U.S. plans on Haiti called 'appalling'As a former military...

the Forum

September 07, 1994

U.S. plans on Haiti called 'appalling'

As a former military man, I am appalled to see plans to invade Haiti taking shape.

Even with 266 Central American troops in the 10,266-man force, such an expedition would violate not only every principle of U.S. foreign policy toward its neighbors, it would also violate every precept of military doctrine.

About the only thing that has kept the U.S. from occupying Cuba over more than 30 years is that our country simply does not invade a foreign nation unless that nation poses a direct threat to us that cannot be controlled by other means. That's one of the reasons President Kennedy did not invade Cuba during the 1961 missile crisis.

The basic U.S. doctrine for using military force has always been a vital national interest. We have no vital national interest in Haiti, which poses no direct or indirect threat to our country.

I have heard administration officials, leading among them White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, give two reasons for invading Haiti: Haiti and Cuba have the only non-democratic governments in our hemisphere, and the U.S. has a duty to restore the "democratically elected" president . . .

The administration has no defined goal -- no eventual basis for claiming victory -- and no time or method for withdrawal.

The last time U.S. forces were sent into Haiti was 1915, and they left in 1934 without accomplishing anything but alienating the Haitian people.

In a news conference on Cuba Aug. 18, President Clinton stated, "This government is not in the business of choosing leaders for other nations."

By what edict of God does Mr. Clinton presume say who shall govern Haiti or any other country? Isn't that what he's trying to do now?

Chuck Frainie


Emission checks

I read the Aug. 5 letter to your paper which was written by a citizen who had concerns about air pollution. He identified city vehicles as being among the polluters.

The Department of Public Works inspects every diesel and gasoline vehicle every 90 days or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. Emissions are checked as part of this process.

In addition to these inspections, DPW has begun the process of converting to clean alternative fuels.

We are also working with the University of Maryland in an effort to reduce particulate matter from diesel fuels. This is part of the broad program to clean the Chesapeake Bay.

Sometimes a vehicle may encounter an injector problem or some other malfunction. If you see a problem with a Baltimore City government vehicle, note its number and report it to us by calling 396-3609.

eorge G. Balog


The writer is the city's public works director.

It's not pork

Thank you for your lead editorial of Aug. 16, "Midnight basketball isn't pork." Exposing the real-life meaning of legislative proposals in Congress -- such as preventive programs in the crime bill -- is always urgently needed.

All too often some of the media simply regurgitate buzz words -- like "pork" -- as used by politicians and lobbyists to sour support for some piece of legislation.

The other day a network evening news anchor ended her report on compromises being worked out in the crime bill with the words "but still there is too much pork in it."

She quoted no one. She just spit up and out the undigested word "pork" with no attempt to inform citizens of the specific meanings behind the pejorative. That's not responsible journalism. Yours was! I'll take newsprint's in-depth journalism any day. And, of course, I despise perennial political -- well --


Dick Rodes


'J' for 'Juice'

Here is one O. J. Simpson development that has not been reported.

Scrabble players will be interested to know that, according to Webster's New World Dictionary, "OJ" is now its own word -- meaning, of course, "orange juice."

Since the letter "J" in Scrabble carries eight points, this two-letter word can be very useful.

Placing the "J" on a triple word score, for example, brought this player a surprising 25 points.

Francis J. Gorman


Iran's hope

A foreign correspondent "finally found the most stunningly unusual" leader, Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Georgie Anne Geyer's Aug. 24 column, "The woman who drives Iran's mullahs crazy," was as impressive as her subject.

As an Iranian scholar interested in politics of Iran and the world, I found myself feeling proud to have such a leader in a country where women are mostly ignored and suppressed by the ruling clerical regime.

Maryam Rajavi is a symbol of hope, unity and integrity for the Iranian people.

Mrs. Rajavi is carrying the flag of anti-fundamentalism against the most dangerous and inhumane regime.

We, Iranian-American scientists and scholars can only identify with her to stay dignified.

The Iranian regime as a major sponsor of international terrorism is an international outlaw and must be stopped.

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