May 22, 2012

In his May 17 Fine Print column, “Is the U.S. going too far to help Israel?,” Walter Pincus asked: “Should the United States put solving Israel’s budget problems ahead of its own?”

First, as Mr. Pincus probably knows, serious fiscal responsibility means dealing with burgeoning entitlement costs, far more than showy penny-pinching on the comparatively smaller rest of the budget.

Second, U.S. contributions toward Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense program enable Israel to avoid preemptive assaults on Iran and its clients. Does Mr. Pincus really want to encourage Israel to start a Mideast war preemptively?

Third, much of this spending would benefit the U.S. defense industry.

And fourth, attacks on whatever program in the name of fiscal responsibility are usually politics masked piously as fiscal responsibility. Here, too, is a case, I fear.

Fred Baumann, Mount Vernon, Ohio

Regarding aiding Israel’s defense: Rethinking U.S. defense spending in general is long past due. Many Americans consider this a Christian country, but our budget and policies do not reflect the teachings of Christianity or any other religion.

In addition to being immoral, our incredible investment in defense, for the United States and for our allies, is wasteful and often comes back to haunt us. Real security comes from meeting everyone’s basic needs: food, shelter, education and freedom from violence.

Christine Matthews, Washington