Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 30, 2004

Time has come for the director of HERO to go

As a former board member of the Health Education Resource Organization and as someone who has participated in numerous fund raisers and walked in countless AIDS walks to ensure HERO's financial viability, I read of the recent scandal with great interest ("HERO director denies allegations of misusing funds," March 25).

And while I am grateful for Dr. Leonardo R. Ortega's aggressive leadership, which helped pull HERO back from the brink in the past, I have sadly concluded that it is time for him to go.

The very idea that the CEO of a nonprofit organization that is both under a hiring freeze and being forced to reassess employee health benefits would avail himself of monthly "bonuses" and a company-paid personal fitness trainer is absurd.

In my view, if HERO has the resources to employ a personal fitness trainer, that trainer should be working with its HIV-positive clients and restoring them to health.

If Dr. Ortega has become so far removed from the lives of his clients that such arrangements feel even remotely OK to him, then I respectfully submit that it is time for him to move on.

Mark Jason McLaurin

New York

The writer is associate director for prevention policy at Gay Men's Health Crisis.

What does Rice continue to hide?

Richard A. Clarke's testimony was incredibly eloquent and forthcoming. In contrast, the White House launched its attack dogs against this man who served on the staffs of two Republican presidents and one Democratic president.

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice first refused to come back to the commission to rebut Mr. Clarke's statements, then appeared on news shows saying Mr. Clarke was out of the loop and didn't know what he was talking about ("Terrorism was among top priorities, Rice says," March 26). But Mr. Clarke was the head of counterterrorism. He was the loop.

What is wrong with this picture? What is Ms. Rice hiding?

Cynthia Barracca

Hanover

Sen. Frist attacks the wrong target

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist doesn't appreciate what former counterterrorism adviser Richard A. Clarke has been saying about his president, so Dr. Frist is seeking to declassify Mr. Clarke's July 2002 testimony before closed meetings of the intelligence committees of both the House and Senate regarding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks ("Testimony by Clarke challenged," March 27).

In addition to being the Senate's top dog, Dr. Frist is also a renowned heart and lung surgeon. I certainly hope the good doctor has his malpractice insurance paid up. For in his zeal to uncover the truth, Dr. Frist is about to perform radical surgery on someone who seems perfectly healthy (Mr. Clarke) while allowing the real patient to go untouched (President Bush). Perhaps this calls for a second opinion.

Doug Martin

Middletown

Empty threats led to terrorist attacks

I find it very interesting that no panels were convened after the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, after the USS Cole was attacked or after the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa, all of which occurred during the previous presidential administration. The only thing I remember are a bunch of empty threats about going after the terrorists.

We now have a president with the guts to go after these guys, and suddenly he's taken to task because he didn't do enough before Sept. 11, 2001 ("Threat `not urgent' to Bush staff," March 25).

I can't help but wonder if the horrors of Sept. 11 would have even happened if our former president and his administration had acted on their threats to terrorists.

D. Pazourek

Sparks

Bush's critic finally connects the dots

I think the dots have finally been connected - by former counterterrorism official Richard A. Clarke, when he said, "By invading Iraq the president of the United States has greatly undermined the war on terrorism" ("Bush critic takes center stage," March 25).

Robert E. MacDonald

Ruxton

War's aim achieved - just not in Iraq

How can Steve Chapman characterize President Bush's decision to attack Iraq as a "mistake" ("President Bush's big mistakes in the war on terrorism," Opinion * Commentary March 26)?

The ostensible reason for the attack was to stop a rogue nation with possible connections to al-Qaida from developing its program for weapons of mass destruction, and that's exactly what we accomplished.

Libya is no longer a threat.

Dave Reich

Perry Hall

Yassin was a hero only to terrorists

Although reasonable minds may differ regarding the legality and ethics of the assassination of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, he is in no respect a "hero" as The Sun's headline "Yassin: terrorist or hero?" (March 23) intimated.

As the avowed founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheik Yassin openly advocated the mass murder of innocents.

Acknowledging him as a hero is like acknowledging that the terrorists who piloted the planes into the twin towers were heroes - albeit only to members of al-Qaida.

Deborah Hamburger

Baltimore

Stereotypes slander Italian-Americans

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