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Partnering with Pakistan

In “Frenemies” [May 23], Aryn Baker suggests that Pakistan needs some show of support to rebuild its trust in the U.S. Why isn’t the aid we send enough? And why is it assumed that Pakistan is the only side that needs, and deserves, some reassurance? Considering that the world’s most wanted man was living–barely even hiding–in plain sight for five years in their country, I think a show of support from the Pakistanis is what is needed. Let them prove to us that what they really want is to be our allies, because that’s not the message that I’m getting so far.

Alexandra Pochert, KENTWOOD, MICH.

Pakistan is a mess. However, the U.S. cannot absolve itself completely from the disarray. After Pakistan served our interests in getting Soviet forces out of Afghanistan, it was abandoned and left to deal with the postwar chaos. Pakistan must revamp itself and correct its wrongdoings, but concurrently the U.S. must acknowledge that its shortsightedness added to Pakistan’s woes. Redemption is possible with a true commitment to resolving problems and not merely placing a Band-Aid on them.

Mansura Bashir Minhas, MIAMI

Who’ll Stop the Rain?

Michael Grunwald states that the increased frequency of severe floods of the Mississippi River “could be a symptom of global warming, although there’s not yet proof” [“Who Controls the Mighty River?” May 23]. It is a fact that humans have created a warmer planet by burning fossil fuels, and a direct result of this warming is increased, episodic, heavy rainfall that leads to flooding. The debate on global warming is no longer a debate. Please don’t suggest that the science is inconclusive, as it breeds passivity at the exact moment we need the energetic engagement of everyone on the planet to avert a climate disaster.

Felicia Taghizadeh, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

It is time to remove the Army Corps of Engineers from its position of responsibility for rivers, lakes and flood control. The Air Force does not manage air transportation, the Navy does not manage seaports, and the Army does not manage highway systems or road transportation. Even though many corps employees are civilians, the chiefs are still professional soldiers educated primarily at the U.S. Military Academy. Establish a purely civilian organization with true professionals.

Robert C. Tugwell, Lieut. Colonel (ret.), U.S. Army, BELTON, S.C.

My Generation, Baby

As a soon-to-be voter (I am 17), I appreciated “The Cool Kid” on presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman [May 23]. It is nice to see a serious Republican candidate among all those in the GOP opting for fearmongering and swift-boating. It will be especially pleasing to see how Huntsman’s personality as a calm, levelheaded, worldly person interacts with President Obama’s in the election. Finally, a moderate Republican. Who knew?

Zach Clifton, BEL AIR, MD.

Thanks for the much needed information on Huntsman. Perhaps he will be the Republican candidate with enough intelligence and sanity to enable a civil discussion on the priorities of our country and offer realistic ways to address them.

Italo Sinopoli, CANTON, OHIO

The Wage Gap

Re Rana Foroohar’s “The 100% Solution” [May 23]: As a former stay-at-home dad, I can say that when women earn the same pay as men, it frees us from the burden of shouldering an imbalanced portion of the family finances. It provides men with the time to be more involved with their families and allows women to pursue more lucrative careers. Over time, this creates a shift of consciousness, making the world more tolerable and functional.


It isn’t, or shouldn’t be, that mothers who also work outside the home have something to prove. They have something to do–a job at the office and a job at home. The price can be high, but we do it all, and well. Man up, guys! We did!

Joan Messinger, LOS ANGELES

Glad to Be Gluten-Free

I take issue with Katy Steinmetz’s “Bad-Mouthing Gluten” [May 23]. My mother was diagnosed with celiac disease 50 years ago, when it was virtually unheard-of as a disease with life-threatening consequences, and I am her cook and caregiver. I am happy that gluten-free eating is getting attention and that companies are “rushing to get a slice of the market.” Having a variety of gluten-free products greatly improves my mother’s quality of life.

Bonny Fazzi, PORTLAND, ORE.

I found out I had a gluten sensitivity late in life. Gluten sensitivity may not be able to be measured accurately on a scale, but it certainly affects many more people then previously thought, and it has nothing to do with calories. I’d suggest, if you are feeling sick and no one can figure out why, check into a gluten-free diet.


It’s the Economy–and More

Joe Klein accurately opines that a “bum economy” could cost Barack Obama re-election [“Why Obama’s Not a Lock,” May 23]. But by implicitly comparing Obama 2012 to Jimmy Carter 1980 and George H.W. Bush 1992, Klein omits crucial factors that also cost those two incumbents re-election. Both Carter and Bush faced significant opponents (Edward Kennedy in 1980, Pat Buchanan in 1992). Carter was not aided by the hostage crisis in Iran. And no one has accused either Carter or Bush of being great campaigners. On the other hand, there is little doubt that Obama is an excellent campaigner, putting to shame any current member of the Republican field.

Alan Ginsberg, COREA, MAINE

The Censorship Blues

Re “Talkin’ Bob Dylan’s 70th Birthday” [May 23]: Dylan is an icon of my generation, but the times they are a-changin’. I doubt that the Dylan who defiantly faced crowds at Newport and elsewhere would have allowed the Chinese or anyone else to “approve” his playlist.

Tony Bianchi, DETROIT

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