Can we build bridges as well as Romans did?
More by habit than by design, we recently turned northward from Lake Avenue onto Falls Road where we saw progress in the demolition and construction of the bridge. A sign predicted completion late in 1991 - at an estimated cost, as we recall, of about $6 million. The original estimate of project completion time was six months.
While traveling in Spain last summer, our bus rolled across a stone bridge; we followed and were followed by several big trucks hauling many tons of freight, attesting to the great strength of the supports. A typical arch-style bridge of perhaps 500 feet had keystones at the tops of each of the three arches that were easily visible, and relatively little mortar was evident.
This is probably identical to dozens of other spans built by the Romans during their six or seven centuries of occupation from 200 B.C. until 500 A.D.. All are of clean design, massive, and very enduring as demonstrated by their continued use 2,000 years later.
We shall, however, be curious to learn whether the new Falls Road bridge will wear out in 60 years, as did the original steel and concrete number which has now been demolished.
Paul A. Rohde
Outside my office right now there is a large, noisy crowd of Moslem protesters . Are they protesting Iraq's destruction of Kuwait or its genocide against the Kurds or Turkey's shooting of Kurdish refugees? No! They are marching against Israel, the "cancer of the Middle East."
Are the marchers advocating increased autonomy for the Palestinians or anything constructive? No! The signs say, "East to West, Islam is best," and "Israel must not exist."
Iraq's destruction of Kuwait was applauded by the Palestinians, and Kurdistan has been brutalized by Iraq, Iran and Turkey. Yet ** Israel, occupying one-sixth of 1 percent of the Middle East, has been blamed for most of the region's problems and should not even exist. Given this attitude, it is no wonder that the Israelis have refused to cede strategic territories such as the Golan Heights and the West Bank to Arab states or (even worse) the PLO.
Jeffrey P. Jarosz
One cannot help but feel shocked to see the severity of human tragedy in Iraq. The human suffering has been inflicted upon the people step by step. The magnitude of the Iraqi refugees' suffering is enormous.
One cannot help but wonder why humanitarian help is so slow and so little in relation to the sheer masses that need help. One cannot help but wonder who is really responsible for the %J suffering of so many innocent civilians in Iraq.
If you believe what the White House says, again blaming Saddam Hussein, take another look. The United States' objectives in the region have been changing constantly. The worst part is the lack of thoughtfulness on the part of our leaders in predicting what many leaders (including King Hussein of Jordan) feared, that breaking Iraq would destabilize the region and lead to a lack of peace rather than to peace and stability.
It is a great shame that America, home of the smart bombs, could not predict the chaos that would come after those bombs dropped. The smart bombs freed Kuwait, which is back in control of its ruling family, destroyed Iraq and the Iraqis and kept Saddam in power. This is hardly something to feel great about.
Cut the fat
Much attention has been given the proposal by the governor to reduce welfare by 5 percent. The proposal was sound public policy to reduce government spending; there is a lot of fat and waste in welfare programs.
We should cut welfare and provide incentives to work. We should also reduce welfare for middle-income people and the wealthy. Our legislators provide college scholarships to the families of their friends, supporters and relatives. There are no scholastic and need requirements in the state scholarship program.
Finally, legislative District 30 is proving that two delegates per district are more efficient and more cost-effective than three. We could save millions of dollars a year and not impede proper representation.
There is no austerity in our state today except for our hard-working citizens who pay taxes but are not in on any of the rip-offs.
Bill D. Burlison
Attack on Nancy
I believe that Kitty Kelley was lacking in decency to write the book "Nancy Reagan," which degrades, humiliates and shames former President Reagan and especially his wife. There is lack of sympathy, compassion and empathy for another human being. Ms. Kelley meant to hurt and cause grief, as it took her four years to dig up as much dirt as possible. How could the president's friends cooperate with the author?
We should realize that President Reagan and his wife lived eight years in the White House - he was almost killed in an attempt on his life, and the pressure and strain of trying to solve national and world problems were tremendous. The wife a president has many more perplexities than the average wife.
I am disappointed that the prestigious firm of Simon & Schuster would publish such questionable facts.
Christians and Jews
The proximity of the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter brought forth a spate of articles on Jewish-Christian relations. The Sun editorial, "The Genius That Offends," and The Evening Sun's Ray Jenkins' column, "Christians and Jews" (March 31), are examples.
The editorial used the discredited and pagan mention of Jews as "Christ-killers." This pervasive accusation until recently has remained part of prayer services in churches. It is a pagan concept unworthy of the religious Christian. It was imperative that Jesus die to effect resurrection.
Knowing his earthly ministry was completed and aware of his destiny as sacrifice, Jesus could only die if he willed his own death. No human intervention was possible, and all participants
in the drama could deny their part.
Henry H. Cohen