After victory, it's time for compassionNow that we have...

the Forum

March 08, 1991

After victory, it's time for compassion

Now that we have finished bombing Iraq back to the stone age, and called a halt to the massacre of what appears to have been an army vastly inferior in everything but sheer numbers, shoot-from-the-lip George Bush persists in spouting politically inspired rhetoric about the defeated enemy, including gratuitous remarks about not spending one dime of taxpayers' money to rebuild Iraq, while conceding grudgingly that we might offer humanitarian aid to children.

Once again Mr. Bush has spoken without thinking the matter through. How does he plan to ensure that the aid goes only to children? Does he contemplate placing them in institutions? Will he deny aid to the adult members of their families? What about the elderly and the disabled? What kind of aid does he visualize? Food, clothing, medicine? While undoubtedly desirable, furnishing those things won't do much for the long-term needs of Iraq's children if we condemn them to grow up in a country whose cities are in ruins and whose economy has been shattered.

Once again Mr. Bush has betrayed his lack of compassion for suffering people. It is not surprising, since he has yet to demonstrate any compassion for the misery inflicted on his fellow Americans by the reckless policies pursued during 10 years of Republican rule.

Nevertheless, we may eventually use American tax dollars to rebuild Iraq, if only because our own big business and financial interests will demand it. That, after all, is what happened in Germany and Japan after World War II.

Isobel V. Morin

Baltimore

Workers suffer

When a corporation claims it's losing money, the real workers are the first to be fired. The managers remain (and in most cases the managers' exorbitant salaries caused the corporation to fold - not to mention profitable mergers, leveraged buy-outs, bankruptcies, etc.).

Sen. Barbara Mikulski salvaged Homewood North one time (a.k.a. the U.S. Public Health Hospital and Wyman Park Medical Center). Rep. Helen D. Bently may be able to salvage Homewood North and Homewood South this time around (with the possible help of Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes).

One thing is certain: Bush's defense contractors will never close down and will continue to prosper - even though American hospital workers and patients suffer (not to mention other

non-defense workers in America). Note Bush's clenched-fist salute at his recent visit to the Raytheon missile plant.

K. T. Wolf

Baltimore

No resolution

Your editorials, "On to referendum," and "Save lives, not face" (Feb. 20), exhibit double-think. In one, you encourage the president not to allow "face saving" from realizing the life-saving possibilities in Gorbachev's peace plan. You refer to a poignant photograph of "an anguished family ... at the graveside of a helicopter pilot. When we think of 'face,' let us not forget [those anguished] faces." Respect for human life is your theme. Yet, on the abortion referendum, your cynical tone is one of bored superiority: "talk of would-be children, deflecting attention from real problems ..."

Let's talk of real problems. With every abortion, a beating, human, heart is stilled.

In the referendum editorial, you make several mistaken assumptions. The voters made "their preferences clear," ignoring those races where pro-life candidates prevailed. Roe vs. Wade is not a compromise; its moral authority is equaled only by the Dred Scott decision. You imply that the abortion question must be settled. If there is legal abortion-on-demand, and the freedoms of religion and speech still endure, then the contention will continue. Even if pro-abortion forces win this referendum, the struggle will go on. Just as slavery was wrong in 1800, in spite of its vast approval, the tiresome and tireless abolitionists endured and prevailed; so, too, will the fight to end the wrong of killing the innocent.

Byron Beam

Sykesville

'Don't move'

Imagine yourself the object of the siren and flashing lights of a police car. What have you done?

"Routine stop," says the cop. "Show me your driver's license and registration card!"

This once-common police practice was declared unconstitutional in 1979 as being an arbitrary state interference with individual liberty.

Certain elements of the state legislature don't seem to care. They propose a 1991 version of the routine stop - "Don't move

until I inspect your seatbelts!" says the cop.

Gregory Lewis

Baltimore

The home front

Thank you for your excellent coverage of President Bush's war with Saddam. Your editorial dated Feb. 25 summed it all up.

Before the sentimental, maudlin "patriotic" cheering begins (celebrating Bush's "victory"), I would like to point out several realities.

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