both for his safety and that of my house. Gentle-seeming or not, an adult bison is 2,000 lbs. of wild animal and sharp horns. I caution your readers to understand that bison are not pets and should be handled only by experienced people with adequate facilities.
Roger Brooks, MANCOS, COLORADO, U.S.
Guns for Hire
I shed no tears for the mercenaries employed by private security firms who die in Iraq or any other theater of war [March 26]. These "dogs of war" are there at the behest of their rich employers, operating without any oversight or rules of engagement. These gun-toting cowboys charging around in their suvs taint the already sullied image of our military and government. They went into battle for two reasons: blood and money. Those who live by the sword should expect to perish by it. It is foolish for their families to expect that they are going to be safe. When even journalists and humanitarian relief workers are targets of violence in Iraq, why should these armed men be exempt? Their deaths highlight the ineptitude of the government that got us into this mess.
Farhad Sethna, AKRON, OHIO, U.S.
Throw Off the CAP?
In your ode to the E.U. you praised its Common Agricultural Policy (cap) Brussels-speak for protectionism and credit it with preserving that bucolic French countryside [March 26]. By preventing Africa from exporting to Europe, cap condemns millions of Africans to poverty and worse, but hey, what's that compared to a morning stroll around the Dordogne? I wish you would keep your aid, your condescension and the Irish rock stars who go with it, and just unshackle us by scrapping cap. But then Africa would develop of its own accord, with no thanks to Western aid and we wouldn't want that, would we?
Gillian Behrens, CAMPS BAY, SOUTH AFRICA
TIME Turns Another Page
As Shakespeare wrote, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." I still prefer Letters over Inbox [March 26] for your letters-to-the-editor column.
Vicki Weintraub, AVENTURA, FLORIDA, U.S.
Better Late than Never
You reported that the U.S. army has ordered trucks designed to deflect improvised-explosive-device blasts [March 26]. Where has the Pentagon been for the past 30 years? As a member of the South African Defense Force in 1979, I rode in vehicles shaped exactly how you described. They were most effective in diverting mine blasts away from passengers and thereby saving their lives. That the U.S. military has only now caught on makes it appear it does not have the lives of its soldiers at heart.
Wayne Pringle,MATRATIELE, SOUTH AFRICA