Fighting for Every Last Vote
The right to vote is the very core of democracy. We cannot allow public apathy and political manipulation to undermine it.
Lauderhill, Florida, U.S.
Re "crunch time," your report on the final days of the presidential campaign [Oct. 18]: Not once during the debates or political rallies did any candidate seriously scrutinize the subject of space travel and exploration. Let's face it: space is a lost cause these days. Science in general is hurting. We know the geography of Iraq better than we know the ocean depths. Back in the cold war era, science blossomed because of funding provided for nuclear-weapons research. In ancient times, scientific ideas prospered as people discovered and explored the new out of sheer curiosity. Imagine a universe just 50 years in the future in which a summer house on Mars is perfectly affordable to the lower middle class, ordinary travelers take sightseeing tours of the moons of Jupiter and starships sail majestically through the soundless void. But in this U.S. election season, science has been completely bypassed.
Orlando, Florida, U.S.
The ability to vote freely is under attack. Registration forms have been torn up and discarded, minorities and college students have been intimidated, and registrations have been disallowed for the slightest imperfection. Am I alone in feeling outraged, appalled, terrified? The right to vote is the very core of democracy. We cannot allow public apathy and political manipulation to undermine it.
Lauderhill, Florida, U.S.
I am troubled by people who say, "I never vote for the party, I vote for the man." You can't have one without the other. The candidate belongs to the party, and what you see is what you get. The party declares its stance on the issues, and its candidates had better stick to those positions or they won't get financing from the party. Politicians will always side with the majority of their party on any issue, whether it be abortion, Iraq, the Patriot Act, or raising or lowering income taxes.
Coarsegold, California, U.S.
A Lesson Learned
The candidates' lack of honesty about tax policy during the presidential debates is a matter for concern [Oct. 18]. But remember the 1984 debate between Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale, when the latter infamously predicted that the next President, whoever he might be, would definitely raise taxes? At the same time, Reagan said he would not increase taxes. Two things happened after that: Mondale lost 49 out of 50 states, and Reagan raised taxes. Want honesty in debates? Forget about it!
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Your article "What Saddam was Really Thinking" described disclosures made in Charles Duelfer's cia report on Iraq's alleged weapons arsenal [Oct. 18]. The greatest mystery is not why Saddam Hussein let the world assume he had weapons of mass destruction (wmd) but why, with the best intelligence our hard-earned tax money could buy, the U.S. was totally fooled and as a result has lost more than 1,100 precious American lives. I shudder to think what other surprises await us.
J. Connor Boggs
Kaneohe, Hawaii, U.S.
The U.S. and Britain may have gone into Iraq under false pretenses. But had we not taken the action we did, we probably would seriously regret it in the long run. Saddam certainly had ambitions that, given time to mature, would have affected all the world, greatly to our detriment. Now that we have taken steps to set things right in Iraq, we need to pray for wisdom for our leaders so that they will see this through to a just end for the Iraqis.
Can anyone explain how the British and American people are expected to condone the continuing participation of our troops in this illegal war in Iraq? What is the object of it all? The U.S.-led action has caused chaos in the country. Numerous Iraqi towns are in turmoil, with limited electric power supply and no central authority in control. The casualties are mounting daily; more than 1,100 U.S. soldiers have died. How many more tragic family bereavements must there be before logic prevails and our leaders get in touch with reality and decide to cut our losses in this no-win situation?
Your story posed a head scratcher. You reported that Iraqi military morale sank when Saddam informed his senior officers that they would have to fight the coalition without biological, chemical or nuclear weapons. But the story also said that "military officers lied about their preparedness," which led Saddam to miscalculate Iraq's ability to deter an invasion. Was Saddam the duper or the duped?
"10 Questions for Wangari Maathai" [Oct. 18], Time's interview with the founder of the tree-planting Green Belt Movement and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, deeply touched me as well as many other environmentalists. The big issue is that while Africa's ostensible leaders are thinking only about politics, Maathai has shown that she has a new idea for a road map to peace in Africa sustainable management of natural resources. People like Maathai need to be among the decision makers who set policy for the African Union. Her new approach to peace is one the African continent badly needs.
David Mbai Mboe
While tens of thousands of Darfurians are being systematically raped, murdered, tortured, starved and driven from their homes [Oct. 4], the world community can only stand by, arguing about the correct technical term to use to describe the situation and appointing commissions to "investigate" this atrocity. The U.S. has illegally marched into Iraq, while defenseless human beings are being slaughtered in Sudan. I don't care if you call it genocide, slaughter or a disaster the Darfurian people need assistance.
It is deplorable that we are spending so much time, effort and money in Iraq. We proclaim how great it is that Americans are bringing freedom to Iraqis, but we are not lifting a finger militarily to stop the killings in Sudan. Our priorities are completely messed up.
Eagle Mountain, Utah, U.S.