Military spending fuels debt

America's vast defence budget is largely to blame for the country's national-debt mess, a reader argues. Other letters deal with El Bulli and Somalia, bad drivers, Yemen, Turkey, medicine prices and Ramadan diets

The nuclear-powered "supercarrier" USS Ronald Reagan, with other US Navy vessels. A letter-writer says that much of the blame for the enormous US national debt rests with the country's endless military spending. EPA
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Few things could illustrate how strange the world can be as thoroughly as the contrast of two pieces in your newspaper.

Just look at Somalia's urgent need this Ramadan coupled with, two pages earlier, the report World's best restaurant serves its final meal (both August 1).

I know that if all those people who spent so much money dining on foam and gelatin or whatever at El Bulli over the years had just stayed home and nibbled on carrots instead, the famine in Somalia would be just as bad as it is.

For that matter, perhaps those diners are also donors. I hope so.

Still - what a world!

Byron Rochester, Dubai

Take tough stance on road danger

This is about your news report Dangerous driving is rooted in UAE culture, poll suggests (July 30).

Too often young people drive foolishly, which contributes to fatalities.

Also, cars have become steadily more powerful and bigger, but many people seem to be unaware of this and drive the way they drove smaller cars on nearly-empty roads 10 or 15 years ago.

The ultimate solution to this problem involves heavy penalties, espcially in the cae of repeat offenders, along with more law enforcement, including undercover patrol cars.

Unless the authorities take a tough stance, more people will lose their limbs or lives.

Joe Burns, Abu Dhabi

Cost of military drags down US

I refer to Optimism grows over deal on US debt crisis (August 1).

One needn't get too excited. The government of the USA will still owe trillions of dollars. Investment there should appear risky to anyone with half a brain.

These senators and congressmen in Washington are blind to the 400kg gorilla in the room, namely the cost of the US military and defence spending.

They are willing to put war above everything, even over the futures of their children.

Robert Van den broeck, Canada

A simple formula for calm in Yemen

I see that Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh wants his people to be calm (Saleh calls for calm in Yemen, August 1).

Doesn't he understand that he himself is the biggest cause of unrest in the country?

If he had left months ago the country would be stable by now. The power struggles to replace him would have been less damaging than what he has put his country through.

Amrika Albasha, UK

Turkey's military deserves respect

I am writing about Turkey curbs power of the military after generals resign (July 31).

I believe the pendulum has swung too far against the Turkish army recently.

The recent prosecution of the top brass of the armed forces has turned into a witch-hunt which may have very damaging and destabilising consequences.

How about the rights of the Turkish army officers who are being arrested and detained for very long periods without any successful trial?

Turkey should remember the debt it owes army officers, including but not only Mustafa Kemal.

And remember that despite a number of military coups over the years, no generals have remained in power for very long afterwards. They have always stepped aside after just a short period in control of the country.

Of course most Turks want to see Turkey become more democratic but I do not think they want to see the armed forces battered and bruised.

Chinar Yazici, Abu Dhabi

Price affects life, not just lifestyle

Medicines are quite expensive in the UAE. For example, one 10mg tablet of Lipitor costs Dh2.88 in some countries but Dh16.40 in the UAE.

Can the authorities intervene to bring the prices to a more manageable level?

Many medicines are lifesavers, unlike for example cosmetics. Medicines can be essential to life, not merely to lifestyle.

The principle of market prices should not apply here.

Kanwar Hayat, Dubai

Good advice on nutrition

Thank you for the story on Ramadan nutrition and weight issues (Healthy Ramadan, August 1).

Every year many people end up gaining weight despite fasting; it's a strange result. I am concerned that young people, including in my own family, will not follow sensible advice such as that published in your article.

Name withheld by request