Rush to warI have watched the events in the Middle East...

the Forum

January 25, 1991

Rush to war

I have watched the events in the Middle East since last August with growing dismay. It seems clear in retrospect that President Bush never seriously considered a diplomatic solution to the problem. His public statements were increasingly bellicose and his actions scarcely less so. The maneuvers of Secretary Baker, however skillful they may have been, seem to have been addressed to one purpose ` the forming of an alliance to wage war against Iraq.

The president has assured us that this war will not be another Vietnam. In a sense he is right. Historical events never exactly repeat themselves. However, events thus far demonstrate some distressing similarities ` the massive bombings of the enemy's capital, the enemy's display of our prisoners of war, the carefully controlled and grudgingly disseminated information on the war's progress by our military leaders, the growing anti-war protests, the deep division within this country about the rightness of our cause. We have seen this all before.

Mr. Bush has portrayed Saddam Hussein as a menace who must stopped at all costs. Maybe he is right. One thing seems clear, however. The United States has once again decided on a military solution to the short-term problem without regard to its effect on the prospects for a long-term peace. Perhaps at some future date the world will decide that the United States of America is the menace which must be stopped at all costs. If that ever happens, part of the responsibility must rest on George Bush, whose thousand points of light now seem to come mainly from the weapons of war.

sobel V. Morin

Baltimore

The ugly serpent's head called the anti-war protester has emerged again. As in the past, while America's best are overseas protecting their hides, they still scream anti-war slogans.

If America should be invaded, they are the type of people who would throw up their hands and ask the enemy if they could be of any help.

Edmund W. Huppman Sr.

Baltimore

Did George "No quid pro quo" Bush make a dirty deal with the Soviets? Did he offer to the hard-line faction now running Moscow that the U.S. would acquiesce to the suppression of the Baltics in exchange for Soviet verbal support of his Middle East adventure?

If not, there is an easy way for him to disprove it. He must make a strong public denunciation of the Soviet murderers, not excluding his pal Gorbachev, and be prepared to initiate tough sanctions against Moscow if such behavior doesn't cease promptly.

If the president fails to make more than a token protest against the rape of Lithuania or Latvia ` while risking massive loss of American lives to restore the Croesus-like emir of Kuwait to his throne ` the policy contrast will speak volumes as to the content of his "new world order." It would be pretty hard to escape the conclusion that not only oil is more important than freedom and human rights, but that Bush had established some kind of mutual non-interference pact with Gorbachev reminiscent the Hitler-Stalin deal that cost the Baltic people their independence in the first place.

Marsha Kokinda

Baltimore

I regret seeing the United States in another pointless and hopelessly wasteful military action. The money that is being spent daily to keep this immoral war alive could be spent on social and environmental programs instead. It saddens me to see so much money and activity going into military aggression.

Peggy Cook

Baltimore

Helmet law is an exercise in hypocrisy

In response to your editorial, "Helmets for hardheads" (Jan. 22), I find proponents of a mandatory helmet law for motorcyclists somewhat hypocritical. We are told society should not have to bear the costs of the irresponsibility of those who do not wear helmets. A similar argument was used by The Baltimore Sun editorial staff and our legislators to justify mandatory seat belt legislation.

Yet where are these same voices when it comes to the issue of cigarette smoking? The cost of smoking to society in health care, disability benefits and lost productivity is also well documented and amounts to tens of billions of dollars yearly ` much more than the costs attributed to unprotected motorists and cyclists.

If it is not fair for society to pay the costs of the latter, neither should it pay for the former. Yet I see none of our brave protectors of the public good proposing to make cigarette smoking illegal in Maryland.

Although I wore a seat belt before it was required by law and strongly endorse its use, I resent the intrusion of government into this domain. But if we are expected to accept the above rationale for limiting our freedoms, it should be applied to cigarette smoking as well. To selectively limit personal freedoms only in those cases where it is politically expedient rings of hypocrisy.

Thomas S. Trinchetto

Joppa

The real world:

In regard to the article entitled "Unions lobby for law to keep 35 1/2 -hour week" (Evening Sun, Jan. 17), my comment to the 40,000 state public employees who have been working a 35 1/2 -hour week is:

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