Gerry AdamsOnce again The Sun's editors are off-base with...


February 11, 1994

Gerry Adams

Once again The Sun's editors are off-base with their analysis of the troubles in the North of Ireland, as evidence by your editorial, "Clinton's Irish Gambit," Feb. 4.

Mr. Clinton displayed great foresight in permitting Gerry Adams to visit this country and speak his piece.

This country has for too long been in an effective state of censorship regarding the Six Counties due to the State Department's willingness to acquiesce to the fancies of the British government.

Thanks to the president, Americans heard more from Mr. Adams in 48 hours than many people in Britain or Ireland have heard in 20 years.

A peaceful solution to any conflict requires participation of all parties involved. John Major (the leader of the political wing of the British army), sees fit to dictate terms of any peace process, however, requiring an Irish Republican Army cease-fire of 90 days followed by a period of "decontamination" of Sinn Fein prior to their entrance into Britain's definition of peace talks.

Apparently, your paper agrees with this, as you describe the Downing Street Declaration as "the only hope for Irish reconciliation." On the other hand, Mr. Adams is willing to sit down and talk peace without preconditions.

Yes, Mr. Adams demands clarification from the British government on the Downing Street Declaration. So did the Unionist parties, and Mr. Major answered them: No end to Unionist veto, no provision for a voice from Dublin in the North, no plan to reduce British military presence, no plan for eventual withdrawal, no demand of Loyalist paramilitaries to surrender arms.

In other words, "the peace plan" is the status quo.

The entire recent cycle of peace proposals began solely by John Hume's and Gerry Adams' joint proposal. Even a casual observer of events will recognize that Britain would not have come forth with any proposal without such prompting.

The British knee-jerk reactions were again being displayed as they announced a "modified" proposal as Mr. Adams return flight was still taxi-ing on the runway at Kennedy airport . One would like to believe the British would have a genuine offer this time, but history leads one to think not.

John P. McNichol

Linthicum Heights

The writer is chair of the Baltimore unit of Irish Northern Aid Committee (Noraid).


I am far too frequently distressed by the media's usage of the phrase "senseless murder." The phrase represents an unfortunate redundancy as well as an oxymoron in disguise.

Your Feb. 1 editorial, "City Police Chief's Challenge," makes a reference to the "seemingly senseless homicide" of a corrections officer. In so doing the editors leave one to fathom precisely how they define or might define "senseless homicide."

"Homicide" and "murder" by common usage have come to possess a concurrent definition -- the unlawful killing of a human being. Therefore, "murder" by its very definition is profoundly senseless. The use of the phrase "senseless murder" therefore implies that there is some category of sensible murder.

The judicious use of a thesaurus will provide the editorial and reporting staff with a wealth of adjectives that will much more precisely describe the horror, pain and inhumanity of murder. The phrase "senseless murder" fails all tests of logic and thus should take leave from today's lexicon.

William H. Miller



While the human rights abuses by the Guatemalan military continue and civilians struggle for recourse against the impunity of these abuses, the U.S. Department of Defense is sending National Guard and Army Reserve units from eight states, including Maryland, to perform joint exercises with the Guatemalan military.

Although Maryland National Guard spokespersons would only say that civic action, such as building roads and training medical personnel, is planned, we have come to mistrust such reports, especially when Central America is the locale for Department of Defense involvement.

At this time, in southern Mexico, the government is at war with some of its own people, led by the EZLN, in the area of Chiapas, which is close to the border with Guatemala.

The indigenous people in Chiapas are waging struggles similar to those of the indigenous people of Guatemala -- struggles for land rights, decent wages and jobs, adequate health care and an end to military repression.

Is it a coincidence that U.S. military personnel are present in the ,, region at this time?

And what purpose do these military exercises serve, in meeting the survival and human rights needs of the Guatemalan people?

How can the needs for health care, education, land, jobs with decent wages, be met by the presence of the U.S. military, a presence which lends credibility to the repressive Guatemalan military?

The people of Guatemala do need our assistance, in the form of pressure in forcing the political and economic systems of their country to work for those who are suffering and enduring the injustice of a regime whose policies and practices none of us would want to live under.

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