Right to dissent must not become a casualty of war In...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 28, 2001

Right to dissent must not become a casualty of war

In addition to anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry, I fear other casualties from all of this irresponsible war rhetoric.

For instance, prior to the Sept. 11 tragedies, an informed American opinion was stirred regarding the ill-advised nomination of John Negroponte, who appears to be a very bad choice to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations given his blind toadyism in Honduras during President Reagan's "contra" war against Nicaragua.

Now he's been confirmed by the Senate without opposition ("Senate OKs Bush nominees without dissent," Sept. 15).

It is the constitutional duty of the Senate to be a check on the power of the executive. Who now has the bravery to raise issues of honesty, integrity and human rights about an American diplomat in light of this more grievous incident?

If we are "all Americans now," as Democratic politicians have been saying, must we deny ourselves the very essence of what it means to live in a liberal democracy? Without "politics as usual" we give additional victory to terrorists.

Free speech and the right to dissent should not be additional casualties of war.

Jon Acheson

Towson

Many Christians just want to exercise their rights

Ellen Goodman appropriately criticized the Rev. Jerry A. Falwell's remarks after the terrorist attack as insensitive. But her assertion that all those who believe that their religion is the only true religion are the equivalent of terrorists was itself incredibly insensitive - and divisive ("Falwell, terrorists share extremist view," Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 23).

For example, millions of Christians believe the Bible's statements that the God of the Bible is the one true God. But we do not seek to impose that view on others by violence, intimidation or law.

We ask only for the right to express our belief in public and private, in accordance with our Constitution's guarantees of free speech and free exercise of religion.

Those rights must not be curtailed by extreme reactions to our national tragedy.

Richard E. Geyer

Mount Airy

It shouldn't take tragedy to allow our kids to pray

When I saw the Sept. 15 photograph of children taking part in the National Day of Prayer, I thought, how unspeakably sad and ironic that it took such a devastating event to bring prayer back into our classrooms, if only for five minutes.

We all need the hope and solace that prayer provides, especially our children who daily are exposed to unrelenting scenes of violence and crime in movies, on television and computer games.

Let's restore prayer to our classrooms, so no child will be deprived of an opportunity to know and build a relationship with his or her maker.

Marie O. Neuberger

Abingdon

Snide remarks are no way to support our president

"Support the guy. He's the only president we have" ("Bergerisms," Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 21) - so says Dan Berger, illustrating how not to show respect for a president who has demonstrated great leadership and compassion in the face of our horrendous tragedy.

Readers should be insulted by his derisive, snide put-down at a time that calls for unity in Baltimore and in our country.

Marjorie R. Moore

Williamsport

President isn't begging the world for anything

The writer of the letter "After scorning the world, Bush now begs for its help," (Sept. 23) must live in a different country than I do.

I haven't heard President Bush begging for anything from the world. The world has come to him.

Leadaine H. Hartman

Timonium

Attacks provide good reason to find energy alternatives

The dastardly and cowardly acts of Sept. 11 raised good reason for the United States to fund the development of fuel cell energy as a replacement for oil.

Given OPEC's cartel system, it is incumbent on our great country to reduce our dependence on oil.

And the Western, democratic nations need an alternative fuel.

William Bashevkin

Baltimore

Retaliation will only inspire new generations of terrorists

Terrorists have insinuated themselves into many different countries, friendly as well as unfriendly to the United States. Decentralized and autonomous, they are ready to die for what they believe in.

U.S. retaliation is just what they expect. And each person we kill will instill hate in future generations and inspire countless rabid recruits to carry on a never-ending vendetta against us.

This is the legacy we will leave our children - unless we demand our leaders seek guidance from experts in the culture of the Middle East and conflict resolution.

Agnes Merrick

Baltimore

This time, we must be resolute in crushing foes

We must ensure that President Bush does not repeat the errors his father made in Desert Storm, when, concerned about how the public would react to heavy casualties among our forces, the former president issued a cease-fire order.

Today we all have difficulty finding words to express our grief and anger, our thirst for revenge and our hunger for peace. But as a united nation we must resolve to stay the course.

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