Aiding world's poor can be a powerful way to combat...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 16, 2001

Aiding world's poor can be a powerful way to combat terrorism

John S. Schoeberlien sums up our problem in Afghanistan when he says that after the end of the Soviet invasion the West failed "to come forward and help rebuild the country" ("Today's friend may be tomorrow's foe," Oct. 7). Our walking away after helping defeat the Soviets allowed the Taliban thugs and their al-Qaida allies to take over a ruined country and gave them a base for terrorist operations.

But this "walking away" has not been confined to Afghanistan. Since 1970 we have been reducing our economic and humanitarian assistance to the entire developing world. So how do we look to the poor and desperate people of the world? Undoubtedly, as rich, arrogant, unfriendly, antagonistic and unsympathetic.

Thus we have inadvertently helped to create the breeding grounds for terrorist recruitment, particularly among the millions of despondent, unemployed young men in these countries.

Our president has said he is "not into nation-building." That is a drastic mistake. But he and his advisors might be changing this viewpoint, now that $320 million in humanitarian aid is to be given to the Afghan people.

Let's hope that we can also reinstate our aid programs to other needy nations and help dry up the breeding swamps of terrorism.

Aid should be a vital part of our strategy against terrorism. The carrot might be more effective in the long run than the stick.

Robert E. MacDonald

Ruxton

How can Syria serve on U.N. Security Council?

Syria has just been voted onto the United Nations Security Council ("Syria wins 2-year seat on Security Council," Oct. 9). The world knows Syria harbors, encourages, trains and finances terrorists. It is on our list as a terrorist country.

I am a college graduate. I am a successful businessman. I am well-read.

Please have someone explain this lunacy to me.

Lewis Ruttenberg

Baltimore

Dissent is basic to our freedom

The stories about intolerance directed at people who do not agree with the United States' bombing of Afghanistan and the waging of war are disturbing.

Remember, the United States was born of dissent; the law of the land was conceptualized by radicals. Those of us who cannot tolerate dissent, or a different point of view, should try living where there is no Bill of Rights - say, Afghanistan.

Barbara McCord

Annapolis

Maher has right to speak, but his remarks were foolish

I agree with those who say that Bill Maher has the right under our Constitution to say anything he wants as a citizen of the United States ("Censorship may be greater danger," letters, Oct. 6). However, the same Constitution gives the rest of us the right to criticize Mr. Maher's remarks.

We can say that they were ill-timed and unpatriotic at a time when the United States needs to show a united front to our enemies; insensitive to the victims; and give aid and comfort to our enemies.

Mr. Maher's remarks were truly "politically incorrect" - they made the terrorists appear like heroes, and us cowards.

Leona Trotter

Baltimore

Voters are disgusted by partisan bickering

Today, I'm neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I'm an American. A disgusted American.

Just a few weeks ago, this nation stood united as never since the close of World War II. Then the first test of that unity came, and we failed miserably. The test? Critical measures before our representatives on Capitol Hill, the same representatives who stood as one behind our president when he declared war on terrorism.

Now all of those measures - the terrorism bill, the defense budget, the economic stimulus - are bogged down, mired in pork-barreling and partisan bickering from both sides of the aisle.

Shame on them all. If they can't put aside their agendas for the greater good of America, perhaps they should remember that the voters are watching, too, and not liking what they see.

Dale Karraker

Boonsboro

Limbaugh's deafness is no joking matter

As someone with several close relatives with hearing impairments, I am deeply offended by The Sun publishing Mike Lane's editorial cartoon lampooning Rush Limbaugh's announced deafness (Oct. 10).

Aren't public figures' disabilities off-limits for satire? Are we next to see cartoons satirizing Stevie Wonder's blindness, Ronald Reagan's Alzheimer's disease or Christopher Reeve's paralysis?

Don Dietrick

Towson

While I, like most conservatives, acknowledge that The Sun, like most of the media, tends to lean to the left, I could not believe my eyes when I opened to page 16A on Oct. 10.

The editorial cartoon was in such extremely poor taste. I was truly disgusted The Sun would stoop so low as to poke fun at the physical ailment of a well-known, albeit conservative, radio commentator, simply because his views are so averse to those held by The Sun.

What lesson do we teach our children when there, on your pages, in black and white, is so obvious a jab at a physical shortcoming - a handicap, in fact - of someone disliked by many at The Sun?

Melissa M. Tillman

Towson

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