Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 20, 2003

Emphasizing bad news hurts progress in Iraq

The Sun's editorial "The good news" (Oct. 15) makes the valid point that the media tend to pay attention to the negative aspects of any situation. The editorial goes on to compare the situation in Iraq to the coverage of Baltimore, where murders get more attention than "planting new flowerbeds along Pratt Street." But there are at least two problems with this analogy.

The first is that, while most of The Sun's readers can visit Baltimore and see what it's like for themselves, very few of us have the ability to travel to Baghdad.

Therefore, we are totally dependent on the media to know what's happening in Iraq. So when The Sun endlessly harps on the bad things that happen in Iraq and scarcely utters a word of the good, readers get a very skewed picture.

Second, in Iraq The Sun fixates on the number of deaths, going so far as to suggest that "none of the rest of it matters."

But is this really the yardstick by which progress should be measured? More than 200 citizens of Baltimore have been murdered this year, yet I rarely hear Mayor Martin O'Malley's governing of the city called a failure -- as the operation in Iraq is daily characterized by those on the left.

If The Sun is going to report on Iraq, it needs to give its readers both the good and the bad, not just what fits the ideology of its editors.

Chris DeAdder

Severn

All nations must join the war on terror

The murder of three Americans in Gaza by Palestinian terrorists is as senseless as the terrorist bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad a few weeks ago ("Bomb strikes diplomatic convoy, killing 3 Americans in Gaza Strip," Oct. 16).

By these horrible acts, the terrorists have only succeeded in creating outrage that will bring on them the wrath of the United States and the United Nations.

The deaths of innocent UN workers and the deaths of these three Americans on a humanitarian mission show how the war on terror is a world-wide war. The free nations of the world must work together to put a stop to terrorism, no matter where it resides.

Murray Spear

Baltimore

In Iraq, the ends don't justify means

No number of speeches by the Bush administration will alter the fact that the invasion of Iraq was a premeditated invasion of a sovereign country.

The ends do not justify the means, whether or not they are achieved.

For the sake of the hearts, arms, legs, eyes and minds of our brave men and women in uniform, as well as of those of the Iraqis, and for a terror-free peace in the world, the American people should immediately withdraw their support of the Bush administration -- and replace it with one that can return our country to a path of honorable and respected leadership among nations.

Jonathan A. French

Ellicott City

School lottery often parents' only hope

Baltimore is not lacking in the number of parents who want a quality education for their children ("A bold experiment in education," Oct. 14).

The New Freedom Academy received close to 600 applications for 105 openings. Selection needed to be made by random lottery. Midtown Academy resorts to a lottery system to manage enrollment.

And Baltimore's only school choice program, Children's Scholarship Fund Baltimore, used a random lottery to narrow down 20,000 applicants for 400 available scholarships to private or parochial schools.

Baltimore parents have shown that they want something better for the education of their children.

Unfortunately, it appears that they have no way to get it other than winning a lottery.

Paul Ellis

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Children's Scholarship Fund.

Everyone's entitled to breathe clean air

Congratulations to Montgomery County for seeing the light and eliminating smoking in bars and restaurants ("Smoking ban is a draw and a drag," Oct. 13). Everyone is entitled to breathe without endangering his or her life.

Studies have shown that in communities where smoking bans have been enacted, business actually increases. Perhaps it's because the patrons live longer.

Let's hope that other Maryland jurisdictions follow suit.

Sig Seidenman

Owings Mills

A healthy economy for a healthy planet

I agree with Dr. Cindy Parker and Mike Tidwell that it is possible to alter American consumption and lifestyle habits to minimize global climate change ("We can do something about fierce weather," Oct. 12).

However, given our consumption-based capitalist economy and the anti-environmental leanings of the Bush administration, it seems extremely unlikely that significant numbers of Americans will make the necessary lifestyle changes -- which include driving more efficient cars, relying more on public transportation and renewable energy sources, adopting shorter commutes and living in smaller houses -- until they are forced to do so.

The lifestyle changes could be forced by government decree, by more environmentally friendly taxation patterns or by an economic catastrophe such as the Great Depression.

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