Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 20, 2003

Public is right to be wary of rush to war

Just about every day for weeks, The Sun has run articles on the military's preparations for war in Iraq. Yet a story about a poll on Americans' opinions of this war was buried on Page 4 ("Americans in poll wary of new tax cuts, Iraq war," Dec. 31).

According to this poll, two-thirds of Americans fear the war will increase the chances of terrorism in the United States. Since the justification for this war is to make Americans safer, why wasn't this poll front-page news?

During my 20 years in public relations and marketing, I have never seen a disinformation campaign to rival the one now spewed by the Bush administration.

Fortunately, as this poll shows, the American people seem to have a lot more common sense than our president. And I implore The Sun to do more to balance Mr. Bush's war propaganda with alternative perspectives.

If we proceed with this war, it is just about guaranteed to have a devastating impact - not only on the Iraqi people, but also on the young Americans who will be called to fight this war, on military families and everyone else whose quality of life will be diminished as budgets for every domestic program are slashed to pay for our obscene "defense" budget.

We can't afford to spend billions on an unnecessary war that will cause the deaths of countless innocent people - both Iraqis and Americans - and put us in greater danger of a terrorist attack.

We need that money to improve our schools, strengthen our health care system, clean up our environment, shore up Social Security and unemployment benefits and provide help to people in need.

Eileen Gillan

Baltimore

War will be waged for wrong reasons

Thomas Friedman says he has "no problem with a war for oil - provided that it is to fuel the first progressive Arab regime ... and provided we behave in a way that makes clear to the world we are protecting everyone's access to oil at reasonable prices - not simply our right to binge on it" ("War over oil isn't immoral if done right," Opinion

Commentary, Jan. 7),

My question is: Have we any evidence that Americans and their government can fulfill those stipulations?

I'd say that events in Afghanistan suggest we do not. I'd say our meddling in relations among the Middle East oil producers suggests we will not suddenly start supporting "progressive" regimes rather than the repressive ones we have historically sustained.

I'd say we will go to war in Iraq for only the worst possible motives and goals. I'd say there's good evidence to suggest that we would be little better than Saddam Hussein as stewards of Middle East oil.

That's why some of us are working very hard to stop our rush to war.

Peter D. Molan

Baltimore

The Hummer is a bummer

Kudos to Michael Hill for "The U.S. and the Hummer - 2 of a kind" (Dec. 29). As a staunch opponent of SUVs, it really stirred my fire.

I find it not only ironic but pathetic that the Hummer is attracting buyers in droves while America is poised for war with Iraq. Buyers of that vehicle and of our ever-popular SUVs are doing nothing but funding Saddam Hussein's war machine and imperiling millions of people.

The blatant indifference of our government and citizens in placing our armed forces in harm's way to satisfy our insatiable thirst for oil is reprehensible.

The Hummer should be renamed the Bummer and prohibited from being manufactured. What's next - maybe a civilian tank?

Ronald M. Steams

Bel Air

Give death penalty to all murderers

Words can be interpreted differently by different people. Surveys can also have different results depending upon who interprets them. But I strongly believe that, in cases where a person has been found guilty of first-degree, premeditated murder, the sentence throughout our state should be the death penalty. No more than one year should be allowed for appeals ("Racial bias study may play role in death-row appeals," Jan. 9).

No consideration should be given to the accused's race, color or religion.

The family of the victim is entitled to see justice done. And citizens are entitled to get some peace from the knowledge that the sentence cannot be adjusted by a judge or jury and the prisoner released in the future, perhaps to attack another person.

Donald Sussman

Owings Mills

CCBC has handled change effectively

I say kudos to the board of the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) for supporting visionary efforts and to Chancellor Irving P. McPhail on doing a very difficult job well ("Guiding a college's transition," Dec. 29).

It was this visionary leadership and strong learning-centered approaches that attracted me to the CCBC system. CCBC is a dynamic environment, for sure, but one where you can take risks for the sake of improving student learning. And our students have benefited from the college taking such risks.

Being a part of transformation and change often requires an institution to reinvent itself, and that has been the case with CCBC. Thus it is important to recognize and reward those who lead well.

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