National Geographic : 2008 Jan
LETTERS It is fallacious to blame Islam for the present condition of Pakistan. The fact of the mat ter is that Pakistan never had Islamic law. The deplorable condition of that country is primarily from following non-Islamic laws. AKHTAR MAHMOOD Chandigarh, India Your article on Pakistan high lights that the Taliban and al Qaeda were really made in America, although production was outsourced to South Asia. I don't mean that big, bad America beat up on Muslims, making terrorists into heroes. I mean our tax dollars funded and our CIA armed the rise of the mujahideen as a tool against the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. The rise of these tribal warriors to the level of international menace is the result of the priority we placed on fighting communism, no matter what evil we allied ourselves with in the process. Their agenda was not ours. In fact, they hated the Soviets because women were allowed to go to school and medical clinics were being built in the countryside-many of the same things they hate us for. CHARLIE ROSENBERG Milwaukee, Wisconsin Whether or not President Musharraf does good for Pak istan or for the U.S., there will still be a rift between moder ate and militant Islam. In the Corrections, Clarifications August 2007: The Maya, Glory and Ruin Teotihuacan was not the largest city in the world in A.D.378. It was one of the largest. history of Pakistan, there has either been a government too strong or too weak. That is why it is easy for the country to lose balance so easily. I have to agree with [human rights lawyer] Rashid Rehman's quote that when people are powerless, they are easily manipulated. SREYONEEL BISWAS Peoria, Illinois Yor article on Pakistan hi rights Tales From the bao a d al Qaeda were My firsteaimpression from these striking photos was theprodcisionbraid of the outsourced to South Asia. Tales From the Bog My first impression from these striking photos was the precision braid of the leather cord and what appears to be machine-made stitching in the hat. Both seem to be all too exact. Likewise, the web like slices in the shoes. Is it just me, or do these examples seem unlikely to be made with tools available 2,300 years ago? SUSAN BATTISTA Absecon, New Jersey A sharp knife and a pointed needle were all that were necessary to craft such handi work, according to Karen Boe of Denmark's Silkeborg Museum. She adds that our readers are "probablycapable of making similar work," given the time and the tools. It is not only Europe's bogs we should be concerned about. A few miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia, Burns Bog, known by many as the "lungs of Vancouver," is being threatened by plans to build a four-lane highway. Why do we need a four-lane highway? Our government wants to expand Deltaport to more than triple its size. This will mean more goods can be imported from Asia. On the edge of the bog is a winter roosting site for bald eagles. Migratory birds on the Pacific flyway will lose farmland needed to forage on as they fly south. Please help us save Burns Bog. WILMA MACKAY HAIG Delta, British Columbia Vesuvius: Asleep for Now Based on dates of eight major eruptions from 25,000 years ago to A.D. 79, you calculate "an interval of about 2,000 years between" the events. The actual average interval between the eight eruptions was 3,296 years. With the most recent of these occur ring 1,928 years ago, there is considerable time left until the average is reached: 1,368 years. However, the intervals have ranged from as long as 5,500 years to as brief as 1,852, so the time from Pom peii until now does fall in the historical range, albeit close to the short end. I enjoyed the article. I wouldn't live in that neck of the woods myself. JAMES DYCK Meadview, Arizona Our list did not include all the major eruptionsof Vesuvius. We regret that this was not clear.