Saturday, September 22, 2007

America's Faded Image

Karen P. Hughes ["Sinking in the Polls," op-ed, Sept. 17] wrote that only a minority of people in the Middle East support terrorist activities and that support has been declining since 2001. But she barely mentioned that the formerly positive view of America held by an overwhelming majority of people in the Middle East has dropped precipitously.

In Turkey, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project, those with a favorable view of America dropped from 52 percent of residents surveyed in 2002 to 9 percent of those surveyed today. In large part this is due to hostility to U.S. foreign policies in the region, but it is also due to the ineptitude of public diplomacy under Hughes's leadership at the State Department. Better outreach would help.

-- Robert Anton Mertz


The Missing Democrats

What happened to the Democrats' influence that would follow from their having a majority in the Senate? Your Sept. 19 editorial "A 'Palpable Injustice' " stated that the vote was 57 to 42 for a procedural motion to send the D.C. statehood bill to the floor, but you don't mention a single Democrat who voted against it. Did they all support it?

I am surprised that you didn't take to task Democrats who were opposed (there was one, as well as one Democrat who didn't vote). Maybe you could let us know who they were, since this is a local issue. I guess I will have to read about it in the City Paper.

-- Daphne Palmer Murphy


Singling Out Moran?

The Post seems to allot a disproportionate amount of space to unfavorable articles about Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.). Two articles in one issue suggest a degree of bias ["Jim Moran's Mouth, Again," op-ed, Sept. 15; "Moran Upsets Jewish Groups Again," Metro]. Do his views on Israel prompt such interest? Is it possible that any discussion of Israel that is less than favorable inevitably is labeled anti-Semitic to muffle the discussion?

Talking about Israel is important. The discussion is much more open in Israel's media than it is here. I'd like to see more good journalism discussing the issues that Moran brings to the table and less emotionalism when it comes to Israel.

-- Nora Burgan

Falls Church

A Costly Flying Error

As a general aviation pilot, I took exception to the Sept. 16 Metro article about the plane crash that killed former test pilot Scott Crossfield. The article said the circumstances of his death were "akin to a NASCAR driver being killed in a minivan on the way to the supermarket." A better analogy would be a NASCAR driver being killed in a minivan on the way to the supermarket with a tornado along his route.

Most if not all instrument-rated pilots would find nothing mysterious about what happened to Crossfield. He made the bad decision to fly a light aircraft into bad weather, and, sadly, he paid with his life.

Jetliners with infinitely more power and speed, as well as the best weather detection equipment and two pilots, do not fly near thunderstorms. Storms destroy airplanes, especially small ones, and all the flying experience in the world can't change that.

-- Joseph Kelly


The War's Impact

Stephen Hunter's Sept. 14 Weekend review of "In the Valley of Elah" failed to show the blind eye we've turned to war's impact on our military. If he hadn't taken the easy way out by labeling the film antiwar, he'd have seen the points that Ellen McCarthy reported the same day from cast member Susan Sarandon on the difficulty of retaining one's humanity in light of unspeakable horrors ["When the War Comes to the Home Front," Weekend].

Contrary to Hunter's suggestion, the murderers' failure to bury the body, and their reasoning, were not "generic." He also posited that the inverted flag was contrived, but he didn't consider the cost of the gesture to the murder victim's father, a retired veteran faced with the military's unexpected failure to address his son's trauma. Far from being an antiwar statement, the film's message underlines the consequences of untreated post-traumatic stress disorder.

-- Leneice Wu

Falls Church

Madame Clinton?

In your Sept. 18 editorial "Fixing Health Care," you repeatedly referred to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as Ms. Clinton. Last I heard, she was married to former president Bill Clinton, which would make her Mrs. Clinton.

-- John Donnelly


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