Oil and ReasonEditor: All the rhetoric aside, our position...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 19, 1990

Oil and Reason

Editor: All the rhetoric aside, our position in the Middle East is influenced by one word -- OIL. If Saddam Hussein's actions were taken by a ruler in Asia or Africa or even South America the reply of the United States and/or the United Nations would be ''a diplomatic note'' or, at most, removal of diplomatic missions. If the situation continues to escalate we may be equating barrels of oil with ''body bags''. Robert Ingersoll, a Civil War veteran, once wrote: ''When the sword is drawn, reason remains in the scabbard.''

J. Bernard Hihn.

Baltimore.

Noble Purpose

Editor: During his recent speech, President Bush asserted the most compelling reason so far for the growing U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf, though it was the last on his stated list of objectives. "Out of these troubled times," he declared, "our fifth objective -- a new world order -- can emerge."

In Mr. Bush's words, we are approaching an era of world peace and prosperity that has eluded a hundred generations before us. It is a rallying call similar to one heard earlier this century about "the war to end all wars," which subsequent history made a mockery. But perhaps this time it is truly attainable.

With the peaceful conclusion to the Cold War, it is now possible to have a foreign policy that is moral. We no longer need to tacitly support despots and dictators out of the necessity that they are in our sphere of interest. Our sphere of interest now is international stability and the rule of law. Tyrants everywhere are frightened and are falling.

As President Bush said, "no longer can a dictator count on East-West confrontation to stymie concerted United Nations action against aggression." Saddam Hussein's desire to extend his reign of tyranny is being denied, and he, too, may fall. It is a resounding message to aggressors around the globe, and will result in adding appreciably to the quotient of peace and justice of our troubled century. This is the best justification for our efforts in the Persian Gulf, and makes our presence there both important and noble.

Alexander Kronemer.

Washington.

Charity Contributions

Editor: The proposal to take away the federal income tax deduction from charitable contributions will soon be coming to vote in Washington. It is difficult to imagine a measure having a greater impact on Baltimore and Maryland. Yet there has been little outcry against this proposal.

It is increasingly clear that for fiscal reasons both the state anthe federal government will continue to cut services to needy Maryland citizens.

The state Department of Human Resources has already announced that because the burgeoning need for services has dramatically out-stripped the funds budgeted for 1990, it is being forced to cut non-mandatory services in order to continue providing essential services. The governor has imposed a hiring freeze, among other measures, to cope with a huge and mounting state deficit. That deficit can be attributed primarily to increasing human service demands and rising criminal justice costs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is not increasing the size of its grants to states for human services; indeed, it apparently is tightening the standards for existing grant programs.

The need for human services is greater than ever and undoubtedly will multiply dramatically over the next decade. At the same time, government agencies are cutting spending and tightening their belts. However, relying on taxes from charitable contributions is dangerously short-sighted and self-defeating.

In the decade to come the city and state will be forced to relmore and more on private charities. Yet removing the deduction for charitable contributions will deprive these agencies of their most effective fund-raising tool. There can be no more wrong-headed approach to deficit-cutting than to incapacitate the very agencies which have the potential for filling in the gap between citizens' needs and state and city means.

Kathleen A. Morse.

Baltimore.

Parental Responsibility

Editor: Letter writer Kathy Jo Oswinkle has a problem finding a tutor in reading for her son and thinks adult literacy program are ''like trying to close the barn door after the horse is out.'' She points out her success in taking adult education classes and wonders why there isn't something like that for children after school.

There is. It's called parenting. Spend some time working with the floundering student to get him back on the track of what's being taught in the classroom. If an adult is thirsting for knowledge, what better place to start than with one's own children? Do some parent-homework.

What are teachers doing after 3:10 p.m.? After teaching and caring for other people's kids all day, they are probably grading papers, drawing up lesson plans, preparing grades, making up dittos or maybe helping their own kids with their homework. And teachers are also required to continue their education.

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