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Letters to the editor

Women's rights issues in Israel; defining success in Afghanistan; Newt Gingrich's rise in GOP polls

November 16, 2011
  • An ultra-Orthodox man passes a vandalized poster. Rights activists in Israel say many signs and bus placards showing women have been destroyed. (Sebastian Scheiner / Associated Press)
An ultra-Orthodox man passes a vandalized poster. Rights activists in… (Sebastian Scheiner, AP )

Battle of the sexes

Re "Israel women fear setback," Nov. 13

Why is it that ultra-conservative religions, no matter which one, always get around to deciding that women need to be controlled?

A caption for one of the article's photos reads, "Ultra-Orthodox leaders say segregation of the sexes in public places is needed to protect women from exploitation and men from temptation." Conservative Muslims give the same reasons for forcing women to wear burkas; other religious groups here offer similar reasoning for insisting that women wear strange garb.

It saddens me to see Israel lose its moral leadership as the ultra conservatives exert more influence.

Vanae Ehret

Sherman Oaks

Since The Times saw fit to publish a photo showing defaced posters of women, perhaps you will also run an article on the Bibi Aishas in the world who are being physically defaced by the Taliban. Aisha's husband cut off her nose and ears for running away to escape abuse.

You should start taking a deeper look at the horrors that are being perpetrated against women and gays in the Muslim world rather than the nonsense of defacing posters.

Dorothy Melvin

Los Angeles

As a feminist, I'm distressed to learn that the rights of Israeli women are being further abrogated by radical religionists. Wouldn't it be splendid, however, if the mistreated women of Israel threw in their lot with the even more mistreated Palestinians?

Like female Jewish Israelis, Palestinian citizens of Israel are routinely deprived of equal rights. Women and Palestinians are part of Israel's 99%.

Judith Remy Leder


The struggle for Afghanistan

Re "In Afghanistan, defining success is a struggle itself," Nov. 13

Your narrative of "defining success" in Afghanistan is vivid but misses the crux of the problem.

Our running from this ghastly war is a blatant echo of the disasters of Korea (we lost half of that country) and Vietnam (where was lost the entire country). The running away from America's enemies illustrates the amateurish bungling of politicians trying to run a war.

You can't win a war worrying about the cost. Wars are won by those who apply their maximum force at the enemy's weakest points and refuse to quit until the enemy is vanquished.

Casualties? Yes, in every war. There are more than 58,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. But no politician can be proud of deaths that do not lead to victory.

No one should be elected to public office who has not served in our armed forces.

Walter E. Murdock

Huntington Beach

The writer is a retired U.S. naval officer.

The Times reports that instead of focusing on the absence of popular support for Afghanistan's government, or its inability to provide basic security even in heavily fortified areas, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker is now suggesting that we should measure success partly by whether the average Afghan has hope of a better life for his or her children.

It is interesting that the article doesn't give Crocker's view on this point. The reader can only conclude that his view must be that Afghanistan has no such hope.

This isn't surprising, considering the mass poverty, illiteracy and unemployment in that country, which a 10-year occupation has done little to reverse.

John R. Yates

Los Angeles

Another week, another rival

Re "Gingrich rising? He's not surprised," Nov. 15

Despite President Obama's precarious political standing, the GOP will likely stumble once again. Although I respect Newt Gingrich's intellectual prowess, his personality would likely render him an ineffective president.

This election is the Republicans' to lose, but they will probably do exactly that, given the choice of candidates. That Gingrich is now the front-runner fulfills an old Chinese saying that in a pond where there are no fish, the shrimp is the king.

John T. Chiu

Newport Beach

First it's Rick Perry taking the lead over Mitt Romney, then it's Herman Cain passing Romney, and now it's Gingrich. Do you get the impression that most Republicans will take anyone but the flip-flopping Romney?

Ralph S. Brax


Vaccination is a better way

Re "Costly drug for smallpox questioned," Nov. 13

In a biological attack, there wouldn't be enough time to inoculate the U.S. population with a stockpiled smallpox vaccine. And $433 million spent on preparing a post-infection treatment that cannot be tested on humans and will never be approved by the Food and Drug Administration is $433 million down the toilet.

We baby boomers were all routinely immunized against smallpox. Why not be proactive and go back to inexpensive, effective, routine vaccination?

Julia Tyson


Now we know what President Obama means when he talks about tax breaks for the rich: his own gift of $433 million in taxpayer money to Ronald O. Perelman, "one of the world's richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor" who is the controlling shareholder of the vaccine maker.

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