Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 29, 2004

Don't understate positive impact of the war in Iraq

By ignoring several significant positive results of the war in Iraq, Jules Witcover creates the false impression that our military victory has achieved little ("War scorecard shows anniversary is nothing to celebrate," Opinion * Commentary, March 22). His one-sided column does a disservice to readers and denigrates the men and women who have risked and given their lives in Iraq.

Four outcomes of the war that Mr. Witcover is either not aware of or chooses to ignore are the following:

The removal of Saddam Hussein ended his regime's financial support for terrorists. Mr. Hussein had paid the families of Palestinian suicide bombers for terrorist attacks.

Mr. Hussein's removal also ended one of the worst man-made ecological disasters in the world: the draining of the marshes of southern Iraq.

The quick military victory and removal of Mr. Hussein from power must be considered a factor in Libyan leader Col. Muammar el Kadafi's decision to negotiate an end to Libya's weapons of mass destruction program. This, in turn, helped reveal Pakistan's involvement in the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The removal of Mr. Hussein allowed the United States to pull its forces out of Saudi Arabia. These forces had been assigned, since the end of the first Persian Gulf war, with the enforcement of the southern no-fly zone and containment of Iraq -- a mission that put our pilots at risk and cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars over the 12 years it was carried out.

The withdrawal of these forces is important because the presence of our troops in the country where the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina are located was one of Osama bin Laden's stated reasons for attacking us on Sept. 11, 2001.

William W. Sheldon

Baltimore

Iraq war sustains security, freedom

Jules Witcover's column "War scorecard shows anniversary is nothing to celebrate" (Opinion * Commentary, March 22) couldn't be more wrong.

Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. He was defeated in 1991. And as part of a cease-fire agreement that allowed Mr. Hussein to stay in power, he agreed to inspections to eliminate any Iraqi program to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Hussein then violated many U.N. resolutions demanding his compliance. The last resolution in 2002 threatened "serious consequences" if he failed to comply again. And guess what: He failed to comply once again.

Like Germany before World War II, Mr. Hussein stuck his nose out to the world community. And unlike Neville Chamberlain, who bowed to Hitler's demands promising "peace in our time," President Bush responded like a true leader -- implementing the "serious consequences" promised for Mr. Hussein's defiance.

Mr. Hussein has been removed from power and Iraq is free. And this war has given the United States a new ally in the Middle East in addition to Israel and means there is one less country to which terrorists can turn for aid.

David Pinder

Baltimore

Clarke's apology comes much too late

Former counterterrorism official Richard A. Clarke is asking for the American public's "understanding" ("More blunt than bureaucratic," March 25)?

What the country would like to understand is why Mr. Clarke did not voice his concerns earlier, when perhaps al-Qaida's hideous acts might have been averted.

Like former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara's belated mea culpa, Mr. Clarke's apology is of little consolation to thousands of American families.

Edward Q. Liu

Reisterstown

Bush's multitasking hurts environment

While waging a protracted war in Iraq and defending itself against the allegations by former counterterrorism chief Richard A. Clarke, the Bush White House still found time to weaken controls on poisonous mercury in our environment ("White House favors delay in mercury-cleanup goal," March 23).

Who says President Bush can't do several things at once?

Mac Nachlas

Baltimore

Thomas regurgitates ad hominem attacks

Shame on The Sun for wasting space on Cal Thomas' column "If Clarke wants to cast blame, he should look in mirror" (Opinion * Commentary, March 24).

If the best Mr. Thomas can do is regurgitate character assassination from an anonymous administration spokesman, when dozens of officials all over Washington were saying the same thing, for the record, perhaps he should seek a new line of work.

Furthermore, his suggestion that President Bush is blameless for the events of Sept. 11, 2001, is laughable. And Harry Truman is spinning in his grave.

Howard Smith

Jessup

Judgmental attack on city's parents

Few suburbanites comprehend the added challenges of parenting in stressed neighborhoods in Baltimore ("Baltimore parents must hold schools accountable," Opinion * Commentary, March 22).

But as a home care registered nurse for the past decade, I have had the privilege of being allowed into homes throughout the city. I have also worked with parents raising children in the city and volunteered in a West Baltimore elementary school.

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