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Letters: In defense of Romney's 'apology' comment

September 16, 2012

Re "Romney's opportunism," Editorial, Sept. 13

The editorial is off the mark. The Middle East has undergone a historic shift. How the United States conducts its foreign policy there is always important and often decisive.

The direction that the president has steered the State Department ship counts. But rather than raising valid questions about the Obama administration's handling of a monumental international crisis, rather than exploring the root causes of why American embassies are under assault, your editorial lambasts Mitt Romney for failing to raise his hand before he spoke.

The steady foreign policy constant over the last half a century is that American leadership matters. Romney provided leadership in the moment, and the Obama administration did not.

As chaos erupts in the Middle East, your readers deserve a substantive debate on the implications of two competing visions of America's foreign policy.

Rep. Mary Bono Mack

(R-Palm Springs)

Your editorial was too kind. You left out some of the critical reaction by notable Republicans, to the effect that Romney's comments were unpresidential.

Romney's accusation that Obama apologized for America's values is absurd. The statement by the embassy in Cairo condemned "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions." It said, "Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy." How is this an apology for our values?

George W. Bush made clear right after the 9/11 attacks that we were not at war with Muslims and that they should not all be tarred with the crimes of a few. Although I disagreed with Bush on many issues, I applauded him showing the better side of our national character. Romney could learn a lot from him.

George Izaguirre

Claremont

Re "'Arab Spring' shows its thorns," News Analysis, Sept. 14

People in the Middle East need to understand that in a democracy, freedom of speech is a basic right. This means that control over what gets on the Internet is minimal.

Crazy, ignorant extremists are everywhere, including in the U.S., burning Korans and making hateful videos. The U.S. government had nothing to do with the despicable video insulting the prophet Muhammad, and neither did the American people, so attacks on our embassies are not justified.

If the attacks were indeed organized by militants, then no part of this truth will have any effect on the situation.

Geri A. Mellgren-Kerwin

Burbank

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