I'm tired of hearing folks complaining about politicians interfering with military decisions, in regards to our war against Iraq.

It was a politician who created the tiny group of incompetent political appointees who got us into this horrible mess to begin with.

It was a politician who dismissed a secretary of state with superb military and diplomatic credentials because his opinion differed from the groupthink of his tiny organization.

It was a politician whose "personal loyalty above all" credo dragged us deeper and deeper into this quagmire, ignoring the advice of any and all who had a different opinion.

It is a politician who now gambles with the global reputation of America as a peace-loving bastion of freedom in a frantic effort to salvage his reputation, his place in history.

It is a politician who refuses to admit that he's wrong - no matter what the price.

Randy Lyons

West Chester

Where were friends?

I can think of nothing more heartbreaking than the parents of that Rider University freshman coming to reclaim the body of their young man ("Freshman at Rider dies after drinking," March 31).

The question this awful loss of life raises is what responsibility universities have for the conduct of the fraternities they allow on campus. What kind of monitoring do the universities have of the conduct and practices of these groups, particularly initiation rites? Certainly they ought to be liable, as should the fraternities, for the outcomes of hazing practices.

As a young sailor in World War II, I had my own initiation into the world of booze at our ship's homecoming party in 1945. I had no experience with alcohol. Fortunately, I had a group that cared about me. They were called shipmates, and they told me at one point, "You have had enough to drink, kid." Who in the fraternity or the university cared as much about Gary DeVercelly? That question must be answered.

Jack Nolan


Seeking a middle way

As an immigration attorney who believes that there is a middle ground between wholesale amnesty and hermetically sealing our borders, I resent the implication that those who are troubled by an influx of undocumented and unidentified foreigners in our midst are somehow racist and xenophobic.

A trip to the Ellis Island Museum and a little bit of research into the restrictionist laws that existed during prior waves of immigration will convince that it was extremely difficult to gain admission to this country in the past. It was quite common for immigrants to be forcibly returned to their home countries on the next outbound ship for medical reasons or because they didn't have a sponsor. To say that it was easier to immigrate back then also ignores the wholesale exclusion of certain ethnicities like the Chinese. There are no such exclusions today.

So while Hazleton might not have found an effective solution to illegal immigration, it is unfair and uninformed to label the initiative, and those who support it, as xenophobic. People of goodwill are on both sides of the argument. The key is finding a way to bring them together in the middle. Name-calling doesn't help.

Christine Flowers


King Tut trickery

I am wondering if anyone else was disappointed to learn that the famous King Tut gold death mask, used so prominently in all Franklin Institute ads for its exhibit, is not among the artifacts on display.

It isn't that we can't understand why the risk of damaging this treasure precluded its shipment and handling, but we question the decision by the show's promoters to use this image, with the clear implication that ticket-buyers will see it.

Bill Hendrick

Warwick Township

New tactics needed

Putting Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson and other high-ranking officers on the streets will not make them safe. First of all, many of the criminals aren't afraid of the police, and, second, some of the police are just as bad as the criminals.

They tried putting more cops on the street last summer, and it got us nowhere. The commissioner and politicians need to think of other ways to stop the violence. Citywide meetings are not helping, either. This is just where people come to vent.

Major actions need to be taken. Laws need to be changed. If you get caught with a gun, there should be major consequences. Also, some parents need to be held responsible.

Aisha Brown