The figure on your cover must not be able to see any real "Visions of Tomorrow" through his blue-lensed glasses [Oct. 25]. The attention given to sports, cars, gadgets and the like in your reporting on the future caters to the affluent, self-centered and ignorant among us. Instead, we should be looking at nuclear, biological and chemical weapons proliferation, AIDS, poverty, the environment and Islamist extremists.
Los Osos, U.S.
Your story on futurologist Peter Schwartz, who imagines future scenarios to help businesses plan for catastrophes, stated his belief that another terrorist attack is inevitable, no matter how much money is spent on homeland security. But the struggle against terrorism should also address the teaching of hate within radical Muslim groups. Forward thinkers must convince the free countries of the world that the future of the war on terrorism is psychological. It is a battleground we have not yet entered. All immigrants and children in public, private and religious schools should receive a continuous program of civics, tolerance and respect demanded by our democratic societies. This is not just a war on the ground but also a struggle over the freedom of the mind.
Waiting in the Wings
Your article "Iraq's Shadow Ruler" [Oct. 25], on Islamic Shi'ite leader Grand Ayatullah Ali Husaini Sistani, stated: "The version of democracy [the U.S.] went to war to create in Iraq may not be the one it gets. To achieve a stable, free Iraq, there's no going around the power—and preferences—of ... Sistani." I doubt, however, that Sistani would ever cooperate with a pro-U.S. regime in Iraq. After all, your story quoted the cleric as telling citizens to ask the Americans they meet, "When are you leaving Iraq?"
Hope for Tibet?
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled religious and political leader, said in his interview with TIME [Oct. 25], "If you look at the Tibet situation locally, then it's hopeless. But from a wider perspective, it's hopeful." To me it looks as though the struggle for Tibetan independence from China will further diminish after the Dalai Lama's death. Exile and inaction never yield positive results. Although it is true that peaceful methods of promoting the cause of Tibetan freedom should be adopted, what has the Dalai Lama done to direct those efforts? In today's world, substituting philosophy for action does not yield results.
In Defense of Action
People are still objecting to the invasion of Iraq [Oct. 25]. But the fact is that President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair are nearly the only people who are willing to act and not just talk. If it weren't for these men, no action would have been taken against Saddam Hussein until the world was on the verge of destruction, and by then it would have been too late. Just imagine how effective the fight against terrorism could be if all the countries of the world worked together instead of sitting back and criticizing the actions of the U.S. and Britain.
Secunda, South Africa
Re columnist Joe Klein's "an overdose of Invective" [Oct. 25]: Although President Bush lowered himself to name calling during the U.S. presidential campaign, it's worth noting the considerable amount of invective hurled at him and his fellow Americans by people in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In postwar Europe, Americans were warmly received because of their altruism and decency. Today, Americans are almost universally shunned as imperialists. In three years, Bush has destroyed 50 years of hard-earned political, market and moral capital.
In his essay "the case for fearmongering" [Oct. 18], Charles Krauthammer wrote, "When you live in an age of terrorism with increasingly available weapons of mass destruction, it is the absence of fear that is utterly irrational." But fear has never helped a situation, nor has it ever been the grounds for good judgment. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." It would be a catastrophic mistake for us to let fear guide our decisions. Fear is the enemy.
Port Charlotte, U.S.
I reject Krauthammer's claim that "never in American history has fear been a more appropriate feeling." The difference between the frightful times of the past, such as the U.S. Civil War, the Great Depression and the cold war years, and today's situation is that whenever it seemed as though fear should have overcome the American psyche, our resolve and courage rose up to beat it back. Fear is a victory for terrorists and the enemies of America.
Royal Oak, U.S.
Should Americans be aware of potential terrorist activity? Of course. But we must understand that it is the policies of our government, not the mindless jealousy of fanatics, that make us the object of attacks. Sure, let's beef up domestic security, but let's also have some dialogue about the reasons we need it. Diatribes about irrational enemies feed unthinking fear and obscure any hope of real solutions.
Culver City, U.S.
Fear is precisely what we do not need. The Bush Administration exploited fear to justify its irrational attack on Iraq when in fact al-Qaeda was hiding elsewhere. Americans are intelligent enough to know we are facing a threat. A successful response must not be distorted by base emotions of insecurity, anger or revenge. We have the wisdom and the strength to overcome our enemies. We cannot afford fear.
Roland S. Fredericks
Riddles in the Desert
Your story "What Saddam was Really Thinking" posed a head scratcher [Oct. 18]. 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?
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. Numerous Iraqi towns are in turmoil, with limited electric power and no central authority in control. Casualties are mounting; 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?
The Greater Tragedy
What is happening in Sudan is ethnic cleansing, pure and simple [Oct. 4]. The government-backed Janjaweed Arab militia is committing genocide against non-Arab Muslims. Is the world waiting for Darfur to degenerate into another Bosnia or Rwanda? I am surprised by the evasive tactics of the Bush Administration and its European counterparts. After its blunders in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. does not want to be seen as antagonizing another Muslim state, and the European Union is foot dragging, probably out of fear of reprisal attacks by Islamist militants. The defenseless people of Darfur need the intervention of the free world before they are completely exterminated. We must collectively rise up and protect those people, whose only "sin" is that they are black.
Paul Onoriode Oteri
It is deplorable that we are spending so much time, effort and money in Iraq fighting a war based on lies. 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 as a nation are completely messed up.
Eagle Mountain, U.S.
The rationale for the war in Iraq hinged on dismantling a murderous regime. The Bush Administration's choice to ignore the situation in Sudan either reflects a lack of commitment to principle or calls into question the President's motives for invading Iraq.
Superhero, Super Man
Actor Christopher Reeve [MILE-STONES, Oct. 25] was paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a horse-riding accident in 1995. Afterward he devoted his life to publicizing the need for scientific research to successfully treat and heal spinal-cord injuries. TIME reported on his brave determination in an Aug. 26, 1996, cover story:
"To all appearances, Christopher Reeve is not moving. His hands lie in their black leather rests like fish on platters. Black straps hold them in place ... He and the chair are one—the 6-ft. 4-in. frame of the man conforming to the contours of the black metal contraption ... He appears least mobile when viewed from the rear. Only the top of his head is visible above the black head support ... 'You're sitting here fighting depression,' he says. 'You're in shock. You look out the window, and you can't believe where you are. And THE THOUGHT THAT KEEPS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND IS, THIS CAN'T BE MY LIFE. THERE'S BEEN A MISTAKE ... When John Kennedy promised that by the end of the 1960s we would put a man on the moon,' he says, 'everybody, including the scientists, shook their heads in dismay. But we did it. We can cure spinal-cord injuries too, if there's the will. What was possible in outer space is possible in inner space.'"