Do we want to be the world's policeman?There is nothing...

the Forum

May 13, 1993

Do we want to be the world's policeman?

There is nothing funny about the slaughter in Bosnia, but I find the attitudes of Maryland's congressional delegation toward it bewildering at best.

Two years ago, they opposed almost to a member U.S. forces being sent to the Persian Gulf to protect the availability of oil, the lifeblood of the world economy. That war was obviously winable.

Now, largely because the blood and gore of Yugoslavia's civil war is shown nightly on television, they're foursquare in favor of sending U.S. forces to an area that no invading force has been able to control for 1,000 years.

The commanding general of Serbian forces has stated several times that if outside forces interfere, his army will consider the U.N. forces currently on the ground invaders and act accordingly -- in other words, slaughter them.

If we institute air strikes, all he has to do is place his guns adjacent to hospitals, schools and apartment buildings and watch the collateral damage from the bombs complete the slaughter his forces have begun.

To have any effect, the U.N. or NATO would need a force larger than we had in Vietnam (nearly 600,000), and the outcome would still be in doubt. Given the attitude of our allies, we'd have to go it alone.

According to the U.N., there were 48 wars and any number of famines in progress. The question our two senators, both of whom spoke out against our going to the Persian Gulf, our eight representatives, the Clinton administration and Congress as a whole must answer is: Are we going to be the world's policeman at the cost of American lives?

Do we want to do that? I've been to war three times, and I don't think so.

Charles A. Frainie

Woodlawn

Fading dream

Baltimore each day nails another peg into its coffin. Nobody will predict the city's ultimate death, but it will happen unless we act now.

Governor William Donald Schaefer had a dream in the 1960s, and now the whole world knows about the Inner Harbor. Yet his vision will become ashes unless he takes a leadership role in the present crisis.

Each edition of The Baltimore Sun seems to carry some new horror story involving a murder or inappropriate police action.

We recently witnessed Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke acting as judge and jury by trying a policeman on four TV stations in order to placate the inner-city community. Yet, he failed to question why 15-year-olds stole an automobile and resisted arrest at 1 o'clock in the morning.

Meanwhile, the Ron Smith talk show on WBAL continually broadcasts about the increased criminal activity in the Inner Harbor area. Another commentator on Mr. Smith's time slot stated that his family fears to ride the Metro, and that he opted to drive to the downtown district.

My wife and I no longer ride the rapid transit system. These opinions may partially explain the lack of ridership on the Light Rail.

The governor wants to spend taxpayer dollars to increase the size of the City Convention center to attract major groups. We concur with the expenditure, but only if the state will take the initiative to reduce the apparent anarchy that we experience through the media each day.

Hopefully, Mayor Schmoke will cooperate with the State House and realize that he takes on a major custodial responsibility of Maryland tax dollars.

Look at the city jobs created by such projects as the Marine Terminal, Inner Harbor, University of Maryland Medical Center, etc. If these projects fail or move elsewhere for safety reasons, Baltimore will go bankrupt.

We all lose if Baltimore dies. Without the city our state loses the magnet which draws businesses and tourist dollars. In addition, our cultural well-being -- the symphony, art galleries, fine restaurants, and theaters -- depends upon a safe, crime-free environment.

Many years ago, Governor Schaefer turned his Inner Harbor dream into reality. Hopefully, a lasting monument will exist when he leaves office in 1995. For if he fails to react to the present chaos, his vision will become rubble.

Jack Norris

Cockeysville

Out of date

Pamela Snowhite Davis, Westminster's 44-year-old hemp-puffing marijuana activist, indeed should not "back down." She should grow up!

The hippie days are over since the advent of a well-informed, anti-drug public and responsible parenthood.

I am surprised that the Carroll County authorities have not also charged her with child abuse for allowing her son to smoke pot. Or did he choose to do it of his own 12-year-old free will?

As for the sign displayed in her store window requesting the FOP and other folks who do not agree with her philosophy to "leave the premises," well, that's another out-of-date concept -- prejudice.

Legalizing marijuana will only serve to license an addict's enslavement to a drug.

Joanna Evans

Baltimore

Public servants

Recently, we read a story about how an effort is being made to restore pay to lower grade federal employees.

Just a few years back, the government authorized a catch-up raise for employees GS-12 and above because they lagged the public sector.

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