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Sending other people's children to war; conservatives and science; judicial activism vs. judicial restraint

Letters to the editor

April 06, 2012
(Justin Renteria / For The…)

The costs of U.S. war

Re "A son heads off to war," Opinion, April 1

David Freed's Op-Ed article on his son's deployment to Afghanistan should be required reading for everyone. When a country goes to war, as ours did, everyone should have a stake in it and should somehow be involved.

Freed's comment about politicians who "seem only too happy to pick fights and then let other people's kids throw the punches" says much about the seeming indifference of Americans to what's going on in their names.

I have two suggestions: First, bring back the draft, a fair one. Second, each war should be pay-as-you-go. An explicit war tax should be levied.

These wouldn't be popular, probably, but then maybe war shouldn't be either.

Gino LaMarca

Ridgecrest, Calif.

Freed picks on the politicians, particularly Mitt Romney and the non-military career choices his children have made.

Yet Freed acknowledges his son, who he says "is a born leader," volunteered for his military path. His son wasn't drafted. He volunteered to train as an officer and to go to Airborne and Air Assault schools. He volunteered for a military life of action; he didn't sign up to be in the Quartermaster Corps.

As a father and a veteran of the Army's 82d Airborne Division, I can empathize with Freed's fears, but not with his sniveling.

Harvey Lutske

Los Angeles

As my son nears his high school graduation, I am grateful that my concerns have to do with paying for his college education, not those Freed so eloquently describes.

As we headed into the two wars of this generation (my son's, not mine), I had thought that if there were still the draft of my childhood, we would be a bit more hesitant to send the sons and daughters of America to war if there were a chance they might be our own.

Mark Schoeman

Claremont

When science is seen as 'science'

Re "The doubting conservatives," Editorial, April 1

I submit that conservatives started doubting "science" around the time we realized that biologist Paul R. Ehrlich's dire warnings about population growth did not come true.

It is unconscionable that The Times would blame "politicization" of science on conservatives; the left has used "science" to scare people into support for its agenda for years, and today's true "flat earthers" are those who doubt that "scientists" are beyond political influence. They have been for years.

Jeffrey C. Briggs

Hollywood

The Times advances some ideas to explain why educated conservatives appear to be turning their backs on science. No doubt cable news and right-wing think tanks play their part.

But there is a far simpler explanation: Having a degree and being educated do not necessarily amount to the same thing.

Gerry Morrison

Lakewood

Supreme activists?

Re "Law professor in chief," Editorial, April 4

Kudos for correcting President Obama's erroneous claim that it would be "unprecedented" for the Supreme Court to strike down the 2010 healthcare reforms, and for recognizing that "the number of votes in favor of a bill" is irrelevant to its constitutionality.

Unfortunately, the president's views are all too common. The court is frequently caricatured as being torn between harmful "judicial activism" and laudable "judicial restraint." This is a false dichotomy. It is not "activism" for the court to enforce constitutional limits on government power, nor should the court be praised if it "restrains" itself from fulfilling that obligation.

The Constitution protects liberty by imposing limits on government power. Those limits are meaningless if judges do not enforce them. As the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals recently put it, "When Congress oversteps those outer limits, the Constitution requires judicial engagement, not judicial abdication."

Paul Sherman

Arlington, Va.

The writer is an attorney at the Institute for Justice, which submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in the healthcare case.

President Obama did not lecture the Supreme Court on its duty to uphold laws passed by Congress. He was challenging the conservative members of the court to uphold their oft-proclaimed principles of judicial restraint.

Overturning the Affordable Care Act would be exactly the judicial activism they claim to hate. It would be an unprecedented violation of their own principles and would unmask their beliefs as partisan convenience and not judicial principle.

Charles Berezin

Los Angeles

Augusta, stuck in the 1930s

Re "Teeing off on a sexist policy at Masters club," Column, April 4

Leave it to columnist Michael Hiltzik to compare his modern world to that of Augusta National's and attempt a parallelism.

We've been over the golf club's male-only membership issue since 2002, and now Hiltzik wants to bring back a finished argument. Augusta has no responsibility to cater to cries from The Times' peanut gallery.

Augusta should stand up for its principles and push back just as someone is trying to dig up this issue once again. Get over it.

Larry Cicogna

Los Angeles

It is nice to know that being a bigoted, misogynistic organization can cause issues.

Pat Ormsbee

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