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Saudis' Problems May Offer a Lesson for U.S.

May 20, 2003

Re "Saudis' Quicksand of Poverty," May 16: It says a lot about our foreign policy when our most reliable ally in the Arab world is a corrupt king who sits on the world's largest oil reserves and travels on a 234-foot yacht and takes 50 Mercedeses on vacation with him. Meanwhile, suburbs of his capital have raw sewage running through the streets and as many as 30% of his subjects may live in poverty.

Unfortunately, Al Qaeda is offering the only answer for the question we are not even asking: What are we going to do about it?

John Patrick Ormsbee

Newport Beach

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The article describing an increasing income disparity and the disintegration of the middle class in Saudia Arabia is a mirror all Americans should view.

Skilled, educated professionals are finding their jobs being outsourced to India and Pakistan, where labor is considerably cheaper, with little or no hope of finding decent replacement jobs.

Overseas outsourcing had devastating effects in Germany beginning in the early 1990s, resulting in persistent high unemployment and a weak economy. The same signs are appearing in California and the rest of this country: huge budget deficits, increasing unemployment among the middle class and increased sales and property taxes to offset the loss in income tax revenue. Finally we have something in common with the Saudis.

Monique Bryher

Tarzana

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Re "The Desecration of Islam," editorial cartoon, Commentary, May 17: Michael Ramirez has used the Kaaba of Mecca in very poor taste. To write "Terrorism" and "Al Qaeda was here" at its holiest shrine is disrespect of Islam. And we respectfully deplore The Times for publishing this cartoon.

Taher Campwala

Yorba Linda

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The Times keeps printing idiotic letters about not finding any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They are complaining about the results of a game before it is over.

(1) It is not over. (2) Finding anything in a country as large as the state of California not only takes time but may never happen. It's the proverbial needle in a haystack. (3) So what? We know Saddam Hussein had the weapons because he used them on his own people. Why is it necessary to find them? It might be nice, in that we could destroy them, but that's not why people are writing letters. Because things are going so well for this president, the liberals are getting more and more desperate to find things to complain about.

John Waugen

Anaheim

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The neoconservatives have clearly demonstrated their preferred approach to solving problems: beating up those they don't agree with. They have directed their fury against Afghanistan and Iraq. The result has been Osama bin Laden and Hussein still running loose, prisoners we don't know what to do with, Afghanistan warlords in control, chaos in Iraq and some former allies and the U.N. disgusted with us. To gain all of this, we have sacrificed lives in our military and wasted tax dollars.

This was all done in the name of anti-terrorism, and yet it continues, e.g., in Saudi Arabia and Morocco (May 17). Again, we are being promised by our leader that we will get those guys. The neoconservatives have had their day, and we have paid the price for nothing. Too much is too much. It's time for us to start thinking about securing more productive leadership using the ballot box.

Don Wickert

La Verne

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