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Carter, Mideast and criticism

January 16, 2007

Re "Former aide criticizes Carter," Jan. 13

Kenneth W. Stein's complaints seem rather suspect. For example, his notes on the meeting with former Syrian President Hafez Assad, as cited in the article, do not contradict, nor are they inconsistent with, President Carter's assertion that Assad was willing to negotiate on the Golan Heights. His other cited criticisms are caused by having a different recollection of the Assad meeting, which took place 17 years ago. I venture to say that you take any meeting, even if the participants took notes, and 17 years later they will have different impressions of what was and was not said. My suspicion is that Carter and Stein heard and remembered things that they wanted to hear and forgot the things they did not want to hear. It seems to me that the main problem critics have with Carter's book is that he has the temerity to criticize Israel.

GARY PAGE

Hemet

*

Carter has probably done more for Israel's security and prosperity than any other living American. The Egyptian-Israeli Camp David peace accords of 1979 laid the foundation for Israel's current success and freedom from attack by any combination of its Arab neighbor states. That is no small accomplishment. To discuss how America's billions in aid to Israel are used and whether this aid helps or hinders America's other interests in the area is not a sin. Our billions, our bombs and now our blood haven't solved our problems in the area. Maybe using our brains will. Can't we at least have the discussion?

GEORGE SAADE

Downey

*

Even if the errors in Carter's book are corrected in future editions, once a perception is created by misinformation, it is tough to correct the wrongs. Carter especially should be aware that the only democracy in that region is Israel. After 9/11, we don't need a former president to create false information to suit his mission and fuel the enemy with more hatred.

SUSANNE M. REYTO

Los Angeles

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