If War StartsEditor: As an avid readEr of editorial...


December 09, 1990

If War Starts

Editor: As an avid readEr of editorial sections, I am compelled to write and commend your ''Perspective'' section of Nov. 18. It contained three outstanding articles on the numerous problems and implications we could face if war starts in the Middle East.

I was especially impressed and depressed by the article entitled, ''U.S. doesn't want to lose, but it may not want to win either.'' It thoroughly convinced me that if we win, we will lose ` just like Korea and Vietnam, only much worse.

It won't happen, but I would hope everyone inside the Capital Beltway would read this article from President Bush on down. It's time to start wheeling and dealing. What are a few oil wells and a Gulf outlet to the obscenely rich Kuwaitis?

Another article mentioned that this situation was Iraq's third visit to Kuwait since 1961. Does our State Department ever know what's going on and what to do, whether it be Korea, Vietnam, Panama or Iraq?

R. P. Hacking. Shaler Township, Pa.

AIDS Alert

Editor: Your front-page article, ''Hopkins to alert patients of doctor who died of AIDS,'' is a disappointing example of sensationalistic journalism.

By preying upon the fears of the public using a banner headlineyour treatment of this issue is more likely to produce hysteria than to inform and educate the public. AIDS is an illness which already is misunderstood by the public. It takes very little to make the problem worse.

The risk that a patient may contract HIV from an infected surgeon may not be zero, but it is much smaller than other risks that patients face in hospitals (hepatitis, negligence, etc.). The possibility that HIV can be transmitted from a health-care worker to a patient is reason to recommend that preventive and protective measures be followed by a worker with any transmissible illness.

The hospital's use of the press to sound this alarm raises serious questions about its real motivations. The same public health concerns could have been addressed by the institution in a more discrete and professional manner.

The Sun, as a responsible paper, must resist the temptation to publish stories in a sensationalistic way. It does the public no good and may cause losts of harm.

`Patricia Aoun, M.D. Glen Arm.

Oldest Building?

Editor: The Nov. 12 Sunday Sun described the Third Haven Friends' Meetinghouse (1682-84) in Easton as ''Maryland's oldest-known building.''

There are several buildings or parts of buildings older than Third Haven Meetinghouse. Examples include the noted Resurrection Manorhouse in St. Mary's County, the brick-burning contract of 1652-53 of which is printed in the Archives of Maryland.

`H. Chandlee Forman. Easton.

Truth in Northern Ireland

Editor: Frank Somerville's concern for truth in Northern Ireland (Perspective, Nov. 25) is admirable. He believes the papal appointment of Archbishop Cahal Daly as Primate of Ireland is an enlightened and hopeful one. He also believes that Bernadette Devlin McAliskey's characterization of Daly as a ''conservative, right-wing theologian who is devoid of compassion'' is a ''half-truth born of ignorance.''

Unfortunately, Mr. Somerville was not present when Ms. McAlisky spoke in Baltimore on Nov. 9. When Viva House, Baltimore Catholic Worker, sponsored her talk, we did so because we too were concerned with truth.

Over the past 25 years no one in Northern Ireland has been a more outspoken seeker of truth and justice than she. She has been paying for it, too. She has survived an assassination attempt, spent time in jail and shares the daily harassment of Nationalists/Catholics.

Baltimoreans should also be clear (Mr. Somerville was not) that Ms. McAliskey is not a member of Sinn Fein or the Irish Republican Army and does not consider herself a member of the institutional church. She believes, as many Irish people do, that the Irish hierarchy has betrayed the poor and accepts the status quo.

The struggle in Northern Ireland is not theological. Protestants/Unionists and Catholic/Nationalists are not arguing about papal infallibility or the virgin birth. The struggle is about housing (the worst in Western Europe). It is about jobs (Catholics are 2 1/2 times more likely to be unemployed than Protestants and this is not accidental).

The struggle is about forced immigration (Ireland's greatest export is not things, but her own people). And it is about freedom of speech and the rights of all candidates and officials to be heard (Sinn Fein members like Gerry Adams are censored by the government and not permitted visas to travel to the U.S.).

Bernadette McAliskey spoke about these realities and about British justice. Mr. Somerville dismissed her as a ''firebrand,'' but he failed to mention more of the truth she spoke.

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