Editor: I doubt that Germany can ever be trusted by the nations of the world no matter what kind of respectable facade they hide behind.
First they sell, at a huge profit, outlawed chemical warfare and other military technology to a brutal dictator with a history of belligerence. Then when hostilities break out, they claim they are pacifists and can't get involved. The fact is that they became involved years ago when they sold dreaded contraband to the tyrant Saddam Hussein in the first place.
It seems they are willing to ''get involved'' when there is a profit to be made, but prefer to stand on the sidelines while the rest of the allies pay the price in blood and resources to neutralize the threat they helped to create.
The stench of German duplicity brings back memories of the national dishonor during the rise of Hitler when the so-called good Germans conveniently turned a blind eye to the moral persecution of segments of their own population because it was of economic benefit to do so.
I, for one, have decided what I will do. Since the only thing today's German seems to care about is his pocketbook, I will never again knowingly purchase anything made in Germany.
I suggest other Americans do the same.
Send Troops Home
Editor: The way in which media stories often frame the differences between opponents and supporters of the gulf war is dangerously misleading.
The coverage of the first national anti-war demonstration Jan. 19 provides a good example. Every channel I watched did a story on the demonstration "against the war" and then another on rallies held to "support the troops."
This framework is decidedly wrong. It suggests that one must be pro-war to support the women and men fighting in the gulf. The difference is not about attitudes toward the troops. It is a matter of support for, or opposition to, the Bush administration's policy of war.
As Coretta Scott King stated in her "State of the Dream speech," protesters are "against the war, not the warriors." Opponents of the war feel very strongly about the troops in the gulf and are intensely sympathetic with their families. After all, troops and their families are often friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives of protesters.
One important anti-war group, led by Alex Molnar, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is made up of members of families of troops in the gulf.
Opponents of the war want to support the troops by getting them out of a war that never should have been and a place they should not be. As the Rev. Jesse Jackson declared in his speech at the Jan. 19 demonstration: "Stop the bombing. Start the talking." One sign at the demonstration stated the position eloquently: "We love our troops. We want them home." We want them home now, before the toll of casualties mounts on both sides.
John H. Sinnigen.
Taxpayers as Peons
Editor: The aristocrats of France were insensitive to the plight of the "peons." It appears obvious to me that the aristocrats of Maryland are equally insensitive to the plight of the taxpayers.
Amid all the talk about the deficit, actual state income is greater than it was four years ago when we had a surplus.
Our aristocrats can only talk of tax increases as a remedy -- but they insist that all things remain the same in the area of individual perks, individual benefits.
We still have a state yacht that costs $186,522 a year to operate. We find ways to spend almost $10,000 to renovate it.
We found $1,700,000 to renovate the Governor's Mansion.
We found ways to increase the salaries of the top six state officials by a total of $170,000 a year. That's a commitment of $680,000 over four years.
We found money to give a 7 percent increase to the various cabinet secretaries. Then there are the judiciary and the General Assembly.
This paints an obvious picture: business as usual.
Let them eat cake.
Editor: Bouquets to the Maryland State Teachers Association, the Archdiocese of Baltimore Catholic Schools and The Baltimore Sun.
You all contributed valuable information in ''A Student's Guide to The Persian Gulf War.''
You performed a public service by printing a large, easy-to-read map which helps us to follow events in the Middle East.
Editor: Thank you for the article by Maria Mallory on the steps that companies can take to assess their employees' demand for child care services.
One solution to the need which such an assessment may reveal was not highlighted in the article: a consortium approach to group child care center construction and operation.