Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 05, 2003

Containment has kept Iraq under control

President Bush responded to the recent worldwide protests against a possible war against Iraq by saying he respectfully disagrees "with those who do not view Saddam Hussein as a threat" ("Bush left unmoved by war protests," Feb. 19). That statement missed the point entirely.

Just about everyone recognizes that Mr. Hussein poses a threat to the world. The protesters were making the point that going to war is not necessarily the only or best way of countering the Iraqi threat.

For more than a decade since the end of the gulf war, the United States and our allies were comfortable with containing the Iraqi threat by operating fly-overs, no-fly zones over territories controlled by the Kurds and Shiites, embargoes and arms inspection.

Why all of a sudden are these measures now considered inadequate?

We did suffer the brutal attacks of Sept. 11. But there is no credible evidence Iraq was involved in that calamity.

Now we have a new president who appears intent on going to war. However, any such action should be deferred until it is clear that current containment measures are no longer effective, and until we are able to mobilize a global coalition to march alongside our troops.

Jack Kinstlinger

Baltimore

Skeptical nations right to urge caution

"U.S. says it's not asking U.N. to punish N. Korea," reads a Feb. 14 Sun headline. In the same edition, President Bush was reported to be urging the United Nations to show "backbone" by supporting his plan for pre-emptive attack against Iraq ("Bush implores U.N. to show backbone").

A decisive difference between the two countries is that North Korea is feared to have nuclear missiles that can hit South Korea, Japan (and both nations have a substantial U.S. military presence) and possibly the United States itself, while Iraq poses no nuclear threat as yet to its neighbors or the United States.

What distinguishes U.S. policy on Iraq and North Korea obviously is the military capabilities of each. And the lesson being taught dictators and authoritarian governments across the world is that they need a credible nuclear force, a massive military or chemical and biological capabilities that can threaten the world.

France, Germany, Russia, China and probably the majority of other nations have grave misgivings about the course President Bush is pursuing, and for good reason.

It is not a question of "backbone," it is matter of thinking through the possible consequences of what most certainly would be precipitous action.

The president needs to be thoughtful and circumspect - a statesman, not a swaggering gunslinger.

Gene Oishi

Baltimore

U.S. action in Iraq could be a just war

Many are saying making war on Iraq is immoral because it fails to meet the criteria of a "just war" ("As war looms, leaders visit the Vatican" Opinion * Commentary, Feb. 22). I tend to agree with that view, if consideration is limited to current circumstances.

However, when the issue is considered in the context of the admittedly just previous war in which Iraq's brutal conquest of a neighboring state was repulsed, it is clear that the current circumstances are but a continuation of that earlier engagement, provoked by Iraq's failure to fulfill the conditions of its surrender.

Therefore, in acting to enforce compliance with the provisions of the agreement reached at that time, the United States, its allies and, I hope, the United Nations are not declaring war so much as embarking on a police action for the safety of the world.

Such an action will be moral so long as the means used are those minimally necessary to enforce compliance.

John D. Schiavone

Kingsville

Ehrlich's nominee deserves a chance

The state Senate Executive Nominations Committee's summary rejection of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s nominee as secretary of the Department of the Environment, Lynn Y. Buhl, is troubling to this conservative conservationist ("Senate panel spurns nominee," March 4).

No, it's worse, because, in the words of former state Sen. Martin G. Madden, the committee's stated rationale was "shallow, transparent, and simply not persuasive for any fair-minded individual."

Finding a balance between development and conservation has always been a challenge.

The full Senate should give Ms. Buhl the chance to prove that this problem may be approached fairly from a background outside that of the environmental community.

Anthony Cobb

Baltimore

Park would add value to Uplands

The planned razing of the Uplands Apartments might present a "major opportunity," but not for more housing ("Redevelopment `opportunity' at Uplands," Feb. 10).

With the city's population decreasing all the time, it is time to think about how parks revitalize and add value to neighborhoods.

Having missed an opportunity to strengthen Ednor Gardens with a park where Memorial Stadium once stood, I think it might be useful to have a parks person at planning sessions for Uplands.

George E. Brown

Baltimore

Founders didn't oust God from public life

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