Letters: Middle East Fighting, India.Arie

Listeners comment on last week's shows, including the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and the music of India.Arie.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your e-mails. We devoted a lot of time last week to the fighting in the Middle East. Many of you wrote with your own views on the conflict and what might be done to stop it.

Phil Demeer(ph) e-mailed from Susanville, California. I fail to understand how the Bush administration seems unwilling to ask for an immediate cease-fire when the administration made such a big deal of out Lebanon being an example of democracy in the Middle East.

Kenneth Moriarty(ph) from Poughkeepsie, New York, disagreed. He asked, didn't our president, in the wake of 9/11, state that the U.S. would not distinguish between terrorists and the states who sponsor them? And when our strategic ally Israel takes aggressive action against the terrorist actions of Hezbollah, how dare we wither under the reproving of third parties? I'm frankly appalled at the lack of resolve amongst my fellow Americans.

And Chad Hutchinson(ph), a listener in Tulsa, Oklahoma, wondered: What makes the U.S. the mediator? We get criticized if we do, we get criticized if we don't.

A week ago we talked about the issue of doctors and personal ethics. In short, can a doctor refuse treatment to a patient based on his or her own beliefs. Paula(ph), a physician from Troy, Michigan, said no. As a physician, she wrote, I have an obligation first to my patient. If a procedure or a medication is legal, then it is my obligation to inform my patient of all the options available.

We can't force patients to take treatments even when we strongly feel it is in their best interest, neither can we deny them care if it's against our moral compass. If a practitioner can't handle this, then the practitioner should be very clear about this to his or her patients in advance of establishing the doctor-patient relationship.

Dan Brinton(ph) disagreed. Doctors have the right to live by religious, ethical or moral beliefs. The right to an abortion may deny a doctor of his right to live in accordance with the dictates of his beliefs. I am tired, he wrote, of people who claim that their rights are more valid than the rights of others.

We ended last week with a live performance from India.Arie and her band in Studio 4A.

Sally Hall(ph) e-mailed us from Louisville, Kentucky to say, I love India.Arie and her music. One of my favorite songs is Truth. It reminds me of my one true love, my soulmate. I practically cry every time I hear it. It's a song like many of her songs that you can not just hear but also feel.

If you comments, questions, or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by e-mail. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some advice on how to pronounce your name.

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