Behind the Push for an Afghan School

  • Joe Klein's story "A Tale of Soldiers and a School" provides a gripping but incomplete picture of the state of educational affairs in Kandahar, Afghanistan [April 26]. Help the Afghan Children, which I help run and which is led by Afghan American Suraya Sadeed, is implementing an innovative peace-education program in Kandahar city that is helping 36,500 children in 22 targeted schools. Our project is far from perfect, but your readers should receive a more balanced picture of current efforts to help children in this very troubled region.
    Stephen Perlman, FAIRFAX, VA., U.S.

    I am a hawk, a conservative and not a Joe Klein fan, but this was an excellent article. As a Vietnam vet, I know we should have come home from there much sooner. Under current circumstances, we cannot save Afghanistan, but we can save Captain Jeremiah Ellis and hundreds like him.
    Karl Storath, ROMULUS, N.Y., U.S.

    Ellis and those who struggle to change the face of the war in Afghanistan have a daunting task. Guerrilla war waged by foreigners, as history affirms, is an uphill battle, as it means the killing of locals and the strengthening of the opposition. Hence two things are imperative for success: involve the powerful neighboring Muslim countries that recognize the Taliban are a cancer on their religion, and give moderate Taliban — they do exist — a voice in government to divide them from and undermine the extremists.
    Captain Connell Maguire, U.S. Navy (ret.), RIVIERA BEACH, FLA., U.S.

    Klein summed up the folly and incompetence of our misguided wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our junior officers, who are the best and brightest, are led by the dumb and dumbest. My advice to Ellis is, Be very proud of your service but upon discharge, run away from the Army fast. They do not deserve your intelligence and for sure don't deserve your life.
    Ed Henry, MILTON, DEL., U.S.

    You showed clear American bias when you featured another story about this tiresome American-led war on your cover in a news week when Poland's President, his wife and much of the crème de la crème of the country's politics died in a tragic plane crash. Where is your heart? I'm dead sure that if the same fate had befallen the political class in Washington your cover would have been different.
    Cosmas Uzoma Odoemena, LAGOS

    Reading about what is happening from a writer at the front lines rather than from pundits sitting behind desks was an eye-opener. Klein's insightful, thought-provoking story shows the savvy of our troops in assisting a foreign people in their recovery, not just in waging war and creating havoc. It reminds me to offer my thanks to our GIs struggling to help in a land that is so dangerous and different from what most of us know living here in the U.S.
    Nanci Watkins, FREDERICK, COLO., U.S.

    Tragedy in Poland
    Thank you for "From Tragedy, Hope" by Zbigniew Brzezinski [April 26]. The genuine compassion that the Russians have shown during this sad time for the Poles will help mend old wounds. It is another landmark on the road to recovery from World War II, and the significance that it has for Europe and the rest of world will reach further than anyone's initial expectations.
    Rebecca Wetherbee, CHINO HILLS, CALIF., U.S.

    Justice Stevens Wasn't The Retiring Kind
    I disagree with David Von Drehle's statement that Justice John Paul Stevens "did change" during the past decade or so as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court [April 26]. Stevens has unfalteringly used the same impartial basis for all his decisions: an unwavering consideration of the current context of "the common sense of the American people." Deciding to ban George Carlin's seven dirty words from the airwaves took into account the fact that radio and television at that time could not provide adequate warnings about the possible employment of these words to listeners.
    Gina Gonzalez, CLAREMONT, CALIF., U.S.