Eradicate the regimes that support terrorism before they...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 18, 2001

Eradicate the regimes that support terrorism before they destroy us

In recent weeks many public officials and pundits have stressed the importance of eradicating terrorism once and for all. However, every call for military action is usually followed by caveats: We must not kill innocent civilians. We must not anger the rest of the world by acting unilaterally. We must not overreact.

However, the risk of overreaction is minimal. Some of our allies may deem our military response excessive and cut ties with us, but that is a risk we must take.

Conversely, American under-reaction could lead to the murder of thousands of our fellow Americans in biological or nuclear attacks.

Make no mistake, nations such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria want nothing more than the wholesale destruction of Western society. These nations have the will to destroy us, but they do not have the military might - yet.

The only way to make sure they don't attain this ability is to destroy their governments, eradicate their terror organizations and install Western-style democratic governments in their place.

Nakul Krishnakumar

Slippery Rock, Pa.

Demonizing bin Laden won't lead us to peace

Thomas L. Friedman is wrong to excoriate the moderates and doves ("Answering the `Yes ... but' crowd" (Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 9). He's misguided not to care where the roots of terrorists' anger lie.

It's not that our counterstrike is unjust. It's not that "somehow America deserved" the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. But we could indeed be "responsible for [some of] the anger behind it."

Thousands die in Iraq each month, for example, because of sanctions we promote.

Rigorous self-scrutiny is always appropriate, even with our loins girded for hostilities, because the only real alternative is to demonize: to assume no earthly cause explains the terrorists' hatred for us.

History shows that demonizing an enemy in war leads to lingering resentments and future wars. It's why World War I led to Nazi Germany, World War II and the Holocaust.

Let's not demonize Osama bin Laden and his ilk.

Eric Stewart

Catonsville

Using tragedy to sell cars perverts patriotism

Does anyone else find it a little offensive that so many carmakers' and car dealers' ads are trying to imply they are being patriotic by selling you a car?

Selling a car by appealing to people's feelings of patriotism is nothing but making a buck off the terrible attacks.

Carl Aron

Baltimore

Unpatriotic column shows the enemy is also internal

At first, I thought Clarence Lusane's column "Black lawmakers should stand firm as voices of dissent" ( Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 8) was the most outrageous, treasonous, racist filth I've ever read.

After all, he speaks of "Republican wars" and the threat to civil liberties and the dangers of an all-out war - as thousands of bodies of murdered Americans are still being dug out of the ruins of the World Trade Center.

And I also faulted The Sun for giving an outlet to a writer who advocates selfishness, cowardice and disloyalty and whose seditious diatribe would give great comfort to bin Laden and his men.

But The Sun actually did its readers a great favor in printing such material. It shows, quite effectively, that whatever goes on overseas, the enemy is also within.

Drage Vukcevich

Catonsville

Limiting dissent hands a victory to terrorists I cringed when I read the letter "This just isn't the time to bash the president" (Oct. 10).

Our democracy thrives on open, nearly unfettered discourse. Thoughtful opinions can usually be found on both sides of an issue, and our social fabric is strong enough to tolerate the diversity of views.

Dissenters are generally just as patriotic as those who shun dissent.

If we censor ourselves or bash citizens who attempt to offer an alternative perspective, even one critical of our political leaders, then we are weakening our cherished right to freedom of speech and handing the terrorists an unnecessary victory.

Gary Toller

Columbia

Deregulation won't hurt state's consumers

Jay Hancock's recent column "Lapse by Md. regulators means higher electric bills" (Oct. 3) created the false impression that those charged with protecting the interests of consumers failed in that duty. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Maryland electric deregulation settlement was negotiated in a collaborative process and agreed to by regulators, consumer and business advocates and the state's electric utilities. Mindful of the deregulation experience of other states, negotiators worked until they got it right - a fair settlement plan that ensured reliable, safe and economical supply and delivery of electricity for all Marylanders.

The result? Lower, not higher, electric bills and a host of other benefits.

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