Journalism and terrorism

Re "A byline for Hamas?" Opinion, July 22

I would rather that people write Op-Ed articles than fire rockets or build illegal settlements. The protests of Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper are heartfelt, but their claim to moral superiority is empty. Israel had its own terrorist groups before it had its state, and the occupation of the West Bank after 1967 has made a mockery of international law. All sides have blood on their hands, and the sooner we substitute real dialogue for sanctimonious posturing, the better off we all will be.

Patrick Frank Monterey

Bravo to Hier and Cooper for criticizing The Times for printing an Op-Ed article by a Hamas leader. Someone must explain to The Times that journalistic standards do not require giving a forum to terrorists. In fact, if journalistic standards have any meaning at all, they require that terrorists -- because they are beyond the pale of what we consider civilized conduct -- be denied the privilege of expressing their deeply immoral views in a newspaper. What is wrong with The Times?

Suzanne Zaharoni Beverly Hills

Hier and Cooper write that "just like Hitler, Hamas was democratically elected." They were half-right, and, I believe, informed enough to know better. While Germans certainly supported Hitler by the late 1930s, the fact is that he was not elected. He was appointed by President Paul von Hindenburg. The writers also asked whether the editors would have welcomed articles by Auschwitz's Dr. Josef Mengele justifying his gruesome medical experiments. I hope they would. Perhaps if Mengele had been more publicly associated with his experiments, public outrage might have stopped or limited his work. Hier and Cooper want us to see Hamas members as equivalent to the KKK or the Virginia Tech killer. They're not. They are the democratically elected representatives of the most potentially volatile real estate in the world. It is in the interests of the United States to know Hamas well. The Times does a service publishing its views.

Jim Corbett San Clemente

It seems that Hamas would have to attain the janjaweed's genocidal success in Darfur for The Times to deny it a byline.

Charles S. Berdiansky Los Angeles

Money matters

Re "Is a billion dollars ordinary income?" July 21

If Blackstone Group Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman's federal tax bite on $400 million increased from 15% to the 35% paid by couples earning $350,000 gross, his after-tax pay last year for a job that essentially just scoots money around would have dropped from $340 million to a mere $260 million. For his Christmas party, he may have had to convert his Park Avenue apartment to merely a beach on Maui instead of one on St. Tropez.

We thousandaires lack sympathy.

Mike Kvammen South Pasadena

The Times provides us the new definition for "many" middle-class families: "struggling to stay afloat." Moreover, what once would have been immediately seen as a striking contradiction in terms is now offered up without even a hint of irony. However, perhaps also unwittingly, The Times has moved us closer to a better understanding of what it actually means to live as one of these newly defined middle-class families: Struggling to stay afloat.

Tom Wilde Santa Monica

Judging Mahony

Re "The Teflon cardinal," Opinion, July 22

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony should be forced from his position. He has let Catholic parishioners down, covered for and protected sexual deviates and criminals and fought exposing all this exceptionally dirty behavior for years and years. How can anyone have any respect or willingness to deal with him? I think we know why Latino groups overlook his misbegotten actions and behavior -- they have a vested interest in having and using him as an ally and protector for illegal immigrants.

Joe Doremire