In “Rep. Jones pushes for an end to America’s longest war” (Aug. 6), Ned Barnett recounts the continuing and noble efforts of Rep. Walter Jones to end 16 years of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, years that have left precious little to show for America’s enormous sacrifice of blood and treasure.
There is no way to “win” in Afghanistan. What might be imagined as a military victory would leave that country a wasteland and require a colonial-style occupation to contain civil unrest. Even then, the country would remain vulnerable to terrorists. The U.S. and NATO should negotiate an end to hostilities and a gradual pull-out of troops. This would inevitably require a power-sharing agreement between the Kabul government and the Taliban and the support of stakeholder nations. What’s needed in Afghanistan is massive reconstruction, not more devastation. Other North Carolina representatives and Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis should get behind Jones and help bring an end to America’s longest war.
Former director, NC Peace Action
Diversity ‘worth preserving’
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Regarding “Ivy League schools brace for scrutiny of race in admissions” (Aug. 7): I am sorry to see the Trump administration beginning a campaign to weaken affirmative action in American colleges and universities. I value greatly my Harvard undergraduate education and my degree, which I received in 1961. Looking back on that experience, I would have valued it even more had I been exposed to more and different minority groups in the student body.
Since my graduation, Harvard and many other schools have recognized the essential value of diversity in the undergraduate experience and have offered extremely generous financial aid to students, eliminating my having to hear “I would love to go to Harvard but couldn’t afford it if I got accepted.” In my role as an active interviewer for Harvard in this region, I always tell the applicants that what has stayed with me from my experience there is less the formal education than the people I met – now Supreme Court justices, presidential advisers to both parties, U.S. senators, renowned lawyers, doctors, businessmen, scientists and others.
Since our society has become more diverse, exposure to students of different races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, economic levels, and sexual orientations must certainly enrich every undergraduate experience. Knowing that the acceptance rate to Harvard runs only about 5 percent and that the vast majority of students I interview are quite qualified to attend Harvard, I sympathize with those who will not be accepted despite their truly outstanding records. I hope, however, that those students will have wonderful educational and personal experiences at other colleges and universities with diverse and interesting student bodies. That diversity is certainly worth preserving.
Stephen R. Kandall