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Costs of New War Not Revealed

July 14, 2002

In the past, major wars involved substantial government regulation of business and intrusion into the lives of citizens. As James Flanigan points out ["Homeland Security--a Burden and a Boon, July 7], individual businesses may benefit and the economy may be stimulated. But the primary effects of war--including the new war on terrorism--are cost, inconvenience and sacrifice.

Although past wars were primarily fought on foreign soil, the war on terrorism is largely going to take place at home. Airline travel will become more expensive and more of a hassle. To keep weapons of mass destruction from entering the country, ships and trucks will have to be inspected. International trade will be impeded and imports will be more expensive. Many private businesses will have to enhance security at costs that will be passed to consumers. Some businesses will not carry out their responsibilities and will have to be ordered to do so by government.

Government agents will have to see that those orders are carried out. State and local expenditures on public health will have to increase to deal with anthrax-type attacks. Taxes will have to be raised to pay for those efforts. And because the war on terrorism will not end with some general signing a surrender agreement, all of these costs will go on indefinitely.

Is anyone in the federal government, from the president on down, leveling with the American people about the economic and personal implications of the war on terrorism? I don't think so.

Daniel J.B. Mitchell

UCLA Anderson Graduate School

of Management and School of

Public Policy & Social Research

Los Angeles


Fewer Cell Phones Could Be a Good Thing

Re: "FCC Steps Up Airwave Hunt," July 5: So there might not be enough bandwidth for cell phones and the industry might suffer a financial downfall. Gosh, whatever will we do? I say it can't happen soon enough.

Imagine, drivers who pay attention. And the sweet sound of Muzak in your ear at the grocery store, instead of someone's date details or dinner menu. I say let the industry collapse, and let's return to civility. The telecommunications industry needs to pay a price for its unbridled greed. Besides, society is not going to crash and burn without cell phones.

As for your figure that the 50% of those without the devices are elderly, poor or children who cannot afford them, that is laughable. Did it occur to you that millions of normal Americans do not worship at the trough of technology and simply do not need electronic gadgets to feel "connected" to the world or to impress everyone? The high-tech hucksters need to realize that we aren't all idiots willing to throw our hard-earned money at these dubious and dastardly devices, which with few exceptions represent no more than convenience and instant gratification masquerading as necessity.

Chris Borden



Ford's Crown Victoria Response Surprising

If your articles on Ford's Crown Victoria's cars ["Recall Pressure Rises Against Ford," June 22] were meant as a general public announcement, they certainly were a wake-up call for myself.

I'm overwhelmed by the arrogance of Ford Motor Co.'s response to the dangers in these cars. They reluctantly agreed "to investigate" the gas-tank explosion in police cars and "might" do some corrective measure but would not do anything to the civilian version of the same cars because civilians don't have the frequency of rear-end collisions as police cars. How is that for integrity and ethics?

This company, still run by Ford family members, apparently learned nothing from the Firestone dangers and less from the present corporate greed we are experiencing in America. There is no Ford in my future because there might not be any future if I were in a Ford.

Robert F. Barron

Palos Verdes Peninsula


Story a Misleading View

of Oracle's Outlook

Joe Menn's "Competition, Slumping Sales Cloud Oracle's Outlook," [June 23] mentions the departure of Larry Ellison's deputies, "from Oracle co-founder Bob Miner to Ray Lane, all of whom have left the company."

Ray Lane did leave Oracle two years ago. Bob Miner was still on the company payroll when he died of cancer in November 1994.

Menn seems far more concerned with reinforcing media-fed stereotypes about Ellison's personal life and wealth than with presenting a thoughtful or even accurate depiction of Oracle's business.

His misleading synopsis of Oracle's current business and growth potential completely ignores the hard data we provided him on these specific areas, and he clearly made no effort to present a fair or balanced perspective from our customer and analyst communities.

Despite the L.A. Times' extensive coverage of the issues with the state of California, Menn presents a simplistic and one-sided view of this complex situation, neglecting to even mention the multiple independent audit reports that consistently highlight the benefits California taxpayers could realize from this deal.

Jim Finn

Vice President of Corporate

Communications, Oracle Corp.

Redwood Shores, Calif.


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