Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 25, 2003

Defeat Hussein before he poses a greater threat

The Sun's editorial "Reaching and grasping" (Feb. 16) said, "It looks like [Secretary of State Colin L.] Powell is floundering, anxiously casting about for some justification for an American attack. Is it any wonder the French are saying non?"

The Sun and the French couldn't be more wrong.

The fact that Saddam Hussein's brutal regime supports international terrorism is beyond dispute. And the fact that he possesses at least the rudimentary elements of an offensive nuclear program is also verifiable from the inspections in the late 1990s, which he demanded be stopped.

And here's the point The Sun and its Gallic friends seem to miss: We must stop Mr. Hussein's sponsorship of terrorism before he possesses nuclear capabilities.

We don't need Iraq threatening Tel Aviv and Istanbul in 12 to 24 months in addition to training and financially backing future Islamic terrorists' worldwide attacks.

Thomas M. Neale

Baltimore

What does The Sun mean when it states, "It's not at all clear that a unilateral American attack would be the best answer to Iraqi intransigence" ("Reaching and grasping," Feb. 16)? Does The Sun consider assembling a coalition supported by more than 30 nations to be acting unilaterally?

Did The Sun hear Spain's U.N. delegate berating the German position, politely reminding Germany of the last time the world stood by and allowed a dictator to systematically crush his neighbors? (Hint: It was in the 1930s).

Many Americans understand that the French position is based on a decade of illegal trading with Iraq, and the French fear of what would be uncovered should the Americans dispatch Mr. Hussein and set up a new government.

The future is lost to the French, and the past still haunts the Germans. Their positions are based upon their own fears, not moral clarity.

Michael DeCicco

Severn

Standing for peace shows real backbone

Why does President Bush often rely on humiliation in building a case for immediate military action against Iraq ("Bush implores U.N. to show `backbone,'" Feb. 14)?

The United Nations may not be as effective as we would like it to be, but the refusal on our part to accord member states the same respect we demand does little to encourage support of our objectives. And are other sovereign states less than equal to us in their commitment to peace if they disagree with our demands?

Even if Saddam Hussein has been in material breach of U.N. resolutions since the early 1990s, are other sovereign states less responsible than we are because they choose to deliberate longer?

It seems to me that by being deliberate, the United Nations is showing backbone and living up to its responsibilities as an international peacemaker.

Mary Carter-Williams

Takoma Park

President Bush implores the United Nations to show "backbone." I agree absolutely, but differ about how it should show backbone.

Mr. Bush wants the United Nations to show backbone by acquiescing to his demand for war. I would like it to show backbone by showing respect for the majority of its members, who have stated that they do not want war.

Doris Rausch

Ellicott City

Aggressive rhetoric alienates the world

So President Bush thinks those who protest against his obsessive drive toward war with Iraq may become "irrelevant" ("U.N., NATO raise roadblocks for Bush," Feb. 16). The administration has also called our one-time allies "Old Europe," which means they are probably irrelevant, too.

Such comments will not improve the safety of the world or of America. Rather, this macho, go-it-alone aggressive bravado will have consequences far beyond anyone's worst scenario. Whatever goodwill the United States had after Sept. 11 has been trashed by the Bush administration.

Corinne F. Hammett

Parkville

Ehrlich's nominee won't protect Earth

The headline says it all: "Environment loses with Ehrlich" (Feb. 7). The idea of a better "balance" between the environment and business concerns is absurd. The environment needs protecting, and Lynn Y. Buhl, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s nominee to be secretary of the state's Department of the Environment, appears to be a threat to it.

And Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's suggestion to those of us who care about improving the environment to "stop the whining" was inappropriate and insulting.

Susan B. Nestler

Towson

Crying `snow' leaves educators adrift

Education leaders, of all people, should remember the story of the little boy who cried "wolf" once too often when bemoaning how they've run out of "snow days" ("Local schools struggle with lost class time due to storm," Feb. 18).

The reflexive closing of schools whenever there is a wisp of snow in the air has real consequences -- usually not for administrators but for parents and grandparents forced to scramble. And now that we have had a real storm, not a dusting or threat of snow, these leaders have seen that their precipitous actions come back to haunt them.

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