Anwar Awlaki, a U.S.-born radical Islamist cleric seen as a spiritual leader…
Death from the sky
Re "Targeted for death," Editorial, Oct. 2
The editorial was right on target as far as the civil liberties questions are concerned. There does indeed need to be some judicial finding that certain individuals (citizens or not) are in fact a mortal threat to the United States and therefore can be targeted for death.
But The Times did not go into the question of national sovereignty. What is the constitutional authority for one of our drones to invade the airspace of a neutral country (Pakistan or Yemen) and fire a missile that kills people we feel jeopardize our security? How would we react if China sent a drone over Los Angeles and killed a Chinese dissident who resided legally in Pasadena?
Those criticizing the president need to be brought up to date: a war zone just isn't what it used to be; it is now the entire world, and this by the choice of Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan, the two Americans killed by a drone strike in Yemen. Members of an organization that has declared the world to be its battlefield should expect no relief from civilian courts.
President Obama was right to pull the trigger.
The privilege of American citizenship carries with it protections unmatched elsewhere in the world. This privilege is the embodiment of our freedoms and is usually guarded with the intensity of a mama bear toward her cubs.
I am disappointed when I hear someone applaud the murder of another human being, and I am doubly disappointed when an elected official does so. Although a member of Congress may feel elated by Awlaki's death, it is only good judgment not to applaud it publicly, as doing so is a sign of ignorance of our country's founding principle of due process.
Privacy in the digital age
Re "Watching a screen? It watches you too," Oct. 2
What amazes me is how willingly Americans accept massive invasions of their privacy as long as they come from the private sector.
If the federal government were to collect this enormous amount of data on individuals' whereabouts, purchasing decisions and interests in politics and religion, both the ACLU and the "tea party" would be up in arms. But because it's coming from private companies, not only is there almost no outcry but we're lining up to buy the products that spy on us and monitor our lives.
Not only is Big Brother watching us, we're paying him handsomely for the privilege.
Mark Gabrish Conlan
Yo, Apple: Since you seem to know what I want for dinner, please have it delivered. You know where and when, and you have my credit card information. Add a nice tip.
Banks and their fees
Re "BofA taking a swipe at customers," Column, Sept. 30
Anne Pace, a Bank of America spokeswoman, is being disingenuous when she tells David Lazarus that customers rely on such services as fraud and overdraft protection, which can't be offered for free. What fraud protection? If my card is stolen, yes, they protect me — to a point. However, most banks charge extra (via a third party) for their "real" fraud protection programs, and they definitely overcharge for overdraft protection. Wells Fargo, for example, charges $12.50 to $20 per overdraft even if you link your checking account to a credit card — and a whooping $34 if you have no protection.
First, Lazarus continues to confuse the price of goods and services with their value. When consumers do not see value, they will walk away on their own. They do not need the government to create value.
Second, government cannot successfully micromanage an industrial economy. It did not work in the 1970s, and it will not work today. Lazarus supports tighter regulation of the banking industry, which he got — in addition to tens of thousands of layoffs.
Government agencies exacerbated our mortgage-backed securities fiasco.
Let them go back to worrying about steroid use among athletes.
Alabama's immigration law
Re "Alabama's victory, our loss," Editorial, Sept. 30
Finally, a federal court recognizes the right of individual states to regulate the influx of illegal immigration. Alabama is taking a bold but not draconian stance. We should applaud those states that have mustered the courage and initiative to deal with this problem. Directing law enforcement and public sector services to confirm the status of suspected illegals is a necessary measure, not a cruel one.
If Americans want to resolve this issue reasonably, we should demand that Congress take up former Sen. Mel Martinez's (R-Fla.) reform bill, which would fine illegal immigrants who have lived in this country for extended periods of time and require those who have lived in this country illegally for fewer years to leave and get in line.
Arthur Christopher Schaper