Bob Jones, in the cover story about President Bush's recent press conference defending his handling of Iraq ("Gut check," April 24), did not acknowledge all the evidence in the Kay report concerning Iraq's potential to build weapons of mass destruction or the recent confirmations of connections between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Also, Mr. Jones wrote that "long-oppressed Shiites" have turned against the country that liberated them; to say that "some long-oppressed Shiites" have done so would have been more accurate.
-Joan C. Wendt, Stevensville, Mont.
Those families who sit through the 9/11 commission hearings, clutching photos of their dead and clapping when Democratic commissioners bully Bush administration witnesses, seem to believe that apologies help defeat terrorism. They should also demand an apology from Commissioner Jamie Gorelick, who wrote a memo that contributed to the intelligence failure ("Commissioner's complicity?" April 24). Ms. Gorelick should not sit in judgment of others, and she certainly should not be making recommendations for our country's future security.
-Mary E. Traeger
Problem of pain
Dr. Anand's testimony about fetal pain ("Painfully unaware," April 24) does help portray the unborn child as far more than a "blob of tissue," as a being separate from the mother, and as the recipient of cruel treatment. But fetal pain is still a side issue. By itself, this line of argument merely encourages the abortion industry to "improve" its techniques by finding ways to numb the child before killing him or her. The point isn't that a murderer causes someone pain, it's that the murderer destroys a human life.
I have always believed that fetuses are complete human beings and totally helpless, and that it is our job to protect them. Thank you for confirming that they, too, feel pain.
-Sarah McGowan, 15
Applause for Pastor Freshwater and the leadership of the Cross Church for standing firm ("Brother against brother," April 24). This sounds like a wake-up call to all churches to ensure that their bylaws line up precisely with Scripture.
"Brother against brother" hit home with me. Recently several local churches have split over things like worship style, the role of women, etc. Paul admonishes us to settle disputes among ourselves and not via the court system. It's sad to see such squabbling over disputable matters.
Mss. Michelman, Gandy, Goodman, and other abortion supporters who indignantly insist that new laws regarding abortion are an "attack on a woman's right to choose" fail to realize (or refuse to acknowledge) that by the time a woman is pregnant she has already made several choices ("One-track minds," April 24). These so-called pro-choice activists are choosing to be shortsighted and trying to excuse those who don't take into account the consequences of their behavior.
Andree Seu quoted Shakespeare to make the point that even Lady Macbeth would have faltered when it came to partial-birth abortion. However, Lady Macbeth also says, "I would, while [the baby] was smiling in my face, / Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums / And dashed the brains out" if it suited her purposes (I.vii. 56-58). Perhaps a different quote would have been more suitable.
-Anne-Cara Apple, 17
After the fact
Regarding "What might have been" (April 24): I understand what President Bush would have faced had he attempted to preempt the attackers. I, along with thousands of software engineers around the world, worked very hard to update programs and data so there would be no Y2K collapse. The thanks we got was, "See? The crisis wasn't going to be so bad." One of the prices we will always pay for our freedom in this marvelous country is that our government can mainly react, not prevent. As soon as we abandon this mode of operation we are no better than the countries we are trying to liberate.
The history of the fall of Rome seems to foreshadow a possible future for America ("Colorful fall," April 24). Mr. Veith has it right: America was born with a Christian moral base that gave us a strong foundation. Christians cannot abandon the political process by threatening election boycotts when they do not agree with every single decision by its elected leaders. Can Christians remain disengaged and hope the country will survive?
For many conservatives (WORLD editors included), a healthy skepticism about grand schemes and utopian programs in domestic policy does not seem to carry over into foreign policy. Doug Bandow ("A servant, not a god," April 17) asks: "Can there be greater hubris than the belief that one should forcibly ... transform entire societies?" While conservatives balk at liberal attempts to do this at home, they cheer the attempt to do this in Iraq. But Mr. Bandow's cautions that "such a project is fraught with peril and doomed to fail" apply there as well. It is inspiring to imagine that we can somehow build a democracy in Iraq, and it helps to think that our soldiers' lives have been sacrificed for such a noble cause. But little evidence suggests that Iraq possesses the legal, political, and social environment necessary for democracy to develop and function. Islam has failed to provide the proper theological and philosophical soil for democratic ideas and practices to take root. God may perform a miracle and transform the Arab nations into healthy democracies, but foreign policy should not be premised upon miraculous intervention.
Saitama City, Japan
Thank you for "All those in favor, say 'nay'" (April 17). Having written and lobbied as active citizens, we have repeatedly encountered this Pontius Pilate type of "logic" (and worse), as though it absolves the individual of complicity. When it comes to abortion, as with slavery, the "answer" is simple: Either one is an abolitionist, or one is not. Enough of this devilishly duplicitous tommyrot.
-John & Kristen Leonard
Their god is dead
I think the article about some Vietnamese worshipping dead whales is pretty funny and sad ("Blubber baal," April 17). Their mighty god appeared on the shore, dead. What kind of a god is that? You would think they would get the hint and recognize that their god is just a creature.
King David asked Joab to number his army, as described in 2 Samuel 24 ("Hot friend cooling," May 8, p. 59).