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Burma Deserves Better
Thanks to Andrew Marshall for his wonderful first-person account of the recent peaceful protests in Burma [Oct. 22]. As I read it, I couldn’t help but think that perhaps this was the country Vice President Dick Cheney was thinking about when he said our invading forces would be greeted as liberators. It’s a shame that Saddam Hussein was so evil and his country so rich in resources that we had to get rid of him by force. Yet Burma, a country rich in culture and tradition, can only wait for U.N. sanctions that will take a while to go into effect and will only hurt the Burmese people instead of the junta the sanctions are aimed at.
Kevin Heise,
Rochester, N.Y., U.S.

Your cover story told the world how brutal the repressive junta is, but I’m afraid that prayer alone will not change it. The Burmese have been praying for 45 years, and the situation seems to be getting worse. If the free world can bring Saddam and Slobodan Milo-sevic to justice, why not do the same with Burma’s junta? If we are waiting for China to pressure Burma to change, we will have a long, long wait. China has to become a democratic country first; otherwise, how can China advise others to be democratic?
John C.M. Lee,
Hong Kong

Might Overtakes Right
Samantha Power observed that U.S. policies and actions since 9/11 have diminished the country’s human-rights appeals for action in places like Darfur and Burma [Oct. 22]. I don’t mean to discount the recent evaporation of the U.S.’s moral authority, but it has been decades since the U.S. or any other nation could effect change based on rectitude. During the cold war, our influence was directed to opposing the Soviet Union, regardless of the dictators we might back toward that end. Ruling élites have lost their moral compasses because they have been blinded in their quest for material wealth.
David Horn,
Oakland, Calif., U.S.

China’s reliance on oil from Sudan is similar to our reliance on oil from Saudi Arabia. Just as China has ignored the displacement of people in Sudan, the U.S. has done little about the refugees that Arab states have created, whether they are in Sudan, Syria, Lebanon or the Palestinian territories. But neither China nor the U.S. is responsible for the refugees. Only Arabs can stop this human tragedy.
Albert Reingewirtz,
Narberth, Pa., U.S.

Gripes About the Guide
Mark Halperin’s “On the Fence: A Voter’s Guide to the 2008 Election” was a sad reminder of how personality and strategy have winnowed away any attention to actual issues [Oct. 22]. The guide purported to instruct undecided voters, but it paid less attention to substantive policy issues than it did to the very political maneuvering that turns people away from political reporting. The piece provided inane details such as John Edwards’ penchant for cheeseburgers and Mitt Romney’s fondness for Lake Winnipesaukee. This trivia takes the place of information about such topics as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, economic uncertainties, labor strife and the lack of accessible health care. TIME should press the candidates on the issues, not engage in meaningless exercises far removed from the lives of voters.
Matt Carlson,
St. Louis, Mo., U.S.

You cited Mitt Romney’s mormon faith as one of his liabilities. Interestingly, you cited neither Hillary Clinton’s gender nor Barack Obama’s race as a liability. Why is that? The bigots who would not vote for Clinton because she’s a woman or Obama because he’s black are in the same category with bigots who would not vote for Romney because he’s a Mormon. You are perpetuating the notion that voters can legitimately dismiss Romney for a reason that has nothing to do with his political views, and that’s wrong.
Stephen A. Hales,
Provo, Utah, U.S.

Missed Opportunity?
As Nancy Gibbs put it, the city of new York prevented Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from laying a wreath at ground zero because New Yorkers were revolted by “the prospect of a tyrant’s hand touching sacred ground” [Oct. 8]. I do not want to discuss how many tyrants the U.S. has tolerated vs. how many it has fought. But wouldn’t it have been good diplomatic form to have allowed Ahmadinejad to lay a wreath in honor of all the 9/11 victims killed by Islamic fanatics? What kind of impact would his gesture have made on the dogmatic, anti-Western Muslims? Maybe New Yorkers should have waved the flag of peace first and then just waited to see what might happen.
Bernhard Schroeder,
Freiburg, Germany

A Patient’s Gratitude
I read your article on breast cancer with great interest [Oct. 15]. Kenyan Mary Onyango’s comment that if you can’t travel overseas for treatment, “you just sit and wait for your death,” prodded me to respond. A year after learning I had breast cancer, I am once again fit and healthy. Contrary to being urged to go abroad for treatment, I had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation in Nairobi, and I have nothing but praise and gratitude for every person involved in my treatment.
Hettie Tooley,
Eldoret, Kenya

Yoga By the Book
There is no doubt that yoga can be harmful when practiced incorrectly, and your article highlighted several problems [Oct. 15]. There are more than a thousand yoga poses and many modifications of each of these. Not all are beneficial for each person. It is therefore important to discuss health issues with the yoga teacher when starting classes.
Philip Ginsberg,
Cape Town

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