N. Ireland nationalists were the real victims under...


May 29, 1998

N. Ireland nationalists were the real victims under Britain's 0) rule

We share your views on support of the Irish referendum ("A chance for healing the wounds in Ireland," May 20) but not your perspective on the conflict.

Your focus on Unionist fears was misplaced. Nationalists have long been the victims of British misrule. There is ample data to show their systematic oppression and the corruption of law to persecute them. Their fears for this agreement and not the histrionics of loyalists should be of greater concern.

The decommissioning of arms is not now nor was it ever to be unilateral. Not as long as there are 12,000 British troops and an equal number of heavily armed Royal Ulster Constabulary making a very good living by making the lives of nationalists-Catholics miserable.

As for the constitutional change, once before, in 1972, the Irish amended their constitution to allay the fears, or so they thought, of Protestants who objected to "the special relationship of the Catholic church" language. They were not appeased then nor are they likely to be appeased now.

Andrew Somers


The writer is national president of the Irish-American Unity Conference.

Abandoning old instrument could be a computing error

After reading "Orbiting switchboard pulls plug on U.S." (May 21), I started wondering about the wisdom of discontinuing the class at the U.S. Naval Academy on the sextant -- that marvelous instrument used by seamen for centuries to navigate by the heavens ("Academy takes sextant out of course," May 20).

I can just hear some future captain of a ship, when the computer and satellite crash, saying: "Does anyone know where the heck we are?"

Maybe the Naval Academy should rethink its new policy.

Randall Miller

Ocean View, Del.

Much space was allotted for attacks on Republicans

When The Sun sets out to do a hatchet job on people witpolitical and moral philosophies opposed to those of Sun editors, it spares neither effort nor space.

Mike Lane's vicious attack on Republicans in general and Newt Gingrich in particular in his May 24 cartoon set the tone for The Sun's Memorial Day weekend assault on those who find fault with the actions and activities of President Clinton.

On May 25, The Sun continued its attack with a so-called parody by Chuck Salter, ("Starr witnesses are less than stellar") that tried to belittle and ridicule Kenneth Starr's investigation of possible perjury and suborning of perjury by President Clinton.

Also that day, Washington bureau writers Jack Germond and Jules Witcover did their best to discredit the investigation of President Clinton in their column, "Partisan GOP will have hard time conducting credible inquiry." In it, they managed to work in thinly disguised attacks on Dan Burton, Mr. Gingrich, Trent Lott, Richard Shelby, Christopher Cox and the investigations in general.

The Sun also repositioned President Clinton's facilitating the transfer of satellite technology to the Chinese from being a matter of national security to a matter of campaign contributions from the Chinese.

ichard T. Seymour


Bennett's candor refreshing amid flawed investigation

In a day of "spin doctors" and obfuscation by virtually everyone who fears the realities of truth, it was extremely refreshing to read Dick Bennett's candid assessment of his efforts as chief counsel to Rep. Dan Burton's committee, as reported by David Folkenflik on the front page May 26 ("Md. lawyer giving up Hill finance probe").

One does not require an advanced degree in journalism to read (( the loud and clear message between the lines -- honest inquiry, without a predetermined outcome, has no place in Washington.

Mr. Bennett would have, no doubt, enjoyed greater success in attempting to introduce Robert's Rules of Order to the participants of the "Jerry Springer Show."

Those of us who witnessed the high level of Mr. Bennett's campaign for the office of attorney general against highly respected incumbent J. Joseph Curran Jr. have but one message: Welcome home, Dick. Maryland needs you.

Joseph B. Harlan

Baltimore I felt saddened to read about the response of the St. Paul's Schools' parents to the issue of sexual orientation at the school ("Parents call for St. Paul's Schools to avoid promoting homosexuality," May 16). These parents are giving such negative messages to the girls there who are already aware, or who will later become aware, that they are lesbians.

I hope everyone in the school community will take this opportunity to examine their own discomfort, to analyze where the discomfort comes from and to expose themselves to some real-life gay people -- not those who have tried to counsel themselves out of their gayness, but those who accept their inborn sexual orientation and who live their lives in accord with that special gift.

Linda Linton


The writer is co-chairwoman of the Columbia/Howard County Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

Setting the facts straight on 1917 changes in Russia

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