Why should tyrants have the last word?In both Serbia and...

the Forum

June 29, 1993

Why should tyrants have the last word?

In both Serbia and Somalia, the United Nations and the United States allowed local tyrants to control all the communications and propaganda channels without any effective attempt to bring world opinion or reason to bear.

It is ridiculous, for example, to believe that bullets and rockets directed at a Muslim warlord by Christian foreigners are sufficient to win the hearts and minds of the Somalis. In Serbia a Hitler-like dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, is eliminating all opposition while controlling the media, the military and the secret police -- allowing the people to hear only one voice.

With all the sophisticated communications, information and intelligence tools available to the West, it is difficult to understand why an aggressive information campaign is not being waged in both regions.

Radio Free Europe, Voice of America, leaflets, psychological operations, intelligence resources, electronic countermeasures and covert activity are just a few of the low-risk weapons that would make it more difficult for Milosevic to continue to brainwash Serbians into supporting his lust for power.

The source of the Balkan military aggression and the primary cause of a major European war, toward which the world is hurtling, is Serbia. Unless and until the U.N. injunction against Serbian resupply of forces in Bosnia is enforced, Milosevic will continue to thumb his nose and expand ethnic cleansing and killing to Kosovo and Macedonia. And Serbs will continue to be told without contradiction that their actions are patriotic, heroic and in defense of their fatherland.

Unless the West resists this moral outrage with all the sophisticated means available and allows the Muslims to arm and defend themselves we will all be passive accomplices to genocide.

Roger C. Kostmayer


Forfeiture law

Civil forfeiture laws were enacted to take away the huge profits from the kingpins in the illicit drug business. Various law enforcement agencies have created a conflict of interest by profiting from the seizures they make. We must prevent the police from taking assets from citizens without due process.

Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., is trying to pass legislation that would reform federal forfeiture laws. He is getting support from the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Too many officers in the narcotics divisions of local and federal law enforcement agencies believe in "law and order" only as long as they can lay down the law and give orders.

If common sense were more common we would put the drug lords out of business by legalizing narcotics.

Meanwhile, we must acknowledge that whenever huge profits are involved, temptation will lead some members of the law to become partners with outlaws.

Joseph Lerner


Berger's wit

Dan Berger deserves a prize for his satire and wit!

Recently, he wrote:

"In New York, terrorists go for the commodities exchange, in Florence, the Art Museum. The moral: Move to Italy."

Betty D. Edlavitch


Citizen patrols

Your editorial, "Standoff in Patterson Park" (June 15), requires comment.

The neighbors adjacent to Patterson Park deserve recognition and praise for their concern about safety in the community and their goal of preventing the area from becoming a haven for prostitutes and drug dealers.

This unique citizens' patrol, however, is not conducted in a vacuum devoid of police attention.

The officers assigned to the Southeastern District encourage and support this effort completely. Prior to each patrol, a neighborhood representative contacts the Southeastern District to alert our supervisors to the event.

This information is then relayed by police radio to the officers working the area, who in turn check on the group periodically and give timely response to 911 calls generated by the citizens' patrol.

It is unfair to the men and women patrol officers of the Southeastern District to imply that we ignore prostitution or its effects on a neighborhood. Since January 1992, our officers have made 207 arrests in this same area for prostitution-related incidents, including streetwalkers and their prospective customers.

Please continue to report on the various citizen-involved crime prevention efforts throughout Baltimore. To do so fosters additional citizen participation.

However, to conclude that a lack of interest prevails in the law enforcement community is a disservice to all.

Harry Koffenberger


The writer is a major in the Baltimore Police Department, Southeastern District.

Maryland will meet Chesapeake Agreement goals

As secretary of agriculture, I have been asked on several occasions during the past few weeks to comment on Pennsylvania's new law requiring nutrient management plans for some livestock and poultry operations.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture applauds Pennsylvania's decision to move ahead with a program that appears to be supported by a wide range of agricultural and environmental interests.

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