Letters To The Editor


March 12, 2003

Dismantling our freedoms isn't patriotic

In the daily news one finds a constant stream of irony. Just look at the columns "The folly of `do it yourself' national security" (Opinion Commentary, Feb. 21) and "Patriot Act sequel worse than the first" (Opinion Commentary, Feb. 21).

I have been called un-American and a communist for opposing the administration's plans for an unnecessary, pre-emptive war on Iraq. Yet the word "patriot" is reserved for an act of Congress that gives in to terror by taking away constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, which our sons and daughters are now asked to defend.

How is it that exercising freedom has now become un-American and dismantling civil liberties is patriotic?

My father is a Vietnam War veteran and my grandfather fought for this nation at the Battle of the Bulge. I am a patriotic American. I love my freedom and the people who defend it. I also understand the cost of war. And it disgusts me to see some of our best people sent to fight a war that cannot make Americans safer at home or abroad.

In fact, just the threat of war is making us less secure by alienating our allies, invigorating our enemies and diverting precious resources from local emergency responders.

I have contempt for terrorists and tyrants. But when I hear the words "regime change," I think first of President Bush and his administration.

Vincent Rogalski


Fear threatens our way of life

Thank you for the editorial "Exceeding expectations" (Feb. 21) as well as Rajeev Goyle's column "Patriot Act sequel worse than first" (Opinion Commentary, Feb. 21) on the Patriot Act II. They exposed what I have come to believe, a la Franklin Roosevelt, is the greatest threat to the United States - our fear.

Our history is replete with examples in which fear has compelled us to do, frankly, dumb things.

And this current trend is perhaps the dumbest of all: While we jealously guard "the American way" we are surrendering our way of life, and especially our vaunted liberties, piece by piece.

Kirk L. Hurley


Confront evil to save Iraqi lives

Charlie Clements described a heart-wrenching view of the impoverished conditions he witnessed in Iraq ("A disaster in the making," Opinion Commentary, March 7). He concluded that war would further decimate the population. Such deterioration leads me to question what kind of leader would allow his people to suffer so extensively under U.N. sanctions. Saddam Hussein could have chosen a decade ago to submit to U.N. demands to disarm, and those trade sanctions would have been lifted. His people are educated, and are sitting on a huge oil reserve, yet they live in poverty due to the selfish ambitions of their dictator.

We all want diplomacy to work. When it doesn't, we must decide whether to leave the Iraqi people to continue to suffer under the U.N. policy of open-ended diplomacy, or to decisively confront the evil that threatens so many lives.

Belinda Robinson


Of course our troops will face attack

"Troops facing risk of terror" (March 9)! I did a double take when I read this headline on the front page of The Sun. I thought for a second it must be satire. It gets more farcical, however: "Attacks are being planned against U.S., allied forces once in Iraq, CIA warns."

In the words of my teen-age daughter, "Well, duh! Isn't that why they call it war?"

Has the American public become so dimwitted that we are supposed to be shocked and surprised by the fact that enemy forces would actually shoot at us if we attack?

Jack Lattimore


Narcan just one part of addiction program

By focusing on the distribution of the opiate blocker Narcan, two recent pieces in The Sun did not reflect the full scope of the Baltimore City Health Department's "Staying Alive" program to prevent heroin overdoses ("City program to give addicts overdose medication," March 3, and "Distributing `miracle drug' for heroin questioned," March 10).

"Staying Alive" trains heroin-addicted individuals to recognize the symptoms of overdose, call 911 without fear of arrest, initiate mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if necessary, and, finally, provide an injection of Narcan, a safe and highly effective heroin antidote.

The program is not an alternative to treatment, but rather an attempt to keep drug users alive so treatment can be provided. Heroin has claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Baltimore residents over the past four years. As most drug overdoses are witnessed by other drug users, these simple first-aid measures, easily taught, will save countless lives.

The Open Society Institute-Baltimore has funded the city Health Department to work with rescue workers and local health experts to launch and evaluate the "Staying Alive" program, which is based on a highly successful model from Chicago. These experts strongly believe the program is safe and urgently needed in Baltimore. Based on their recommendations, OSI provided the city a grant of $240,000 over two years to support this lifesaving program.

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