Magazine

Investment May Be the Right Antidote to Terrorism


Your coverage of the economic impact of the Sept. 11 attack will be required reading in my economics principles class now under way ("Rethinking the economy," Special Report, Oct. 1). The histories of many countries, e.g., Ireland, provide ample evidence that young people will continue to heed calls to political radicalism, terrorism, or crime in places where no hope for economic or political betterment exists at the economic bottom.

After we take the revenge we feel we must and build the electronic security Maginot Line we naively think will protect us, the federal government and/or the global business community should fund, set up, and actually run a global network of Small Business Administration-style venture-capital organization with branches in medium to large cities in impoverished countries. Staffing might come from specially trained Peace Corps-style volunteers [drawn from] the ranks of experienced retired managers. If we really believe that capitalism is the best long-run answer, lets provide some capital.

Thomas P. Egan

Moravian College

Bethlehem, Pa. "Bush's fragile coalition" (Special Report, Oct. 1) need not be fragile if the so-called friendly Arab nations decide to do themselves a favor by working with us to remove the "terrorist cancer" that they have been harboring for some time.

This will be the beginning of the end of their own regimes unless they act now with us as true partners for their own safety. The Administration's task must be to hammer this point over and over. (They may still choose to dislike our way of life if they so desire.)

Zaven S. Touloukian

Camden, S.C. CEOs need to be leaders in this time of national crisis ("What must be done," Editorials, Sept. 24), but leadership must go beyond traditional concerns of employment and the economy. The most serious threats to capitalism are failures of liberty, human rights, and civil justice. [CEOs] can lead by learning how to orient their business operations to support freedom and justice, and by serving as exemplars within their industries. When the aggrieved people have legitimate and equal opportunity, the terrorists have no voice.

Donna J. Wood

Pittsburgh

Jeanne M. Logsdon

Albuquerque

Before we kill a single person, I want the U.S. to commit $100 billion to a fund dedicated to the elimination of poverty, hunger, disease, and ignorance in the Middle East. I want our President and other leaders to challenge the Europeans, the Japanese, and the rich countries of the Middle East and elsewhere to triple these funds using their own resources. Together, we will reduce the crushing debt in these societies, build schools and homes, feed the hungry, eliminate disease, and otherwise attack the conditions that gave birth to such a deep vein of hatred in these societies.

For the countries that want this support, the price will be a concerted effort to eradicate the forces of hate that are breeding inside their societies. We can give their leadership the resources to do it themselves, not in the name of some foreign faith, but in the name of the humanity of the true Islam.

Gordon S. Black

Rochester, N.Y.

If we are concerned about suffering in the Middle East, as we should be, it should be of all the people, including ordinary Israeli citizens who have endured years of terror for so many years. We should press Palestinian and Arab leadership in all the countries to absorb the Palestinians the way that Israel absorbed all the Jews of Arab lands, and to make a full, cooperative, and fruitful peace with Israel. Then the region can go forward and bring peace and prosperity to all.

J. Firester

Port Washington, N.Y. Insurance companies should file a claim on funds confiscated by the American government ("A ruinous day for insurers," Special Report, Sept. 24). Although the dollar amount of assets the U.S. has frozen is minuscule compared with the cost of the damage, it would be a feel-good gesture to us Americans that Osama bin Laden is paying for some of the devastation out of his own pocket.

Mark Newhouse

Brooklyn, N.Y.


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