What Is the Future of the British Monarchy?

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  • Rudy Giuliani, Autocrat
  • ‘The Unconscionable Abuse of SEALs Trainees’
  • The Nursing Shortage

Credit…Pool photo by Frank Augstein

To the Editor:

In “A Woman Who Embodied the Myth of the Good Monarch” (Opinion, Sept. 9), Serge Schmemann puts a mostly positive spin on the monarchy. It is both unhelpful and unwelcome. Despite the best attempts of the U.K. media to disenfranchise and suppress our voices, there are many here in the U.K. who believe that the monarchy represents the very worst excesses of social inequality and injustice.

We would like to see this archaic and ridiculous charade abolished. The United States and many other countries have rejected monarchy. Please leave us to resolve the issue ourselves, without the distraction of outside voices.

Gavin Egan
Dorchester, England

To the Editor:

I don’t believe that anyone in these times could have carried out the office of monarch with the grace, dignity and efficacy of Queen Elizabeth II. Her success, especially over the long term, required great discipline and, as we saw in “The Crown,” always putting the crown first in every aspect of her life.

In contrast, Charles, as Prince of Wales, demonstrated a lack of that kind of dedication and discipline throughout his life. Nevertheless, I think that at this stage of his life, he is well prepared to carry out the office of king and all that is required of it. Perhaps it was a blessing for him to take over this position so late in his life, because I strongly believe that the lessons have taken.

Robert J. Firestone
New York

To the Editor:

King Charles III may be the last British royal. The British monarchy has grown increasingly detached from everyday life in Britain and is terribly expensive to maintain. King Charles may be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The British royals can do pomp and circumstance like no one else, but they are becoming a tourist attraction and nothing else. They do not pay their own way. It may be time to wind up the affairs of “the firm,” and let it go.

Bruce Higgins
San Diego

To the Editor:

The same day that Queen Elizabeth II died, The Times published online (and later, on Sunday, in print) a churlish guest essay by Maya Jasanoff about her life (“Mourn the Queen, Not Her Empire”). While Ms. Jasanoff acknowledges the dedication of the queen and the honorable way she served Britain and the Commonwealth for more than seven decades, the vast majority of her article is nothing more than chapter and verse about the evils of the British Empire.

Could you imagine a similar piece in a British newspaper about, say, the death of Jimmy Carter in which the writer quickly passed over the incredible decency of the man but instead went on to catalog all the evils of the American empire, from its treatment of the Native Americans to all its dubious interference in the affairs of countries around the world?

Pierre Home-Douglas
Dorval, Quebec

To the Editor:

Re “The Royal Grief the Public Will Not See” (Opinion guest essay, Sept. 10):

Thank you, Patti Davis, for a beautiful article about royal private grief. Simple, touching and powerful! As a psychologist specializing in grief work, I was moved by its openness, its honesty and its reminder to all of us that no matter who we are, we all share the challenge of struggling with imperfect relationships and loss.

Peter Hunsberger
Berkeley, Calif.

To the Editor:

Elizabeth is the only queen I will ever really know. When I was a little girl, being a queen was part of my imaginary self — dressing up with crowns similar to hers as we all try to imitate those figures we want to emulate or aspire to be.

Her long reign inspired women throughout the world far beyond the dress-up period. Her death, at 96, still seems surreal. Even a queen can die … something a little girl never thinks about.

Linda Gefen
Boca Raton, Fla.

Rudy Giuliani, Autocrat

As mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani led Gov. George Pataki and Senator Hillary Clinton on a tour of the site of the World Trade Center the day after the Sept. 11 attack in 2001.Credit…Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

To the Editor:

Re “‘America’s Mayor’ Finds Himself Alone,” by Andrew Kirtzman (Opinion guest essay, Sept. 11):

Mr. Kirtzman may have bought into Rudolph Giuliani’s “America’s Mayor” shtick in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, but many of us never did. Even as pundits labeled the iron-fisted mayor a “moderate,” we knew him to be the opposite: as autocratic a figure as existed in American public life, then or now.

As mayor he tried to defund the Brooklyn Museum for exhibiting art he thought blasphemous; confiscate cars of motorists accused of drunken driving even if not convicted; join with Cardinal John O’Connor to subject public school students to Catholic curriculums (including catechism); and use 9/11 as a pretext to extend his own mayoralty.

The Giuliani who schemed with Donald Trump to stay in power after losing the 2020 election is the exact same right-wing, power-hungry would-be tyrant many New Yorkers knew in the 1990s and early 2000s.

David Greenberg
New York
The writer is a professor of history at Rutgers University.

‘The Unconscionable Abuse of SEALs Trainees’

SEAL candidates resting on the beach in Coronado, Calif., in 2018, in a photo commissioned by the Department of Defense. All sailors who want to become SEALs must survive a punishing gantlet of physical tests.Credit…Abe McNatt/Naval Special Warfare Command

To the Editor:

Re “Death Lays Bare Brutality in Training of Navy’s Elite” (front page, Aug. 30) and “Top Navy Official Orders Investigation Into Safety of Grueling SEAL Course” (news article, Sept. 10):

The Navy’s investigation into methods of training for its crack SEALs teams comes none too soon.

The unconscionable abuse of SEALs trainees would seem to arise from ambiguous standards and the absence of any reliable way to enforce them.

The near-superhuman demands of the missions for which SEALs must be prepared necessitate training that pushes recruits to the limits of their endurance. Standards of tolerability typical of civilian life are set aside in this fiercely exacting arena. But they cannot be replaced with no standards at all.

An unchecked tyranny can’t be permitted to rule over this rarefied enclave within the Navy. In particular, humane responses to medical crises must be guaranteed, with assessments made by physicians and nurse practitioners independent of the SEALs chain of command.

Kyle Mullen “coughed up blood for days and had needed oxygen.” What statute or military regulation permitted officers to ignore this man’s urgent need for medical attention? In the field, are SEALs expected to maintain peak performance even when their bodies are racked with sickness? The question, with its inherent absurdity, answers itself. The implications for Hell Week are clear.

Simon Marcus
Riverside, Calif.

The Nursing Shortage

The declines in the national test scores spanned almost all races and income levels and were markedly worse for the lowest-performing students. Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

To the Editor:

A sobering new report (“Pandemic Set Schools Back Two Decades,” front page, Sept. 1) shows what many already suspected: Covid-19 has had a catastrophic impact on our youngest learners.

In nursing education, we see how these early academic gaps — particularly in math and science — make it challenging for students to pursue nursing careers. In fact, in a recent ATI Nursing Education survey of nearly 4,000 prospective nursing students, lack of academic preparedness was the top reason cited for delaying or forgoing nursing school.

The country is facing a critical nursing shortage, and we need more students and graduates in the pipeline. But students will not succeed without core competencies.

In a field where career readiness affects patient health and safety, we must not lower the bar for admission or graduation. Rather, we must tackle these challenges by making earlier, more sustained investments in academic remediation and support so we can graduate more practice-ready nurses.

This new report shows we have no time to lose.

Patty Knecht
Downingtown, Pa.
The writer is chief nursing officer for ATI Nursing Education.

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