Democratic revision

Sen. Jim Webb (D., Va.), in making the Democrats' response to the president's State of the Union address, said, "The president took us into this war recklessly." The dishonesty of this statement ("Webb lays into Bush for Democrats," Jan. 24) is breathtaking. Webb neglected to point out that many Democrats also voted for the Iraq war resolution. In fact, many of the prominent Democrats announcing their intention to seek the office of the president in 2008 voted for the war.

Even more disturbing, many of these same Democrats were stronger advocates for us to change the regime in Iraq well before Bush was even president. Webb, like many politicians on both the left and right, continues to try to revise history.

Many Democrats continue to be in denial; they don't appear to recognize that the threat we are all facing may be the worst threat this nation has ever faced in its history.

Jerry Komar


Bring in the U.N.

Re: "Build nations," letter, Jan. 22:

In arguing that a more robust, less cautious approach toward "nation-building" on our part would be successful in Iraq, the letter writer goes back in history to recognize that "Mother Britain . . . had some rather interesting and successful ideas about how to handle world affairs."

But it's informative to note the recent change of tune displayed by probably the number-one exponent of our emulating the "successes" of Great Britain. Niall Ferguson, a professor at Harvard and Oxford and author of the book Empire, recently said "it is blue-helmet time," meaning time to turn over security in Iraq to the United Nations.

Armchair theorizing may seem an interesting pastime, until the theories are overtaken by the realities on the ground. While U.S. leaders try their hand at "nation-building," it is our soldiers and the Iraqis who suffer the consequences in the real world.

Len Perlman


Close the drive-ins

There's one easy way - though I am sure it would not be popular - to reduce auto emissions: Ban drive-in banks and restaurants. The bank I frequent always seems to have four or five cars in line idling their motors.

Imagine the auto exhaust from all the drive-in banks and restaurants nationwide. Eliminating drive-ins would make a difference. And maybe parking and walking would be good exercise for their patrons

Elizabeth D. Wilson


Hospital's new path

Re: "Penn Health System to buy Graduate," Jan. 24:

One might infer from the article that the medical staff views the transition of Graduate Hospital from acute care to rehabilitation services as a demotion. This implies a value system on health-care delivery that is not shared by our staff. What we lament in this process is not the change in health-care mission. It is the loss of collegial and patient-care relationships that have been nurtured over years for many of us, and over decades for some.

However, given that the direction of our institution will change dramatically in short order, we wish it success in its new role. It would be a fitting coda to our tenure for Graduate to become a leader in rehabilitation services, providing quality care and research advances in a way that continues its tradition of excellence over the past 100 years.

I am certain this hope is shared by the thousands of physicians who fondly recall their training at Graduate Hospital, and by all who have worked hard to develop the outstanding national reputation this facility has enjoyed through the years.

Alan D. Haber, M.D.

Medical staff president
Graduate Hospital

Police self-defense

I find it ironic that The Inquirer ran a story about possible lack of police control ("Killings by police: Why the sharp rise?," Jan. 21) at a time when the city streets are more dangerous than they were last year.

If you want to reduce what your paper calls "police killings," the citizens of Philadelphia have to: (1) show respect for themselves, (2) show respect for others and their property, and (3) show respect for the police.

The idea that everything has to be settled with a gun is a mentality that seems to be taught from early youth within the urban community.

Common sense tells you that if a policeman approaches you and you are doing nothing wrong, in most cases you have nothing to fear. I really can't blame officers for defending themselves if an individual points a firearm at them.

Robert Wolak