Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 19, 2004

Why did it take so long to scrap council accounts?

So the City Council has decided to scrap the $5,000 expense account that each council member had to use without any accounting of funds spent and, incredibly, allowed them to keep any unspent funds as personal income ("Testimony from council members in grand jury probe is postponed," May 13).

On this topic, City Council President Sheila Dixon is quoted as saying, "It was time to make sure we were being accountable and responsible."

Wow. How noble and admirable. But perhaps the real time to be accountable and responsible should have been the first day on the job, and every day thereafter, not after having this dirty secret brought out by a federal investigation.

The people of Baltimore deserve a council that will stop rubberstamping sweetheart deals for wealthy developers and corporations and attend vigorously to the real needs of our city.

At the polls this November, voters will have a chance to make a change in the composition and attitude of our municipal legislature.

Kathryn Parke

Baltimore

Powell's outrage seems misplaced

So Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is criticizing leaders of Arab countries for a lack of sufficient outrage over the savage beheading of Nicholas Berg in retaliation for the disgusting abuses at Abu Ghraib prison by U.S. personnel ("Powell faults Arab silence on beheading," May 17).

Mr. Powell would do well to note the outrage expressed by Mr. Berg's father, who was practically ignored by the media when he stated that his son "died for the sins of the Bush administration" ("The Victim," May 13).

Instead, the media repeatedly reported President Bush's electoral grandstanding statements about bringing Mr. Berg's murderers to justice.

It is the American people who should be outraged at Mr. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld for the Iraqi invasion and occupation debacle and for Mr. Powell's acquiescence in this matter.

Edward Leslie Ansel

Owings Mills

U.S. leaders waited to denounce abuse

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is upset at Arab states for not voicing outrage at the beheading of Nicholas Berg ("Powell faults Arab silence on beheading," May 17). This is understandable, as that act was abhorrent.

Mr. Powell notes that the Arabs were far quicker to condemn the abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison when that information came to light. But I wonder why Mr. Powell seems not to be equally upset about the slow reaction of the Bush administration to those abuses by American forces.

The administration knew for months that these abuses where taking place, yet we did not hear one ounce of outrage.

Perhaps Arab leaders will wait three months to voice their outrage regarding Mr. Berg's killing, just as our leaders waited months to voice theirs regarding the prisoner abuse.

Kevin Dalsimer

Baltimore

Abuse of prisoners may save U.S. lives

The Sun has joined in the condemnation of the "abuse" of Iraqis ("The intelligence question," editorial, May 12). But this alleged abuse is not as severe as my fraternity initiation. And why not humiliate prisoners, if by doing so we can extract information that could save the lives of Americans?

The whole incident has been spun out of all reason by the media, obviously sensing a political advantage.

The "bleeding heart" writers to your editorial page obviously lead a sheltered life if they see the treatment of the Iraqis as horrible.

Horrible is being beheaded by the terrorists.

Hugh Curd

Timonium

Big leap from abuse to racist lynchings

C. Fraser Smith's leap from photographs of naked Iraqi men in humiliating positions to lynching in our nation's past is a leap too far ("Echoes of past at Abu Ghraib," Opinion * Commentary, May 17).

Mr. Smith must still find Jim Crow under every rock.

James Christhilf

Glen Burnie

U.S. doesn't intend to stay in Iraq

All The Sun's comparisons between Russia's involvement in Chechnya and U.S. involvement in Iraq ("Another Chechnya?" editorial, May 11) make sense except for one important fact - Russia is trying to hold onto Chechnya and not allow its independence, while the United States, on the other hand, is trying to make Iraq independent and then get out.

Thomas W. Sullens

Baltimore

Rumsfeld's failures merit his firing

Because it is important for the world to believe we are serious about Iraqi prisoner abuse, we must press for Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld to be fired ("Rumsfeld said to OK coercive methods," May 16).

First, he failed to accurately assess the intelligence data on the Iraqis' weapons of mass destruction. Next, he failed to plan an exit strategy so that once the invasion was over we could gracefully leave the country. Instead, we are now crossing our fingers and hoping we can get out with the help of the United Nations.

Now it appears that Mr. Rumsfeld knew about the abuses in the prisons long before he told the Congress or even the president.

If I had failed at my job in so many ways, over so many years, no one would keep me as an employee.

Mark D. Norwood

Butler

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