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Condom Nation

To the Editor:

Ellen Ruby-Markie's "It's aWrap" (Viewpoint, February 13th issue) should be a real wake-up call for many. It's never been more important to focus on the public- health benefits of condoms. For sexually active people, they are the best prevention against sexually transmitted disease and HIV/AIDS and reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy.

As part of its ongoing campaign to limit access to reproductive healthcare services and information, the Bush administration has purposely and repeatedly downplayed the truth about condom effectiveness. They've censored condom information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site and repeatedly rejected opportunities to promote the truth about condoms. At last summer's World AIDS Conference in Barcelona, the U.S. delegation opposed promoting condoms as an effective AIDS-prevention method. President Bush has also appointed ideologues to influential scientific posts, including the President's Council on HIV/AIDS.

The life-saving importance of condom education and distribution cannot be overstated. We should teach our children about abstinence, but surely no thinking parent would want to risk the life of their child by omitting this vital information from a discussion of sexual behavior. We should thank Planned Parenthood for giving us what we deserve: truthful, medically accurate information to protect our health.

Gail George

Memphis

Rush to War?

To the Editor:

It appears the administration is determined to go to war no matter the results of more peaceful efforts. In fact, it seems to me there is a rush to initiate fighting before positive results have an opportunity to arise from inspections or diplomatic interventions. If we do not gain the firm support of a majority of the world community, I fear the cost to America will be very steep, even if we "win" the war.

The administration seeks to gain public support by engendering fear over what Saddam might do. Despite a great effort by the CIA and FBI, there is no credible evidence Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. I would like to see Saddam removed from the leadership of Iraq. I do not believe a war is the best way to remove bad leaders, nor is it needed to contain Iraq. President Bush has stated that war should be the last resort. I sent a letter to the White House challenging him to prove that by his actions. If enough of us send him that message, he might back off his rush to war.

Cebrun Gaustad

Memphis

A Separate Peace

To the Editor:

John Branston's feature "A Separate Peace" (February 6th issue), comparing the growing concern in Memphis about the looming war with Iraq to the antiwar movement of the Vietnam era, was interesting and astute.

It seems many of today's young people are apathetic about the coming war. At both talks Branston attended, most of the people there were older, established adults. In their youth, baby boomers were filled with passion and idealism. Thirty years later, that passion and idealism -- tempered with realism -- is resurfacing as this always-interesting generation struggles again with war and its consequences. Meanwhile, today's youth don't seem to care one way or the other.

Randy Norwood

Memphis

History Quiz

To the Editor:

Here is a quiz for the Bush administration on the subject of "Old Europe":

Q: Who sold us the middle one-third of our country? a. England; b. Japan; c. Russia; d. France

Q: What nation fought against four coalitions of nations for 20 years? a. England; b. Japan; c. Mexico; d. France

Q: Who gave us the Statue of Liberty? a. England; b. The Netherlands; c. Mexico; d. France

Q: Who sent Lafayette to assist in the Revolutionary War? a. England; b. Russia; c. Germany; d. France

Q: Who won World War II? a. United States; b. England; c. France; d. a coalition of several nations, including all the above

The answer to each question is "d," of course.

"Old Europe" is right to suggest a "go slow" approach to war. Bullyragging is fine when it's a fair fight, quite another when it isn't.

Mark Ledbetter

Memphis

The Memphis Flyer encourages reader response. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, POB 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. Or call Back Talk at 575-9405. Or send us e-mail at letters@memphisflyer.com. All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.

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