Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 19, 2002

Charen's attack on NEA ignores critical facts

Mona Charen's column "Liberals' lies leave our kids confused"(Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 2) leaves me confused about her unjustified criticism of the National Education Association's (NEA) guidance to teachers about the anniversary of Sept. 11.

Although it's true, as Ms. Charen says, "that all of the individuals who attacked this country on Sept. 11 were Arabs," it is also true that our president sees fit to invite the Saudi hierarchy to his ranch.

As a substitute teacher in the Baltimore County school system, I submit that the NEA is correct in its approach of soft-pedaling the Arab-Muslim involvement in terrorism both here and abroad.

Considering the melting pot student body from varied cultural backgrounds we have in Baltimore County, and that the student body as a whole are not avid readers of newspapers or watchers of TV news, a misinterpretation of what a teacher might say could culminate in hatred toward groups within the school.

The NEA might not aspire to flag-waving and patriotic slogan-shouting to a degree that satisfies Ms. Charen. But, ultimately, its philosophy of teaching tolerance and understanding better serves humanity in our American melting pot than does Ms. Charen's critique of the NEA.

Sy Steinberg

Baltimore

As a teacher, I was incensed that a person as educated as Mona Charen would attempt to vilify public education and blatantly misrepresent the facts under a smokescreen of patriotic righteousness.

Ms. Charen was reacting to suggestions from the National Education Association on how teachers should handle the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Ms. Charen is correct when she says the NEA has "suggestions to guide teachers." But the facts start to get fuzzy when she states, "The NEA also tells teachers to say ... " and when she mentions "students tutored by the NEA."

Let's get the facts straight: Students are not tutored by the NEA, they are taught by their teachers. And teachers are not puppets of the NEA.

Often, what directs our instruction are curriculum guides, which the NEA has no part in writing. If Ms. Charen took the time to look at any current U.S. history or U.S. government curriculum guides, she would find that they are fairly patriotic.

Daniel Poling

Baltimore

The writer teaches history and government at Western High School.

Kids need to know truth about terror

I read Mona Charen's column about the National Education Association and, to say the least, the NEA's liberal position is totally inconsistent with the way Americans think ("Liberals' lies leave our kids confused," Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 2).

The NEA wants to teach our children lies in the name of fairness. American children should know the truth about who the terrorists are and the governments that support them.

Albert M. Harris

Pikesville

Pick up olive branch Iraq has offered

I am sure the world felt encouraged when Saddam Hussein's regime announced that it would allow the unconditional resumption of weapons inspections ("Iraq agrees to return of inspectors," Sept. 17).

But I awoke the next morning to the sight of President Bush vehemently stating, "It is a tactic that will fail."

How could he react like this when every avenue toward peace must be explored?

Mr. Bush's rhetoric of superiority is becoming increasingly embarrassing and certainly does not make other nations feel comfortable with U.S. power.

The United States is one nation among many. It can show its power in its ability to influence, reconcile and help by cooperating with other nations under the tenets and spirit of the United Nations.

Marjorie L. Sutton

Severna Park

Iraq offers poisons to world's terrorists

The immediate issue is not whether Iraq has nuclear material and the capability to deliver it, but rather the vast quantity of chemical and biological material that it may make available to terrorists and miscreants worldwide.

This "supermarket to the world" needs to be closed forever.

Steve Miller

Baltimore

Only Congress can declare war

Before reading Jules Witcover's column, "A reality check on Iraq" (Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 9), I was unaware that Bush administration lawyers were making the absurd claim that the president's constitutional designation as commander in chief of the armed forces somehow gives him the power to declare war, a power that the Constitution gives explicitly to the Congress.

Congress declares war, and the president makes war - in that order.

Jeffrey D. Mueller

Eldersburg

Blaming the victims for Sept. 11 terror

Why does The Sun continue to run articles such as Gregory Kane's Sept. 11 column "A day to realize that no one has a monopoly on terrorism" and the lead editorial of the same edition ("Taking stock"), both of which try to mitigate what happened one year ago by listing our nation's faults?

Blaming the victim for a crime is always unseemly, especially on the anniversary of such a horrific crime.

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