Health EconomicsEditor: There has been much criticism...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 04, 1991

Health Economics

Editor: There has been much criticism lately about how the U.S. is the only developed country that does not guarantee basic health care for each of its citizens. Having our government provide health services for us would be one of the worst things that could happen to this great nation.

It is common knowledge that the government cannot afford the astronomical cost of a federal health care program. But even if we could afford it, such a program would do more harm than good to the socioeconomic condition of America.

If the federal government provided health care to those who did not have it, what reason would a private company have for giving its employees health benefits? We would likely see corporations drop their health plans in favor of letting the government pick up the tab.

This, or course, would be disastrous for the already bankrupt government and would only further weaken our economic strength. Besides, the bureaucracy of our over-sized government would prevent any such program from being run efficiently.

It would be better to leave health care programs in the hands of private companies and simply have the government make it easier for those companies to serve the people by reducing the legal costs of health care.

The competitive forces of free enterprise would guarantee that the consumer would receive the lowest possible cost and, therefore, more individuals could afford health services.

Harry W. Collins.

Phoenix.

Combat Is Killing

Editor: I wish to comment on the May 26 story about the bills in Congress on women in combat.

The fallacy is in failure to define "combat." Civilian women have always been endangered by warfare, but that is not "combat." Combat is killing, not simply being killed. A front-line medic, for instance, is a non-combatant by legal definition.

Excepting such legal non-combatants, absolutely all male soldiers and sailors can be compelled to kill as front-line infantrymen. If a male Marine band flutist refused to fight as a rifle-man, he can legally be shot to death by a firing squad.

If feminists want female flutists to be shot by firing squads, they should say so clearly and ask Congress to make that the law.

What we cannot reasonably do is to give women choices denied to men. If women can choose to quit, so can men. As a former combat infantry captain, I assure you that if men can legally quit, thousands will.

As a first-sergeant in my youth, I was issued a sword, its original purpose being to drive men forward into fire.

Could I have been expected to use it on a "woman soldier"?

What if she declared herself pregnant? The absurdities are endless.

The problem is that silly feminists, including crackpot female politicians, interested only in benefits, are not curious enough about battle to pay attention. Their idea is to belittle fighting men to get the best of two worlds.

Thus far, not a single American servicewoman has ever killed in ** war. Six have died from accidental enemy action -- two in Italy, one in Vietnam and three in the gulf.

Willis Case Rowe.

Baltimore.

We Did Right

Editor: Leon Peace Reid's denunciation of Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf in particular and Operation Desert Shield/Storm in general certainly was an unfortunate choice for publication on Memorial Day. However, it is even more unfortunate how some people can't (or won't) see the forest for the trees.

To begin with, his contention that we should have given the sanctions against Iraq a chance to work is ludicrous; all he had to do was look at the postwar footage out of Southern Iraq and Kuwait. Basically, Iraq's economy is based on agriculture and oil; it could have survived forever under the sanctions, even without selling a drop of oil. How would Mr. Reid and his kind have liked to keep 542,000 U.S. military men and women sitting in the Saudi Arabian desert for a year longer?

Saddam Hussein spent the seven months of the sanctions building fortifications and positioning troops and ammunition for ''The Mother of All Battles.'' The longer we waited, the stronger and better supplied those fortifications would have become and the more costly digging a better-prepared Iraqi army out of them would have been.

As a career serviceman who was spat upon on my way home from Vietnam in 1967, I can attest to the deep divisions which existed in this country then and during the 20-plus years since. Operation Desert Shield/Storm went a long way toward pulling this country back together. In that sense, America and the

American people were the big winners in the Persian Gulf war.

No, attacking Iraq when we did the way we did was by far the

best way, except that we should have gone to Baghdad and captured, tried and executed Saddam Hussein and his entire government while we had the chance.

Charles A. Frainie.

Baltimore.

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