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In his commentary "The Barak Paradox," Charles Krauthammer says the outbreak of violence in the Middle East is proof that the "dovish" approach advocated by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's government is painfully misguided [ESSAY, Oct. 23]. But does Krauthammer truly believe that seven years of Israeli peace initiatives and negotiations with, and concessions to, the Palestinians should be enough time and effort to turn the tide on centuries-old religious and ethnic enmity? And even if he believes that, how can he suggest that Barak give up doing what is right in exchange for the military imposition of a peace that is no peace at all? In fact, as individuals we face our greatest opposition--even violence--when the actions we take and positions we confess are fundamentally the right thing. DON DEENA JOHNSON Anderson, Ind.
Many Jews and ex-Israelis are extremely hawkish while leading safe and comfortable lives in New York City, Paris and London. They urge us Israelis not to give up an inch, to show strength, to send our sons to war. If we win a swift and stunning victory, they will be enormously proud. But if not, well, it's no skin off their back. SHMUEL OFRI Tel Aviv
Krauthammer's comparison of Ehud Barak with Neville Chamberlain, implicitly equating Arafat and the Palestinians with Hitler and Nazi Germany, was ludicrous. Were British forces occupying Germany at the time of Chamberlain's negotiations? Was Hitler the leader of fighters armed primarily with rocks, bottles and handguns? The two situations are not parallel in the least. The Palestinians are frustrated with the ongoing occupation. They have been given only symbolic aspects of statehood. JEFFREY DAVIS Durham, N.C.
Not Dead Yet
You asked, "Is The New Economy Dead?" [BUSINESS, Oct. 23]. Hardly. It just took a while for the dictum of the old economy to assert itself: a business is supposed to provide a product or service for a profit. Technical savvy and a dotcom tag are no substitutes for a sound business plan. I work for an information-technology company that has never lost money and has fueled growth through its own earnings. You should look at enterprises like ours instead of snickering at those whose overinflated financial balloons have been pricked by reality. Imagine, a profitable dotcom! ALEX LEKAS Fayetteville, N.C.
Getting into College
I perceive a double standard in what college admissions officials are purportedly looking for, as described in your story on the admissions process at three top schools [EDUCATION, Oct. 23]. On the one hand, the process favors students with "overcome" factors [those who come from families with little education or money], but on the other, evaluators can interpret a teacher's comment of "hardworking and motivated" to mean "the student isn't too smart." As a public high school teacher, I admire a student who has "overcome" a less than genius-level IQ to excel through consistent, honest effort and determination. Those students have proved themselves capable of the self-discipline and drive needed to succeed in college. ELLEN JANIS Chino Hills, Calif.