Arms makers riding high after gulf warRecently, the Bush...

the Forum

April 23, 1991

Arms makers riding high after gulf war

Recently, the Bush administration made a decision to permit the Export-Import Bank of the United States to provide financial guarantees in support of military sales, even though the bank is prohibited by the Arms Export Control Act from financing the sale of military items to developing countries.

As a result of the Persian Gulf war, Raytheon, producer of the Patriot missile, has received new contracts. Stock prices for other defense contractors like General Dynamics and General Electric have soared. Even though budget director Richard Darman says the administration is not changing its view that military spending must decrease over the long term, the success of high-tech weapons strengthens the constituency for funding new systems like Star Wars. Likewise, the restrictions resulting from last year's budget agreement prevent any reduction in military spending to be transferred to social spending.

The profits of the military contractors are protected both by the budget process and by defense-related PAC donations to key congressional representatives, like Western Maryland's Beverly Byron, who is a key member of the House Armed Services Committee and receives much of her campaign funding from defense-related PACs.

On March 22, Rep. Jim Moody, D-Wis., sent a letter to Secretary of State Baker expressing grave concern at the decision of the administration to allow the Export-Import Bank to provide such guarantees. There were 102 co-signers. Congresswoman Byron was not one of them.

Yvonne Small

Taneytown

Turnabout?

I have apparently been mistaken about the goal of African-Americans ` I erroneously thought it was equality.

Much to my surprise, Wiley A. Hall 3rd, following the redistricting of Baltimore city, stated it was "payback" time. I assume this means the white bigots are to be replaced by the black bigots.

What a shame!

Betty Berg

Baltimore

Get serious

Hal Riedl (Other Voices, April 15) must live in "Wonderland" or some other fantasy land. Does he really believe it is possible to confiscate all the weapons in the United States?

One little barrier stands in the way, the Bill of Rights. Or is he willing to cast that aside?

There have been many men who have tried to control the people by stupid measures, among them Hitler, Mussolini, Noriega and Saddam Hussein. Forget that idea, Mr. Riedl, and let's try to get a reasonable gun law passed. A waiting period and other forms of control, yes. But "confiscation"? Get serious.

Edward Mattson

Towson

Reagan and guns

How nice that you have now seen fit to praise the mental state of Ronald Reagan in his turnaround regarding a national "waiting period" for handgun purchases (except for criminals.) Is it not strange that Reagan was roundly cursed and chastised for opposite beliefs in his presidential years? Even his mental capacity was frequently questioned by the gun-grabbing media.

Now at age 80-plus, because his new views coincide with those of the press, the man has "seen the light." Could there be a bit of hypocritical exploitative media hype here?

Ronald L. Dowling

Baltimore

Support your police

I do not know anyone who approves of police brutality, but neither do I know anyone who is ready to abolish the police force. In a free society the police derive authority from our right to self-defense. Our freedom depends on their ability to protect us!

I visited the Soviet Union, where the police serve the government, not the people. In a free country the sole task of the police is to protect the lives and property of local citizens who pay their salaries.

Pray for them as they face the thugs, the rapists, the drug pushers, the terrorists. Mark those who discredit the force. Support your local police and keep them independent.

John A. Dekker

The writer is pastor of the Cub Hill Bible Presbyterian Church of Baltimore.

Better off?

We can now ask ourselves, "Is the Middle East better today than when this mess started?"

"Is the world any better?"

I am proud of my country, but the politicians are an embarrassment.

Charles Johnston

Pasadena

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