Time to heal the wounds of VietnamThe Vietnam War returns...

the Forum

May 27, 1993

Time to heal the wounds of Vietnam

The Vietnam War returns once more to tear us apart, this time in the debate over whether Bill Clinton should appear at the Wall on Memorial Day. I find it ironic that those who felt they were fighting 25 years ago to defend American values and freedoms are now prepared to limit the free speech and right to peaceful assembly of the president.

As one who strongly opposed the war years ago, my wish now is for communication and mutual respect.

I think I am able to understand the outrage of men and women who were willing to sacrifice precious life itself while looking over their shoulders at the war protests going on back home.

Can they not understand the dilemma faced by those of us who concluded that our country had careened into an unjust and unjustifiable war? What do you do when you deeply believe that your country is making a tragic mistake?

Now, decades later, the foliage creeps back into the devastated jungles of Southeast Asia. Americans make emotional journeys to Vietnam to look in the eyes of former enemies. The stolid people of that luckless global crossroad watch as yet another wave of foreign intervention subsides, as they have watched and waited so many times over the centuries. Perhaps in Vietnam has come a quiet moment to reflect, recover and turn toward the future. Certainly, we need such a moment in our own nation.

Adine Panitch

Hunt Valley

Appropriate advice

I found Dan Rodricks' column (May 15) to be a blatant distortion of the role of an attorney zealously representing a client. In this case, the client is not just the Department of Corrections, but the citizens of the State of Maryland. The action taken by Assistant Attorney General Joan L. Bossmann in instructing witnesses to contact the attorney general's office is not only proper, it is required under the Department of Corrections policy and Maryland's policy whenever the state is involved in litigation. Furthermore, the lawyers' Code of Professional Responsibility clearly permits the action taken by Ms. Bossmann.

I am equally shocked by Attorney General J. Joseph Curran's comments. They are inappropriate and show a clear intention by Attorney General Curran to run for governor.

I suggest that Mr. Curran represent the people of Maryland, and not curry favor with a few labor unions in order to win the governorship. His comments call into question his competency to perform as attorney general, let alone as governor.

Mark S. Henckel

Baltimore

No tooth fairy

In Ken Wood's letter May 20, he complained that as a college student from an upper-middle-class family he had to have a tooth pulled because he did not have $1,000 for a root canal and cap, and because he cannot afford dental insurance.

In this day and age, all families, despite their economic status, know that their young adult offspring need financial help for far longer than in the past. The terrible economic situation in our country mandates this.

Couldn't Mr. Wood's upper-middle-class family have provided him the $1,000 needed to save his tooth? I and my middle-income husband would have done so for one of our adult children.

It angers me greatly that Mr. Wood blames society in general for his lack of dental insurance and the loss of his tooth. College students from upper middle-class families are not truly in need.

President Clinton's attitude that taxpayers must pick up the tab for everyone must stop. Parents of young adult children need to realize they and they alone are responsible for caring for their young.

Marcia R. Conrad

Pasadena

Schmoke's shame

Shame on Mayor Schmoke.

I was shocked and disappointed to read of his signing the executive order stiffening the residency requirements of city government employees.

It is an unbelievable decision, in my opinion, that only creates another wall around our city, a city which is, or should be, screaming for a broader metropolitan base.

Your fine editorial, "Regionalism in Reverse," effectively sums up the terrible error Mayor Schmoke made in this executive action. One thing that I believe everyone can agree on is that we don't need any more walls around our city.

I resent the fact that the mayor took this matter totally out of the hands of the City Council's normal procedures (no public hearings, etc.). I also find the mayor's office comment justifying this action a fallacy.

Baltimore is obviously not Chicago in many ways, but pertinent to this issue is the fact that, other than St. Louis, Baltimore is the only city in the nation that is not in a county.

This has caused Baltimore to be a victim of its own independence because of limited regionalism (resulting in different tax rates, schools, police and fire departments just six miles from City Hall).

Yes, Maryland is made up of 23 counties and Baltimore, but isn't it about time for us all to work harder for our state to be thought of as having 23 counties with Baltimore City?

The mayor should rescind this order. Unity is what we need in our state, not separation.

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