Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 28, 2004

Coffins present solemn image we need to see

How upsetting to read of our military's policy on suppressing photos of the American war dead. The argument that this protects the privacy of the family of the victims is shallow and transparent.

Flag-draped coffins do not create "attention that is unwarranted or undignified," as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense John Molino stated ("Military mortuary photos irk Pentagon," April 23). In fact, they depict a solemn image of the honor and respect the military bestows upon its dead.

These somber photos are dignified, informative and patriotic. We are not protecting their families by failing to show these images. Rather, we are protecting President Bush and the military from public criticism over seeing our fathers, sisters and sons returning home in caskets on a daily basis.

Americans are dying; the public has a right to see it, and the media have an obligation to show it.

Kathleen Lechleiter

Towson

The Department of Defense's argument that photos taken of flag-draped coffins violate the privacy of troops' families is implausible.

The photos only indicate that the American war dead are contained in the coffins.

It looks like Uncle Sam is once again flexing his censorship muscles, and to the beat of the presidential campaign drums.

Julia Dietz

Abingdon

Secrecy obsession offends democracy

It would be nice if the Pentagon would "come to its senses and relent" on the policy of suppressing photos of returning coffins from Iraq, but that is probably wishful thinking considering the level of paranoia and obsession with secrecy this administration displays on almost every matter pertaining to the people's business ("Downloaded," editorial, April 25).

Hiding the tragic consequences of this wrongheaded war in Iraq from the American people is just another reminder that President Bush and his cabal of right-wing ideologues have no respect for our democratic institutions or for the sacrifice of some 700 brave soldiers to preserve those institutions.

Mark Feehan

Washington

Using 9/11 images, hiding the war dead

It is surely the height of hypocrisy that an administration that exploited the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedies for political gain by prominently featuring footage of a flag-draped coffin of a firefighter in its re-election campaign commercials has also fought to enforce a policy that prevents the publication of photographs of the flag-draped caskets of U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq ("Bush defends ban on photos of military coffins," April 24).

Apparently, the only flag-draped coffins the public is allowed to see are those that serve the Bush-Cheney re-election effort.

David Flores

Parkville

President Bush had wished to block the viewing of photos of caskets of soldiers who died in the war in Iraq; his administration said that this would be an affront to the families of the victims.

If this is truly the president's motivation, why has he insisted on using horrific scenes from Sept. 11, 2001, in his campaign ads? Are these images any less troubling?

Kermit Cummings

White Marsh

Firefighters' dispute is a waste of time

It seems to me that Baltimore is never going to solve its problems if it can focus only on insignificant matters such as an all-white class of Fire Department recruits.

As Gregory Kane, the only voice of sanity at The Sun anymore, pointed out, if your house is on fire, who cares what color firefighter shows up ("A look at fire test's fairness should douse this dispute," April 21)?

A better use of Mayor Martin O'Malley's time would be trying to get a handle on the crime-ridden and drug infested neighborhoods of Baltimore, instead of making much ado about nothing.

D. Keith Henderson

Perry Hall

Put price controls on prescriptions

Once again Congress is playing politics and ignoring the real issue ("Drug imports gain support in Congress," April 22).

Congress is skirting the real problem with drug prices in this country by discussing the importation of drugs from Canada and other industrialized countries.

The real solution is for this country to follow the lead of Canada and other countries and place price controls on the drug companies that would force them to stop gouging the American people and making obscene profits from America.

Richard Fox

Westminster

Alter SUVs to make our roadways safer

The editorial "Cars vs. SUVs" (April 21) explains that when large SUVs with high bumpers hit normal-sized cars, the cars' passengers are at risk. Inexplicably, The Sun opines "the obvious solution is for every car to have a side-curtain airbag."

That's like saying the "obvious" solution to the danger of secondhand smoke is for nonsmokers to wear gas masks.

Airbags are a good idea, but why does the editorial blame the victim?

SUVs are to blame, so SUV-makers should bear the responsibility for solving the problem. If SUVs had to follow the same rules as cars, America's roads would become much safer in a big hurry.

Frank Uy

Ellicott City

Hamas leaders talk tougher than they act

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