Preventing Malaria

Enriqueta Bond's July 12 op-ed column on the resurgence of malaria was disappointing. Instead of chemicals and drugs that bring higher tolerance, a simple solution has many other long-ranging beneficial effects: changing the slash-and-burn agricultural policy practiced on a wide scale in the tropical regions of Africa. Removing green debris from a field after harvest, typically for fuel in homes, reduces nutrient replenishment in the soil; water pools on the bare soil and mosquitoes thrive. Changing approaches would benefit both residents and soil.

-- Catherine A. Cooper

Assumption, Ill.

Lies of Varying Stripes

Jim Eltringham says that protesters at former president Bill Clinton's book signing were young, conservative activists "disgusted by Clinton's legacy of lies" [Free For All, July 17]. I assume this means they will be campaigning vigorously against President Bush in the fall election.

After all, Bush has told some whoppers. Clinton lied about his sex life, something of harm to only himself and his family. Bush lied to the nation about Saddam Hussein and Iraq, something that has led to the deaths of more than 800 innocent Americans and thousands of Iraqis as the cost of removing from power a bad person who was of no danger to the United States. Which lies were worse?

-- Melissa Yorks

Gaithersburg

A Line Crossed

Your July 18 editorial cartoon was offensive. Tom Toles crossed the line between free speech and libel. Accusing President Bush of gay bashing is ridiculous and unsubstantiated. Believing that marriage should be between one man and one woman does not constitute gay bashing, and living according to one's deeply held beliefs and not being ashamed to express them does not constitute religious pandering. Toles's cartoon constitutes hate speech.

-- Christine Cooper

Alexandria

That's Sgt. Major, Sir

As a Marine, I must inform you that I found a consistent mistake in the July 15 obituary on highly decorated Marine Louis Roundtree. Roundtree was a sergeant major, not a sergeant; sergeant is an Army term and an improper way to address a Marine.

-- Staff Sgt. Steve Sekula

Quantico

Women Degraded

Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea M. Den Boer appear at first to possess a feminist concern for the lower value that baby girls have in some Asian societies [op-ed, July 4]. I anticipated a column focused on ways in which Asian women could improve their lot through education, access to health care or reduced childbearing.

Instead, the authors provided a rationale against sex-selective abortion based solely on the future availability of women for marriage to men who would otherwise wreak political havoc if they did not have the benefits of matrimony. Did I read that right? Women's primary purpose in Asia in the 21st century is to wed and bed men so that the men will not behave in antisocial ways?

-- Kit Bonson

Silver Spring

He's No Eddy Merckx

Though Lance Armstrong is among the elite in cycling, he will hardly "cement his position as the most dominant rider in the sport's 100-year history," as Keith B. Richburg writes [front page, July 18]. The Belgian Eddy Merckx is by far the most dominant bicycle racer cycling will ever see.

Merckx, who retired in 1977, competed in all types of races, from one-day classics to Grand Tours. He had in excess of 500 victories in his 12-year professional career, including 5 Tours de France, 5 Giros de Italia, the Vuelta a Espana and 29 Classics. Armstrong concentrates solely on winning the Tour de France. He doesn't wear himself out by entering other races. It's a great advantage over the other riders.

-- Walter Pretzer

Bowie

No Sale for Armstrong

Susan Levine writes of one of the world's greatest cyclists: "He can expect to peddle through dense roadside crowds" [Sports, July 21]. I wonder what Lance Armstrong was selling from his bike?

-- Tibor Borsos

Chevy Chase