Every war has its share of inexcusable fatal mistakes costing thousands of lives, but if the cause is worthwhile, you persevere and win, despite the inevitable errors. But here's the problem with Rubin and other liberals: They flat out don't believe in the mission, never did, and they'll be damned if they aren't going to do everything within their power to frame developments in a negative light.
John de Carville
They need to talk
In her Aug. 14 column, Trudy Rubin ably explained why President Bush can't afford to talk to Cindy Sheehan. Right now, Sheehan is the mother of one of more than 1,800 American soldiers who have died in Iraq. If she does not persevere in her efforts, following Bush from Crawford, Texas, to Washington to wherever, and if we, the American people, do not support her in demanding answers, all too soon she may become the mother of one of 60,000 American soldiers killed, as in Vietnam. Our nation cannot afford to let the conversation between Sheehan and the President not take place.
Judith A. Williams
Steps for peace
The Aug. 16 editorial on Israel's withdrawal from Gaza ("A hopeful first step") correctly says (1) that it represents for Israel a monumental, internal confrontation; and (2) that it remains hard to imagine a peaceful resolution on other issues, including Jerusalem and the Arab demand for a "right of return."
The editorial fails, however, to address the reason Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was forced to act alone: the Palestinians' failure to undergo any similar internal confrontations. Until the Palestinians end their unceasing incitement of hatred for Israel and Jews, dismantle terrorist organizations (not "contain" them, as the editorial states), accept Israel's right to live within secure borders and create a free and democratic society, no action by Israel, Sharon, or America or any other foreign donor will lead to comprehensive peace.
The definition of 'life'
Re: "When it truly is life or death," commentary, Aug. 10:
Why is Dominic Sisti so concerned about what he deems "fundamentally flawed" news coverage that dared suggest that Susan Torres "gave birth" to her child even though she was brain-dead? The fact that the remainder of her body was allowed to remain functioning through "life" support until after the birth (thus leading some news reports to suggest she had died), leads me to answer "yes" to Sisti's question as to whether this is "simply a matter of splitting hairs without much practical import. . . ."
We ought to be discussing how tremendous advances in science have allowed a life to be born.
A case such as this is not what leads people to be confused over end-of-life issues, as Sisti suggests. What leads to confusion are incidents such as the Terri Schiavo case, in which a husband is allowed to deny food and water to his wife and causes her to die, even though she was very much alive.
The writer teaches theology and contemporary medical ethics at Immaculata University.
Paying your share
Re: "The estate tax is unjust and hurts the economy," letter, Aug. 5:
The letter calls the estate tax "fundamentally unfair." What's fundamentally unfair is to saddle future generations with debt. Budget deficits are thus very relevant to the question of the estate tax. You must treat your country's debt as your own; how else can you call yourself a citizen? If you don't pay off your share of the national debt during your life, it's only fair that you should pay it when you die.
A Reader Responds
Peco-PSE&G merger will benefit all
The July 25 editorial suggested that consumers had "no reason to cheer" about the pending merger between Peco Energy's parent Exelon and our New Jersey neighboring utility, PSE&G. I disagree and believe this merger will bring benefits for our customers, employees and shareholders.
Here are a few things Peco customers can feel good about. First, Peco has kept its electric rates stable since 1993, while improving productivity and absorbing rising operational costs. Peco also has the largest and most generous program in the state to help low-income households deal with their utility costs, and we've been unwavering in our long-standing commitment to the local community.
Peco has met the challenge from this summer's steamy weather when demand for electricity spiked to record levels. That's because we invest substantial amounts each year in upgrading and maintaining our delivery system to ensure dependable service. We've experienced our best overall reliability in each of the last two years.
Still, it is our intent to improve our performance in everything we do. For example, we've been recognized as one of the best utilities in the nation for worker safety. With that same zeal, we're working to improve customer satisfaction. Peco will benefit from the merger with PSE&G as we work together to become a better service utility.
We understand the public interest as we seek approval for the merger. Are we willing to share cost-savings or improve our low-income or environmental programs? Certainly, but demands from various parties in our proceedings before the state Public Utility Commission are staggering and would cost more than the savings anticipated from the merger. Interestingly, these demands often conflict. The challenge before the PUC and for all involved is to balance the interests of our customers with these competing wishes.
This merger will make us stronger together than either Peco or PSE&G would be alone - stronger to provide quality service for our customers, new opportunities for employees, and consistent value for our shareholders. We're confident a reasonable outcome can be reached.
President, Peco Energy