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American Civil Service Is a Reason for Pride

September 15, 2003

"Subject: I Need Help"(Sept. 11), your front-page story about Jude Shao and the Kafkaesque workings of the Chinese civil service, should serve to remind us of the many unsung heroes of the American civil service. It is not just our firemen and policemen who are the "finest."

America is one of the few countries in the world where civil servants take their work seriously as a service to the community instead of a position from which to extort and bully their constituents. America is one of the few countries in the world where the government believes that its duty is to serve the people. Our legal system is responsible to the truth, not to special interests.

Let us not forget, even on the anniversary of 9/11, that evil is prevented by vigilance and solidarity and the freedom to speak out, not by wiretapping and confinement of prisoners in secret, offshore prisons without access to the law.

William Koelsch

Pasadena

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