Biden on Iraq

To the Editor:

Jason Horowitz’s article—about a man that I like in general and have a difficult time liking re specifics—was a bit disturbing [“Biden Unbound: Lays Into Clinton, Obama, Edwards,” Feb. 5]. On balance, I agree about the need to partition the ethnic communities, as the Balfour Agreement made by the English after World War I was a disaster from the get-go. In general, I believe the war must be wound down over the course of a year. If we were to leave immediately, or if we were to stay, the civil war would continue to become larger and more deadly. But a hasty removal from the deadly Bush folly would endanger our troops. How to stabilize the region is beyond anyone’s powers of deduction; President Bush has so deeply destabilized the Iraqi nation that it makes Pandora’s box looks like a carton full of teddy bears. Perhaps America will regain the high moral ground in 20 years, although global warming will have moved it well back from the shores of international commerce and politics.

Ed McClendon

Canyonville, Ore.

To the Editor:

I read Mr. Horowitz’s interview with Joe Biden. Based on that article alone, he has my vote. What he is suggesting we do in Iraq is what most of the sane and intelligent people I know have been suggesting for several years. The situation and solution is no different from parents who have children who can’t get along and are always fighting—you simply separate them until they can get along.

We also already have a terrific model for his plan: our own United States. Our country began as a group of independent states that were eventually bound together by a federal government. You could even argue that people choose to live in particular states or regions of the country based on their religion and political ideologies. Hooray for Senator Biden.

Donna Farrell

Moreno Valley, Calif.

Not Enough

To the Editor:

I agree with Joe Conason’s characterization of President Bush’s State of the Union proposals as paltry and essentially irrelevant [“Cynical Speech Highlights Sad State of the Union,” Jan. 29]. It’s time that we shift our focus to those in Washington who can cause positive change to occur in this country. The vote in November brought a new cadre to power in Congress.

The recent march in Washington was our cry for Congress to show some backbone. Symbolic votes and mild policy changes are not enough. Give us visionary ideas and proposals that will lead to true change in Iraq, and in our health-care and energy policies.

The country is in a mess, in many, many ways, and President Bush seems incapable of arriving at any solutions. Congress, this is a huge challenge and opportunity. What are you going to do about it?

Daria Siekhaus


Schooling the Mayor

To the Editor:

The argument that Mayoral control of public schools is the most effective way to provide a quality education for all students is called into question by the best evidence available [“Bloomberg Keeps Heat on Schools,” Editorial, Jan. 29].

Three of the five recipients to date of the Broad Prize for Urban Education, the national honor awarded annually since 2002 to the urban school district that has successfully narrowed the achievement gap among its students, have elected boards of education. These include Long Beach and Garden Grove, Calif., and Houston, Tex. Norfolk, Va., has an appointed board, but it is named by the City Council, preserving the more diverse representation that direct election by voters ensures. Only Boston, Mass., which was the latest winner after being a finalist for the past four years, has a school board appointed by the mayor.

Time will show that separating municipal functions from school functions avoids the conflicts that invariably arise between their respective interests.

Walt Gardner

Los Angeles