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The uses of war; Israeli-Palestinian strife; street "art"

March 16, 2011

An enduring calm

Re "A race against time," March 13

If we cannot learn from the tragedy in Japan how to prepare for a disaster and its horrific aftermath, perhaps we can learn something more human and humanely important: That is the calm resolve of the Japanese people who are waiting for help.

Where we would probably be rioting, looting and causing more destruction through our own panic and selfishness, the thousands of humble yet devastated Japanese have displayed to the world the pure and sincere act of patience.

Denise Gee

San Clemente

Questions of war

Re "War, what is it meant for?," Editorial, March 12

Your editorial mentions the United Nations only once, in its reference to the "responsibility to protect" doctrine justifying "collective action" by "the international community" in cases of atrocities.

These days, many compassionate people are asking why the U.S. is sitting by as Libya's Moammar Kadafi massacres his own citizens. As hard as it is to witness that, I agree with those who say that the U.S. lacks the moral authority to be the world's policeman. I also believe we lack any authority to act militarily in an undeclared war unless it is as one member of a United Nations peacekeeping force.

War is a deadly, necessary evil that engenders more war.

Lanny Kaufer

Ojai

I believe one of the biggest differences between Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011 is that no pretext needs to be invented for intervention in Libya. Does The Times' opposition to assisting the rebels at this point possibly have anything to do with the media's lingering guilt over sitting on their hands before the Bush administration led us to war?

I wonder how America will feel when the Libyan rebels are in their graves and we knew we had the power to prevent it and didn't.

Roderick Gates

El Cajon

President Obama should be commended for not acquiescing to political pressure to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. Kadafi and his sons are barbaric criminals, but I find it startling that prominent politicians such as Sens. John McCain and John Kerry would call for a military attack to secure the airspace over Libya.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates understands that once we start, it will be very difficult to get out. It's unfortunate that the same restraint was not exercised regarding Iraq, where our presence will be felt for many years.

I am encouraged that most Americans have learned the lessons from the past and appreciate the president's command of the situation, but I am quite disturbed by the memory lapses of some of our senior lawmakers.

Paul Shubunka

Santa Clarita

The United States should go to war whenever foreign troops land on our shores.

Michael Helperin

Los Angeles

The cycle of violence

Re "Israel vows to build more after attack," March 14

The killing of five Jewish settlers speaks volumes about the horrendous conditions in this settlement and the tragic retaliation by the Palestinians. It is such a double standard for the Israelis to denounce this horror but to ignore any possible events that led up to it. To politicize this tragedy is even more distressing.

When will Israel realize that stealing the land of others and humiliating them can only lead to such horrible acts of revenge? Israel's vow to expand its settlements will surely increase Palestinian rage and lead to future attacks and a state of perpetual war.

Lillian Laskin

Los Angeles

Palestinian hatred of Jews was exemplified by Friday's massacre of a rabbi and his family in the village of Itamar. We are witness to hatred fostered over generations. This is the reason for Israel's extensive security measures. Israel's enemies would have us believe that their behavior is justified because of Israel's security measures.

Who can say that an agreement by Israel to disarm for peace would end such slaughter? This kind of inhumane behavior is the result of a climate of hatred. Long metastasized, it cannot be contained by treaties.

If Palestinians really want peace with Israel, they must immediately end their poisonous defamation and prolific propagation of war and hate.

Gary Dalin

Venice

Airport safety

Re "Airport urged to shut flight schools," March 11

Your article noted L.A. City Council members' citation of hazardous exhaust and the recent crash at the runway-adjacent Penmar Golf Course behind their strategy to close Santa Monica Airport. But it neglected to mention why they will likely fail.

The city of Santa Monica is legally obligated to make the airport available for public use. This means the entire public, not just those close to the airport.

The airport's true public function is to serve as an emergency transportation and evacuation link. The closure of Pacific Coast Highway or nearby freeways would be mitigated by the airport's safety functions: medical evacuation, Civil Air Patrol and disaster communication. These are useless without competent pilots. Flight schools are vital.

As for the recent crash, pilots aim for the golf course to minimize loss of life. The Penmar crash showed the system works.

Ariel Hazi

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