On Duke,right answer,wrong reasonsGeez, Frank (DeFilippo...

the Forum

December 27, 1991

On Duke,right answer,wrong reasons

Geez, Frank (DeFilippo, Other Voices, Dec. 19), you had me going there for a minute. A liberal-Democrat-media type admitting that former grand wizard, now common lizard, David Duke would have a better chance for success as a Democrat than as a Republican?

You came up with the right answer but for the wrong reasons. Republicans, you say, would vote for him because they are loony, middlebrow white-breads (read racists), while Democrats who would vote for him are simply frustrated working-class regulars sending a message. Sure, there are snakes in the grass roots of both political parties, and Duke is their supreme charmer.

The reason, Frank, that Republicans can criticize Duke is because he is a reptile. But his words, spoken by a half-decent human, are music to the ears of many Americans.

Dave Reich

Fallston

Legacy

A black cloud has descended on our beloved Enoch Pratt Free Library. This is a sad day for Baltimore. We spend millions for a new ball park or football stadium. There must be money somewhere for our library.

The library is not asking for the big money - just enough to keep its doors open so we can really be a "city that reads."

To posterity do we want to leave our baseball statistics or the works of Edgar Allan Poe,Gerald W. Johnson and H. L. Mencken?

Reuben Kramer

Baltimore

Ugly truths

Some three weeks ago, the U.S. government's star witness against Manuel Noriega directly implicated none other than George Bush himself in steering large sums of dirty drug money to the Nicaraguan contras. But, with one or two notable exceptions, most American news sources gave this astounding development zero coverage.

According to bench transcripts now available, former cocaine cartel head Carlos Lehder was beginning to recount on the witness stand that, in 1983, he received a letter on official White House stationery from Vice President Bush's personal press secretary commending him for a $10 million "donation" he made to the anti-Sandinista "freedom fighters." Lehder was not able to specify what favors the cartel was promised in exchange for this generous gift, because the trial judge and the U.S. government attorneys frantically moved to cut off and strike his line of testimony. But the horse was clearly out of the barn before the door was shut, leaving the Bush administration in a desperate no-win situation.

If the government prosecutors now opt to impugn the credibility of their own witness, then the obvious question arises: Why is the Justice Department offering absolutely scandalous deals not only to Lehder, but to a small army of drug-related criminals for fingering Noriega, if these low-lifes are evidently willing to lie profusely?

But conversely, if the prosecutors choose to stand by their witnesses, then are we supposed to pretend that a paragon of integrity like Lehder suddenly develops a forked tongue when he details the drug connections of the contras and their sponsors like George Bush?

It is all too clear why the administration would want this whole disgusting episode buried far away from public scrutiny. But is it not the job of the free press to dig up, rather than cover up, the ugly truth?

Douglas Mallouk

Baltimore

Harkin was first

Wiley Hall's Dec. 17 column, "The campaign follies begin," discussed all of the 1992 presidential candidates, but missed one important fact: Paul Tsongas is not the only Democratic presidential candidate to open a Maryland campaign office.

On Dec. 10, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin opened his campaign office in this state. Harkin spoke at the opening of that office, and he is the first Democratic presidential candidate to open a campaign headquarters in Maryland.

I hope Mr. Hall will be more objective. It is the job of the press to deliver all of the facts fairly about all the 1992 presidential candidates.

Heidi Gerzowski

Columbia

Short-changed

I was chagrined by the letter from Marcie Handler, who feels she is being short-changed in her religious beliefs (Forum, Dec. 17). If she had said she is being short-changed in her education, I would readily agree, and it is not possible to educate her on the history of freedom in this short space.

To me this is regrettable. Evidently she has been taught that the association with Santa Claus and watching the lighting of a few Christmas trees on television is more offensive than watching the daily display of Israeli-Arab hatred. Is this another example of where our education system has failed?

Forrest F. Gesswein

Baltimore

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