Senators who fret about war on terror are playing...


March 10, 2002

Senators who fret about war on terror are playing politics

In the months since the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush and his Cabinet secretaries have repeatedly stated that we will do whatever it takes and go wherever necessary to ensure such attacks never take place again.

I was therefore bewildered after reading Jules Witcover's column regarding senators Robert C. Byrd, Tom Daschle and Kent Conrad ("Democrats ask tough questions about war," Opinion Commentary, March 4).

Mr. Witcover states, "Grumbling is finally being heard about the president's expansion of objectives of capturing or killing bin Laden and his al-Qaida network to broader goals." The column's whole premise is that the president's objectives are "expanding" from a very narrow focus to an all-encompassing global assault.

I'm not sure what vacuum Mr. Witcover and the senators have been in for the last six months, but the president made it clear to me that his objective is making sure that these barbarians are dealt with once and for all, and that this war will be worldwide in scope.

The senators' caterwauling about exit strategies and expense is laughable in light of their silence about our open-ended babysitting mission in the former Yugoslavia. And can you imagine the Republicans questioning President Roosevelt about exit strategies after Pearl Harbor?

I think most Americans see this situation for precisely what it is: three senators playing the worst form of partisan politics because they are concerned about a president who has the overwhelming support of the American people and are afraid of what that might translate to in the fall elections.

Michael Bagliani


Finish work in Afghanistan before opening new fronts

The Sun's editorial "The battle is joined" (March 5) was thought-provoking and very well reasoned. Perhaps the most compelling line concerned the current administration "in consultation with no one" finding new fronts around the world to expand the fight. This is scary stuff.

As the editorial suggested, we need to finish the work in Afghanistan, which will involve horror enough, before taking on military commitments elsewhere.

Velva Grebe


If others don't get a raise, why should state lawmakers?

The article "Assembly is poised to accept pay raise" (March 6) missed a crucial point. Forget the arguments about whether the senators and delegates are full-time or part-time employees. Forget that they have not had a pay raise in such a long time. The only question is: Would any of them quit if they did not get this automatic 38 percent increase?

I do not think any of them would give up their very powerful positions or the fringe benefits that go with the job. There are just too many benefits to the office that make up for a pay raise or the lack of one.

And why should the legislators get richer when denying state employees and judges similar benefits?

I firmly believe they should get the same percentage raises as all other state employees and should actually have to vote for them, even in an election year.

Jerry Todd


Put those who can't vote in charge of redistricting

I'm a registered Independent and I offer a novel proposal: Rather than have the party in power (which in Maryland seems always to be the Democrats) plan the redistricting, why not assign the task to convicted felons (who have surrendered their right to vote).

This would at least lend an air of credibility to the result.

David H. Madden


Saudi plan would leave Israel very vulnerable

The world should not be fooled by the Saudi peace plan ("Saudi peace plan draws doubts from Arabs, Israelis," March 4).

The pre-1967 Israeli border that it would recognize would cut so deeply into Israel that it would leave only an 8-mile stretch of land between its border and the Mediterranean Sea at Israel's narrowest point. It would not take much to launch an attack at that point and cut Israel in half.

The line also would cut Jerusalem in half and put the Western (Wailing) Wall into Arab hands again. The world needs to be reminded how Jordan destroyed Jewish synagogues, cemeteries and other holy places when it controlled that area between 1948 and 1967.

Given the state of affairs today, the Saudi plan guarantees the easy destruction of Israel, not peace.

Zev Griner


Church needs to examine its leadership, not gay priests

Instead of screening for gays ("Priesthood reforms necessary to stop pedophile scandals," March 3), maybe Vatican officials should screen for people who would send known child molesters to unsuspecting parishes, again and again.

Mark L. Szczybor


Land purchase protects access to public resources

The Sun's editorial on the Bay Ridge Trust's plan to combine private funds with state funds to purchase land and prevent development missed the point ("The 100-acre wood," Feb. 27).

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