To the editor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) appropriately speaks out for more humane handling of the massive, tragic problem of Central American children escaping terrible homeland conditions to come here illegally. ("Sen. Dianne Feinstein: Here's how to deal with the desperate children at the border," Op-Ed, June 23)

But when she speaks of the root causes of the children fleeing their countries, she has left out the most prominent and critical one: deadly narco-gangs warring over trafficking recreational drugs to the United States.

That is the drug "elephant in our country" that needs to be addressed, and I am on the side of the illegal drug debate that says legalize, control and tax the substances. Only in that way will gang-related terror and death be reduced south of the border.

All our other, extremely costly drug interdiction programs have been dismal failures. And for those who fear the self-destruction of those who overuse drugs, I say, users have choices (as we do with booze); let's help them work on those.

Jim Gould, Burbank

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To the editor: Feinstein is evidently unaware of the hypocrisy and hubris of her words.

U.S. policy has engendered the disarray that has plagued Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras for decades. A prime example: the overthrow in 1954 of the popularly elected Jacobo Árbenz government in Guatemala by the CIA at the request of United Fruit Co.

To now request an American policy of humane treatment for "vulnerable children," which has been absent for decades, borders on the ludicrous. Feinstein is decades late and multiple billions short.

F. Daniel Gray, Los Angeles