Gulf: The Limits of Air Power
Editor: Jeffery Record's article, ''Gulf War's Misread Lessons,'' is interesting for what it did and didn't say. Much of what he wrote is true. Much of what he left out is also true. The question is, did he leave out more truth than he put in?
Air power can be decisive, but few would draw the conclusion that therefore we don't need an Army and Navy -- both of which, incidentally, rely on their own strong air arms. If it didn't do the whole job on World War II Germany, let's not forget that American troops did not have to invade Japan -- and not just because of the atomic bomb.
Who would argue that air power can be all things to all wars at all times? Mr. Record has set up a straw man. After all, the art of war involves the application of the right amount and right type of force at the right time and in the right place.
What was air power asked to achieve in the Iraq war? It was asked to significantly weaken the defensive ground forces in and around Kuwait and to disrupt offensive and resupply potential.
Did air power succeed? I say, ''Yes,'' and in the face of a sophisticated air defense system.
Did it overthrow Saddam and neuter his armed forces? No. Neither did the ground forces, nor were they asked or permitted to do so.
Would you fault a surgeon who removed your gallstone but didn't clear up your acne? Air power isn't always the whole answer, but sometimes it is. A lot depends on the where and how and when and what the objectives are. To truly judge air power's worth, you have to look at the goal and the results.
In the case of Iraq, did it incapacitate the vaunted Iraqi army, devastate communications and supply and otherwise do more than even the most ardent proponents imagined? Yes.
Did it meet the goals that the president set? Yes.
L Was there more to do that air power wasn't asked to do? Yes.
Was there more to do that the Army and Navy weren't asked to do? Yes.
Don't give the Iraqis all the credit for making the bombing campaign look easy. It wasn't easy except in the eyes of a smug Monday morning quarterback. Air power was employed decisively through superb training, planning and execution.
L Would another two weeks have enabled it to do the whole job?
Would Saddam eventually have fallen?
Moot points, but I wouldn't be too quick to say no.
/%Lt. Col. William P. Stroud III, USAF
Langley AFB, Va.
45 Cents Worth It.
Editor: It is very disappointing to read of the "flood" of objections being raised to the 45-cents-a-month charge for telephone relay service for hearing impaired people. Creation of the relay service is an essential and humanitarian service that should have been provided in Maryland years ago.
People who cannot use a telephone because of hearing problems may not only be cut off from emergency medical, police, or fire department assistance, but from the social participation that makes life livable. Isolation is cruel. Yet in today's society when people live in cities and transportation is often difficult and expensive, as well as time-consuming, the objectors feel that the hearing impaired do not deserve consideration.
The relay service has not been a secret suddenly sprung on the objectors. Bills were under consideration in Annapolis before both the House and Senate during the past year. Hearings were well-attended not only by those directly effected, but by FTC representatives of state agencies and private business. As noted in The Sun, such systems have existed in other states for many years.
Whether 45 cents a month is a proper charge, I do not know, but the amount might have been lower had the system been created years ago, prior to inflation.
Victor H. Savadow.
Hare Krishna 'Rotten Apple'
Editor: Contrary to an Associated Press article in your paper June 21, Keith Ham, or Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison June 20, is not a leader of the Hare Krishna movement. Nor is he a member.
Mr. Bhaktipada was expelled from our religious institution -- the International Society for Krishna Consciousness -- on March 16, 1987, four years prior to his conviction. He also was forbidden from participating in any ISKCON functions.
Church records document that he was expelled in large part because our own internal investigations determined that "numerous illegal acts [had] occurred within his jurisdiction." Due to the severity of his legal, moral and religious deviations from our teachings, Mr. Bhaktipada's followers were similarly expelled February 1988.
It is also a matter of public record that ISKCON leaders assisted the government fully in its investigations of Mr. Bhaktipada.
To avoid fanning the fires of prejudice, fear and mistrust against our minority religion, please set the record straight. From Judas to Jim Bakker, every religious organization has had its rotten apples. We threw this one out of the basket four years ago.
The writer is national director of communications of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.