War's legacy: oil fires, slicks, 150,000 deadWe have just...

the Forum

April 05, 1991

War's legacy: oil fires, slicks, 150,000 dead

We have just celebrated the miracles of Passover and Easter. We also celebrate the new miracle in the Middle East, the 100-hour war, which gave us oil fires polluting the air; oil slicks in the water; 100,000 Iraqi dead; maybe 50,000 Kuwati dead; Kuwait and Iraq destroyed and Saddam Hussein still in power and free to cannibalize his own people; Israel's vulnerability to hi-tech weapons underscored, as the arms merchants gear up for further profits in the region; new refugees to add to the many already; Kuwait's emir and "legitimate government" restored; and "just a few" American men and women dead.

We celebrate the miracle in the Middle East. We wave flags and yellow ribbons. They are everywhere ` we support our troops. But only "over there." For many of our troops will return to no jobs, daily murder in the city streets, underfunded education for their children (not their suburban fellow citizens, of course). It's a fine welcome.

We celebrate our miracle. Anyone who does not is unpatriotic, a pacifist, misinformed. So say the talk show hosts on radio.

After all, this nation did the morally right thing, right on principle, out of necessity. We need cheap oil. We have our priorities. We celebrate our miracle in the Middle East and bury the dead.

Richard Bolan



It was with deep regret that I read of the death of a true friend and dedicated printer, Edward C. Sappington Sr. For nearly 30 years at the News American he was general foreman on the night shift. As assistant superintendent, he served faithfully and worked well with all the employees in his charge.

As vice chairman on the nightside for several years, I can attest to his fairness, often under the most trying conditions. On the Saturday night of his retirement, he said the one thing he wanted most was a job well done and all editions put to bed on time. Everyone cooperated beautifully as usual, and complied with his wishes.

Warren Ironmonger


Built in Baltimore

In rebuttal to Sue Shade (Forum, March 29):

Give us a break! I have one son who had a 1985 Chevrolet Astro van - not only built in the USA but built here in Baltimore. He drove it over 329,000 miles and now owns another Astro van with over 100,000.

A second son has an Astro van with over 110,000 miles, and a third son has a Chevrolet with over 125,000.

So don't tell me that American car companies can't compete with the Japanese.

All three sons are "laborers," and I guarantee they work a lot harder for their dollars than you do. They also served four years in the Army, and they are proud to be American and to buy American.

Eleanor Houck


Twisting truth

The letter by John B. Wetzel (Forum, March 27) entitled "End of apartheid," was a vicious ploy to twist the truth. The closing of the doors of the United Democratic Front was not a signal that the fight for apartheid was over; it was done to prevent fragmentation of the movement. The UDF was merely filling in a need while the African National Congress was banned from South Africa. The ANC regained its power and took over to fight against apartheid.

The situation has not "improved drastically" when there are still political prisoners being held, many children are still in jail, many people are still missing who were taken from their homes, and South Africans still don't have the right to vote. The South African government recently ordered a crime sweep locking up hundreds of South Africans on the pretense that it was trying to make the streets safer. The South African government has not met all the conditions to have the sanctions lifted. The sanctions must be kept in place until South Africa has one man, one vote and is truly a democratic government.

Collis D. Patterson


Confusion reigns

In the confusion which dominates the closing weeks of the General Assembly session, like most Marylanders, I have become confused.

On one page of the newspaper, we read that the secretary of transportation says that all road repairs, design work and construction will halt if the transportation trust fund is not replenished through another increase in gasoline taxes and vehicle fees. On the next page, we read that the governor wants to borrow $48.3 million from the transportation fund to pay for several social (translate, unproductive giveaway) programs.

If the transportation fund is too broke to do what it is intended to do, how could it afford to loan $48.3 million (or even 48 cents) to the general fund for any purpose? Hey, governor, please explain so that we little people can understand.

Charles A. Frainie


Iraq's future

It is no secret that our leaders would be pleased if Saddam Hussein were overthrown. The rebels are being slaughtered in Iraq because they do not possess the necessary weapons in order to win their freedom from oppression. The U.S. should aid the Kurds and Shiites. They are trying to do what we should have done.

Between right and wrong, Uncle Sam should not be neutral. We jTC can't set up a democracy in Saddam's land. However, we should be able to establish a government that is willing to accept cooperation without assimilation. The gulf war shows us that this formula is feasible.

Joseph Lerner


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