May 7: If we don’t learn...

Nearly 10 years after 9/11, what lessons has the US government really learned about fighting the war on terror?

Sir, – Nearly 10 years after 9/11, what lessons has the US government really learned about fighting the war on terror? Billions of shoes have been removed, tens of millions containers of contraband liquids confiscated and who knows how much money wasted on new security systems. Yet a person who is on a government no-fly list and under surveillance can still purchase a handgun in Connecticut and board a plane in New York (“Times Square bomb suspect US citizen Faisal Shahzad nabbed aboard plane bound for Dubai,” May 5).
I believe it was Ronald Reagan who shook his head at Walter Mondale during a debate and remarked, “There we go again.” When will the Obama admimistration wake up to the unpleasant truth that the problem is Islamic terror, not building homes in Jerusalem?
    ELLIOTT CAHAN        Modi’in
...history repeats itself
Sir, – It pains me to write this, as I am a person who has read copiously about the Holocaust and have tried to understand the hate behind it. I doubt anyone could ever understand that kind of hate. Remember how it started: First jobs were taken, children couldn’t attend schools. Eventually all Jewish citizens had no rights. The same thing happened in Poland once the war started, not only to Jews but to Poles as well.
The things that are happening here in this country with Arizona can certainly not be compared to the suffering of European Jews and gentiles alike, but it does set a tone of discrimination that will no doubt be abused (“Arizona passes revised immigration bill,” May 2). There are thousands of Americans who are filled with hate towards those who are not white, or not the right kind of white. The situation here is getting more and more into extreme right-wing rhetoric, and there is a tremendous amount of xenophobia.
In these times of financial instability, much anger and hate are being fed to the masses. History has a way of repeating itself if we don’t learn from the past. We must guard against this.
    SUZANNE WOLSKI    Waitsfield, Vermont
Look on the bright side
Sir, – Along with many of your readers, I both sympathize and empathize with David Herman’s cry of anguish over the state of “horrific violence and sadism” reported daily by our media – not to mention the immoral and illegal acts by many of our “statesmen” (“A little good news?,” Letters, May 5).
However, he should, in the words of Monty Python, “look on the bright side of life.”
This was brought home to me by this year’s Independence Day, which bolstered my faith in our country. Who could not feel pride watching the opening ceremony and hearing the speeches given there? Who could not feel proud of our youth while watching the International Finals of the Bible Quiz?
Here in Rehovot, celebrating its 120th birthday, we had an old-fashioned street party on the night of Independence Day, with exhibitions of our founding fathers and their achievements. There were side shows, games, musical events and all types of dancing the whole evening. No one pushed or shouted, everyone had patience, and everybody was able to move around the packed streets, which were filled with Yemenite, Ethiopian, Russian, Moroccan, Russian, haredi, Anglo Saxon and native-born Israelis, among others.
The following evening, my husband Jeremy and I were invited to areception by the mayor, where we were introduced to three wonderfulRehovot citizens: The first had lit a torch at the opening ceremony theprevious night, one was the runner-up in the Bible Quiz, and the thirdwas a young female soldier who had received a citation that day as anoutstanding soldier. We all shepped nachas.
So yes, there is a lot to be sad about, and we never expected theseawful acts of violence to become part and parcel of Israeli life. Butperhaps if we were to spend a little more time encouraging goodness andwholesomeness, we would be able to see more of the “bright sides” inour lives.