Letters Week of Nov. 10, 2005

Attacks on Bush and the War Don't Make Sense

Regarding recent letters on U.S. involvement in Iraq, I am dismayed by the ad hominum attacks on President Bush related to the war. We invaded Iraq for several reasons, only one of which was the belief that he had weapons of mass destruction.

Saddam Hussein was a highly unstable individual whose behavior was unpredictable.

We knew he had possessed WMDs; he used them on his own people and on the Iranian army during a war that he started. He had connections to terrorists, documented by none other than the Clinton administration, and supported a terrorist base in northern Iraq that U.S. forces eventually destroyed during the invasion.

One of the plotters of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing fled to Iraq, and was protected by Saddam Hussein, who was also providing money for suicide bombers to kill Israelis. He even had, at one point, a nuclear program, and seemed eager to reconstitute it when sanctions were lifted.

Everyone believed Saddam had WMDs, including the United Nations and Israel, all of which makes me wonder why the left here and abroad continue to call President Bush a liar, or someone who used a campaign of deception.

We now know that Saddam was bribing scores of leaders, several in the United Nations itself, and that the sanctions were about to be lifted. Can anyone really believe WMDs were not to be in his arsenal?
Steve Heitner
Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.

Keep Cool: Don't Escalate Tensions With Iran!

As an Iranian-American reader, I deplore the comments of the Iranian president in regard to Israel, but urge you not to permit the United States to fall into the trap of escalating tensions with Iran (Editorial: "Genocidal Challenge Cannot Be Ignored," Nov. 3).

Instead, you should oppose those who urge the Bush administration to support Israel's effort to kick Iran out of the United Nations.

In these difficult times – with our military in Iraq and with sensitive nuclear negotiations taking place between the European Union and Iran – we must look for real solutions, not knee-jerk reactions.

Most importantly, we should be careful not to fall in the trap of escalation set out by Iran's radical president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Though Ahmadinejad's call to "wipe Israel off of the map" must be condemned, ejecting Iran from the United Nations will only make matters worse.

Some 28 years of sanctions and isolation have failed to moderate or contain Tehran's conduct. More of the same policy will only lead to more of the same offenses.

Don't raise the stakes and strip Iran of its U.N. membership. When the stakes are so high, we must keep a cool head.
Steve Mirmanesh, M.D.
Cherry Hill, N.J.

What's Love Got to Do With Survival?

Our three sons graduated from Abrams Hebrew Academy and, like Lisa Plishkin- Ismail, also learned that God loves all humans (Letters: "There's Nothing Wrong With a Love that's Real," Oct. 20).

But they learned something more, especially from Rabbi Ira Budow, whose letter-to-the-editor sparked a reply by Ms. Plishkin. They learned of the importance of Judaism and the survival of the Jewish people, without whom there is no Judaism. Today, that survival is threatened by a wave of intermarriage, followed in its wake by assimilation.

Presumably, the Jewish community wants to survive – and the Jewish Exponent shares that view.

While Ms. Pliskin-Ismail has made her personal choice to marry a non-Jew, neither she nor we – nor the Exponent – should pretend that this is good for the Jewish people, whether or not the "love is real."
Barbara and Harvey Sicherman

Avoid the Empty Calories to Protect Future Health

"A Fistful of Mix Goes a Long Way" (Cooks & Cuisine, Oct. 12) only goes a long way as a disservice to the public.

The greatest threat to public health in the United States is not from pollution, the aftermath of natural disasters or terrorist acts, but rather, from obesity and sedentary behavior.

The obesity epidemic affects not only adults, but sadly, also children. Overweight parents and overweight children are highly correlated.

The premise of the article is what to feed your child as an after-school snack before dinner, and the article quotes Flavia Herzog, a nutritionist at Albert Einstein Medical Center. Herzog's suggested options are conventional advice, but that is precisely what has caused the current obesity crisis.

Most of Herzog's food choices, such as the English muffin, pita and crackers, are simple carbohydrates – what we used to call "empty calories."

Today, we recognize these as high glycemic foods, which not only provide little nutrition but also spike blood sugar, provide little satiation and lead to overeating. They are highly refined, processed products designed for easy swallowing and fast consumption.

Herzog should have stressed complex carbohydrates, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. These are low glycemic foods that modulate blood sugar, and because they consist mostly of water and fiber, remain low in calories and provide good satiation, to say nothing of vitamins and antioxidants.

Herzog does include these choices, but only as equal alternatives. Several of her other choices are very bad, such as pudding, granola bars and yogurt if they are high in sugars; these are all calorie-dense.

A major realignment in thinking about diet is needed in this country if we are to face the growing epidemic of obesity. Otherwise, by continuing the conventional food wisdom espoused by this article, we can look forward to ever-increasing health-care costs, an impaired quality of life and a terrible legacy to our posterity.
Edward R. Kashdan



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