Glass Half Full
Bill Clinton has a masterly way of making an issue clear without making it simplistic ["The Case for Optimism," Oct. 1]. I appreciated the information as well as the positive tone. Yes, we have much work to do, but it's not all gloom and doom.
Oakland, Calif., U.S.
Clinton showed a bit of light at the end of the tunnel of wars, human-rights abuses and environmental disasters. The best reason for optimism was the four university students from India, Pakistan, China and Taiwan teaming up to find the best solution to real global social challenges.
There was a great deal of talk in Clinton's cover story about green energy, middle-class expansion and the empowerment of women. Nowhere was birth control mentioned. Clinton's optimism may be unrealistic without significant advancement in third-world birth control.
Bel Air, Md., U.S.
Re "The Madding Crowd" [Oct. 1]: Nowadays, the strongest desire of the Japanese is to move to a Western country. Japan is surrounded by North Korea, South Korea and China, who either try to lay claim to our land or threaten our people. It is unbelievable. Japan has been a very pacifist county since after World War II, but facing the current situation of the surrounding countries, it seems to be quite natural for us to change our policies and build enough military power to protect ourselves, even if it is against our beliefs.
We Are the 47%
Re Joe Klein's "The Imaginary Campaign" [Oct. 1], on Mitt Romney's recent comments: My husband and I are educated and successful 70-year-olds who worked 40 years or more as professionals. We raised educated and successful children, one a high school teacher of English literature and one an industrial electrician, who are raising their own educated and successful children. We have all saved and invested in this country and contributed time and money to our communities, and we all support the current President. But we are now deemed by a plutocrat to be people who view themselves as irresponsible victims.
Rita Kidd, catheys valley,
Our family has always been middle class, and I agree with Romney. His words were taken out of context and have been lit on fire by the news media. I have never been so frightened for our country as I am at this time. Come on, America, this election is a wake-up call. We can't take four more years of huge debt, doom and gloom.
Green River, Utah, U.S.
Big Coal Fights Back
Who can blame the coal industry for fighting against being replaced ["Coal, Hard Truths," Oct. 1]? But more and more citizens believe that pollution from carbon- and methane-based fuels threatens our future. Wind, solar and biothermal sources create jobs, protect lives and preserve land, air and water.
Recent deadly protests in the Middle East should not stop the U.S. government from being willing to work with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt ["Flash Point," Sept. 24]. Religion is central to the identity of Muslim nations; the principal organization trying to marry religious identity with human rights is the Muslim Brotherhood, which denounces violence and is, overall, a liberal group.
Elgin, Ill, U.S.
Crisis in Congo
Alex Perry in his article "Strong Man" [Sept. 24] downplays the humanitarian situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and suggests Oxfam has exaggerated the severity of the situation there. The M23 rebellion and the subsequent increased activity of armed groups taking advantage of security vacuums created when troops have left to fight the M23, have displaced hundreds of thousands. The U.N. says more than 494,000 people have fled brutal violence this year. Thousands more face other daily abuses of their basic human rights, including forced recruitment and death. As well as scaling up our humanitarian response including for 55,000 who fled M23 violence, as witnesses, we at Oxfam have a duty to draw attention to what is happening. We work in crises all over the world and stand by our description of this situation as a "catastrophic humanitarian crisis."
Sylvie Louchez, Oxfam Country Director, Democratic Republic of Congo,