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In response to the July 25 column “Democrats pro-choice on abortion but little else”: According to the columnist, Deroy Murdock, “If a woman chooses to kill the young American in her womb, nearly every [D]emocrat in Washington will fight for her. … But if a woman desires almost any other choice, Democrats impersonate the Great Wall of China.” This is the premise of a column that compares reproductive rights to the rights of consumers to purchase substandard products.

To explain which rights he supports, Murdock says, “I support a woman’s right to choose to use a[n] … incandescent bulb.” The problem is, incandescent bulbs are grossly inefficient, expending the majority of the electricity they consume as heat. They are also extremely short-lived compared to their light emitting diode (LED) and fluorescent counterparts. Given the cost and energy savings, even President George W. Bush, a politician with a less-than-sterling environmental record, thought it was a good idea [to phase them out]. Plenty of antiquated products, like DDT and asbestos, have been regulated out of existence.

Still, the most glaring flaw in this column is the nature of comparison. Apples and oranges doesn’t quite do justice to the notion of comparing the choice between whether to endure an unwanted pregnancy and the choice to buy an incandescent or LED light bulb. The first is a choice that will forever alter a woman’s destiny. The second will alter a person’s shopping list.

Trivializing a woman’s right to choose in this manner is an indication of the attitude that many in the pro-life movement hold: a woman who chooses to terminate a pregnancy does so on a whim, making an irresponsible, immoral choice, regardless of her situation.

Abortion is a serious issue that requires serious thought and discussion. Murdock, at least in this instance, has provided neither.

Raj Soundararajan

Contingency Operating Site Warrior, Iraq

More U.S. space glory is near

In response to the July 21 letter “Russians win the space race,” I must respectfully disagree with the letter writer’s sentiments.

I am of the mind that the United States definitively won the space race that ended in 1969 with the landing of a man on the moon. Under the technology and knowledge of its time, there could have been no further objective — no other finish banner to run to.

We may now be without manned spacecraft, but that is not to say we have acquiesced to the Russians. We have merely done away with the old in preparing for the new. Unfortunately, with the country’s budget and looming debt-limit crisis, NASA’s budget is surely to suffer even further.

However, when we do finally get our finances in order and provide NASA with justly funds, I am sanguine that it will create something that will revive the spirit of ’69. NASA has several plans for new shuttle designs and it would do the program well if it funded this endeavor; one that most importantly provides a shuttle with an independent takeoff capability.

Every space initiative post-Apollo 11 has been amazing practice for another race and, unlike the half-marathon of the 20th century, an ultra-marathon is in order for the 21st century. NASA has hitherto been fueled with new technologies and knowledge that is ultimately preparing itself for the next obvious step in space exploration: to put a man on Mars.

American ingenuity and perseverance will see to this sequel, of this I am confident. When the time does come, it will bring glory to the United States once more; the world will praise the greatness of our nation and Russia will, again, know how it is to come in second.

Capt. Albert Park

Camp Ramadi, Iraq


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