Plenty of excuses to do nothingEdmond Burke said "The only...

the Forum

May 06, 1993

Plenty of excuses to do nothing

Edmond Burke said "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." We can find excuses, as the European leaders have, for not taking a meaningful stand against ethnic cleaning in the Balkans.

For example, we should be more patient; or, do anything means we have to do everything -- including sending in millions of U.S. boys; or, the former Yugoslavia is another Vietnam; or, they've hated each other for hundreds of years; or, let the Europeans do it.

But, in this year of remembrance of the Holocaust, there is a point beyond which patience is no longer a virtue. Some are hesitant to take military action because they're confused about our objectives, strategies and plans for exiting.

The objective is to stop ethnic cleaning, punish the aggressors and reduce the threat of uncontrollable expansion of hostilities throughout the region. U.S., U.N. and NATO strategies should include arming the Muslims so they can defend themselves, establishing protective enclaves and applying air power to interdict the flow of military re-supplies and reinforcements as well as suppressing hostile artillery.

These actions, combined with increased tightening of the international sanctions, would stop the mass slaughter and torture of innocent women and children and leave the Serbs with no alternative but to negotiate. The tide will turn, perhaps slowly, and time will then favor the alliance.

Bluntly, the U.S. plan should be to get the Europeans to take responsibility for this conflict in their midst. And, even in a worst case scenario where multi-national U.N. forces are required to monitor a cease-fire, it is a far better solution than the alternatives -- both morally and geopolitically.

Roger C. Kostmayer


Indian living

I was very disturbed by the City Hall hearing concerning contracts awarded by the Board of Estimates.

It is my understanding that the Board of Estimates wants to ban contracts to American Indians "who do not live as Indians." Will the board also require the Afro-American, Asian, Hispanic and other minority business owners to prove that they live as their ancestors? I don't think so.

The definition of "living as an American Indian" is unclear. Indian heritage is very easy to prove.

I feel that this is another step in governmental discrimination to suppress the American Indian community. It must stop.

Deborah Coleman

Middle River

Fortunate nurses

The April 13 Evening Sun editorial, "Business skills for nurses," properly identified nurses as central in providing and promoting cost-effective health care.

The editorial correctly characterized nurses as best qualified to "understand the nuts and bolts of delivering care" in praising the masters and Ph.D. programs jointly sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Nursing and the University of Baltimore Robert C. Merrick School of Business.

As educators, we believe a business background represents an important dimension in preparing nurses for an ever-expanding role in health care delivery.

As nursing practice becomes more autonomous, it is essential that we understand how to manage efficient delivery of quality health care. We are indeed fortunate to have our crosstown neighbor's assistance in achieving this interdisciplinary objective.

Barbara R. Heller


The writer is dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

Parents' role

As a responsible parent, I must express my disagreement with the April 28 letter, "Parents' role," by Sarah Fletcher.

Does Ms. Fletcher have a teen-ager? If so, he/she must be immaculate.

Because a teen-ager is out at 1 a.m. in the morning does not mean they were never taught, or they didn't have any discipline in their home; and it certainly doesn't mean they deserve to be killed. (If your child comes in at 1 a.m. and you whack him, isn't that child abuse?) If the incident had happened at 9 p.m. instead of 1 a.m., Officer Gorwell still would have fired that shot -- using the same excuse.

The surviving teen-agers testified that when Officer Gorwell chased them, he almost simultaneously shouted a command and profanity and fired a shot. The neighbors also testified they heard only one shot. The officer alleges he heard a shot and out of fear for his life, acted properly, and returned fired.

Are police officers trained so that when chasing (several) suspects in the dark and they hear a gun shot, they assume it's best to shoot first and ask questions later and that it's OK to shoot indiscriminately at the suspects because anyone could have fired the shot?

I leave Ms. Fletcher with one final thought. I hope no child of hers is ever caught stealing -- a candy bar -- and is shot in the back because instead of giving up he decides to run. You would never cry to want your back back, because you know that discipline starts at home . . . and the police were only doing their job.

Anthony Winder



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