Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 21, 2004

Sewage tax law will be big step for a better bay

Tom Horton presents an apt message in his column on the legislation, introduced by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and passed by the Assembly, that will provide funding to reduce pollution from all major Maryland sewage treatment plants ("New law a baby step," April 16). Clearly, there is much more to be done to save the Chesapeake Bay.

It is appropriate, however, to pause, at least for a moment, and savor this sweet victory for the bay. This single piece of legislation accomplishes three huge objectives:

First, sewage treatment plants finally will be upgraded to dramatically reduce pollution.

Second, homeowners will receive assistance to install state-of-the-art pollution reduction septic systems -- an idea the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has been pushing for five years.

And third, farmers will receive millions in assistance to install cover crops, which is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce nitrogen pollution to the bay and its tributary rivers.

While every strategy to improve environmental quality can be viewed in isolation as a "baby step," this was a great start in Maryland. Now elected officials in the other bay states -- New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and Virginia -- must take similar steps.

Then, just as Mr. Horton urges, we must move even further to find solutions for other sources of pollution.

William C. Baker

Annapolis

The writer is president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Bush recognizes Mideast realities

President Bush made the correct decision to recognize pragmatic realities in the Middle East and alter a long-standing but misguided U.S. policy toward Israel and the West Bank. By acknowledging that Israel is never going to return to the so-called 1967 lines and that Israel would never consider repatriating millions of Palestinian "refugees" and thus alter the Jewish nature of the country, Mr. Bush clearly tells the Palestinians, and the Arab world, that the time for games is over, and the time for movement has come.

The Sun seems disappointed that the president has sided with Israel on this matter ("Siding with Israel," April 16). But don't we all side with our friends against the common enemy?

Israel is a staunch ally of the United States, and has guided our nation in its fight against international Islamic terrorism. The Palestinians time and again have proved that they are not interested in actual negotiations and for the most part support violence as a means to achieve their ends.

The Palestinians whine that the United States is no longer an "honest broker." In fact, Mr. Bush has simply recognized that the Palestinians are not honest negotiators.

Mark Hotz

Pikesville

Real `honest broker' must tell the truth

The editorial critical of President Bush's support of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan ("Siding with Israel," April 16) shows The Sun fails to understand what an "honest broker" is.

An honest broker is candid with the parties to a dispute rather than simply seeking a midpoint between two positions, regardless of how unreasonable or unrealistic one or the other may be. Mr. Bush is being honest and finally injecting some reality into the peace process, rather than patronizing the Palestinians with visions of sugarplums.

They need to grasp the sober truth. They cannot have a right of return, which would be demographic suicide to Israel. Everybody knows this except the Palestinians, because other national leaders tell them what they want to hear.

The Palestinians need to surrender their dream of destroying the Jewish state through a right of return, finally recognize Israel as a Jewish state and focus constructively on building their state.

Mark Davis

Owing Mills

U.S. bias for Israel doesn't boost peace

President Bush's recognition of Israeli settlements considered illegal under international law and rejection of Palestinian refugees' right to return to their homes are clear examples of how blatantly unfair U.S. policy is on the Middle East ("Arafat denounces Bush policy shift," April 16).

There will be no end to the conflict as long as the United States remains so biased in favor of Israel.

At the same time, Americans shouldn't have any question as to why so many Arabs, Muslims and people throughout the world who care about human rights and justice have such a negative opinion of our nation's leaders.

Paul Baroody

Baltimore

Spain's retreat gives terrorists a victory

The fact that the Spanish decision to pull out of Iraq ("Spanish troops are ordered out of Iraq," April 19) coincided with remembrance day, when Jews commemorate the Holocaust, again brought home how much Spanish cowardice in the face of terrorism reminds me of what happened before World War II, when the European democracies refused to stand up to Adolf Hitler and fascism until it was too late.

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