The investigation of the Haditha incident should also include the actions of Iraqis [June 12]. Those killed may have watched as an explosive device was planted along the road and did not give warning as the Marine convoy approached. That collusion makes them as guilty as the ones who planted the bomb. The Marine and Army grunts who deal with the complacent and devious citizens of Iraq are being held to an impossible standard.
James H. Rehrig
Nazareth, Pennsylvania, U.S.
If the allegations of the slaughter of innocent Iraqi men, women and children are proved to be true, the Marines involved should be punished accordingly. But the ultimate focus should be on the leaders who put our brave men and women in this hellish situation in the first place and who stubbornly and arrogantly leave them there to fight a senseless and unwinnable war.
Timonium, Maryland, U.S.
When men and women are sent into unjustifiable wars, when soldiers see their buddies get blown to pieces for no good reason, when there is a vacuum in moral leadership, then decent people become capable of horrific acts. We thought we learned this painful lesson in Vietnam, but we are sadly seeing history repeated in Iraq. The few bad eggs are not the brave men and women in the combat zones of Iraq but the cowardly men and women occupying the White House.
Irvine, California, U.S.
I forgive every single marine who might be guilty of any wrongdoing in Haditha. How many of us could endure the genuine fear of being blown apart day after day without going berserk? The atrocity is not Haditha; it is the war.
Laguna Beach, California, U.S.
It saddens me that a lot of innocent people died in Haditha. The members of Kilo Company apparently abused their power while serving there. Perhaps they were confused because they can't distinguish friend from foe. It's as though the My Lai massacre had happened again, albeit on a smaller scale. One thing is sure: history does repeat itself.
Jane Carla Yu
Quezon City, the Philippines
Your story refers to the Haditha incident as "an alleged atrocity committed by a small group of Marines that promises to haunt the hearts and minds of liberator and liberated alike." Liberated? From what? From living under a dictatorship, but in relative peace, to living under foreign occupation, in fear, poverty, civil war and terror? Under blatantly false and illegal pretenses, the U.S. invaded a country that had not attacked it or its allies. About 40,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, not to mention untold thousands of Iraqi conscript soldiers; the Americans are too arrogant to even keep count, publishing only their own fatalities. The reference to the "liberator" would be laughable if it weren't so tragic.
The truth in your report is that citizens and soldiers in Iraq are anguished and devastated. A thorough investigation should tell us what made the small group of Marines slaughter ordinary citizens, including a 4-year-old boy. It is high time for the U.S. and the world to rethink whether the Iraq war is still a fight for liberty and justice. If we fail to face the question, atrocities like the one in Haditha will happen again.
With all due respect, when Pope Benedict XVI visited the Nazi death camp Auschwitz and asked, "Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?", he didn't ask the right question [June 12]. A small part of God was murdered along with every innocent man, woman and child in the Nazi death camps, and God's question with each dying breath was, "Why, humankind, do you remain silent? How can you tolerate all this?" God is still asking.
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Watch Your Language
As a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Eastern Europe, I commend Charles Krauthammer for his excellent essay in favor of making English the official language of the U.S. [June 12]. I sometimes feel even more like a foreigner when I encounter people who have no intention of learning English and assimilating into this great society. Uncontrolled immigration is the major contributing factor to bilingualism. Although I am an immigrant, I still disapprove of our government's irresponsible immigration policy.
Clarksburg, Maryland, U.S.
English has been amusingly defined as the result of Norman men-at-arms trying to pick up Saxon barmaids. Its pragmatic, flexible nature has always been one of its great strengths. Make English the official language, and you will lose that strength. Why? Because if we make English the official language, then we must officially define what English is and is not. The French did this with their mother tongue, and what was once the international language of diplomacy has become an increasingly unimportant and backwater dialect.
Mountain View, California, U.S.
Hooray for Krauthammer! I grew up with a mother who didn't speak English. Bilingual government services allow parents to avoid learning it. But it is devastating when children are forced to be the family's interpreters. Try having to miss class because you have to interpret for your mother at her gynecologist's. Let's be practical and make it really hard to function in our society without knowing the language.
Marcia Del Mar
Calabasas, California, U.S.
As a bilingual teacher in El Paso, Texas, for 20 years, I found that the drive to learn English is strong, and that by the second or third generation, most immigrant Hispanics are English speaking and, better, bilingual.
Patricia R. Campbell
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
Krauthammer vastly understated the problems that come with institutionalized multiculturalism. It has the effect of perpetuating immigrant segregation in Canada. The U.S. has its faults, but when all is said and done, people want to immigrate to that country to become Americans, not hyphenated Americans. Entrenching multiculturalism, especially using the Canadian example, would be a fundamental and painful mistake.
It's worth noting that whitehouse.gov, the official website of the U.S. President, offers the option of viewing that site in Spanish. I suppose if English were to become the official language, the website would have to change, and that could pose a problem at election time. Moreover, I think more revenue would be collected if tax forms continue to be available in Spanish. I suppose with the new mentality of Fortress America, if you're going to build walls to keep out the foreigners, you might as well use language to keep them out as well.
Helvoirt, the Netherlands
Quotas for Castes
Re "Battle of the Castes" [June 5]: the Indian government's decision to reserve 27% of university seats for lower-caste groups that are officially known as Other Backward Classes has raised some protests, giving the impression of a countrywide controversy. But the system is already prevalent in many states and is running successfully. It is like the homeopathic principle of treating similar with similar: substances that can cause symptoms can, as a remedy, also reverse them. The quota system is aimed at eradicating caste differences in due course.
A. Jacob Sahayam
I was born to a very poor Brahman family in Kerala, India. I agree with the critics who say that the government is reserving university seats and government jobs for Other Backward Classes as a way of hanging on to the big voting bloc of the lower castes. Modern India should be built on merit, not caste. There are lots of poor families struggling to make a living. I hope that some forward-looking politicians will be able to change India for the better.
I am truly appalled at how the U.S.the self-proclaimed protector of democracy and human rightscontinues to violate basic human rights at Guantánamo Bay [June 5]. What acute danger did 15-year-old Omar Khadr pose that warranted his detention with adults? If there is evidence, then put him on trial; otherwise, release him! It is a scandal and just unbelievable that the detainees, who may not be terrorists, do not get a trial, have no rights and have no prospect of the situation changing. How can the world just sit there and watch this happen?