Letters To The Editor


August 01, 2004

Knowing cause of terror threat can protect us

The Sun's editorial "Know the enemy" (July 27) is absolutely right. The problem is that the Bush administration has never known the enemy -- and now, almost three years after Sept. 11, 2001, it still does not get it.

Hubris and ignorance have blinded this administration. It is the lack of even-handedness of its policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict that helps the terrorists sell their cause.

To bring stability to the Middle East and Iraq, the United States and the international community must first bring peace to the Arab-Israeli conflict. As long as America's policy is hijacked by neo-conservative supporters of Israel and the daily humiliation of Palestinians continues, our credibility will suffer accordingly, and the terrorists will benefit.

Without peace in the Holy Land, terror wins, and we have no credibility or legitimacy in the Middle East.

Every student of the area knows this. Why doesn't the Bush administration?

Fariborz S. Fatemi

McLean, Va.

The writer is a former staff member for the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Congratulations to the 9/11 commission report and to The Sun's editorial "Know the enemy" for urging that we try to understand the causes of the terrorist threat.

Clearly, we should be beyond the shallow "they hate us" explanation for terror by now. As both the commission report and the editorial emphasize, we must re-examine the U.S. policies that have so embittered such a large segment of the Muslim world.

And both the report and the editorial list the U.S. military presence in the Middle East and our one-sided policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as foremost among these policies.

It is very encouraging to hear such prominent voices crying out to identify the root causes of this terrible conflict.

Frank Smor


New overtime rules will benefit millions

The Sun's editorial on the U.S. Department of Labor's final overtime security rule was long on criticism but short on facts ("Hit the brakes," editorial, July 22).

A great deal of misinformation and distortions harmful to workers have been spread about the impact of these rules.

Here are the facts: The department's reforms will provide more overtime to workers than current law, guarantee overtime protection for 6.7 million low-wage workers and reduce costly litigation.

In contrast to the editorial's claims that team leaders may not earn overtime pay under the new rules, the fact is that the final rules ensure overtime protection for blue-collar team leaders and are more protective of overtime pay for white-collar team leaders than the current regulations.

In addition, The Sun's claim that the new rules classify day care workers as teachers to deprive them of overtime pay is untrue. There is no change to the law regarding the exempt status of nursery school teachers whose primary duty is not teaching.

Ed Frank


The writer is a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor.

Unions can protect the dignity of labor

With regard to Linda Chavez's column in which she asserts that the Democratic Party has done little for labor ("Union boss tells how Democrats have failed workers," Opinion Commentary, July 29), I would ask: What have the Republicans done for labor, if not almost wholeheartedly try to destroy it?

Indeed, one of President Ronald Reagan's first major acts was to bust the air traffic controllers union. And many workers in unions that persevere have had to struggle bitterly just to keep from losing many of the hard-gotten gains they won in the past.

In a period of downsizing, globalization and a shrinking economy, it's perhaps almost a miracle that we still have a viable labor movement.

I only hope and pray that a Democratic victory will lead to a restoration of the strength and capacity of the labor movement to ensure both the dignity and earning power of hard work.

Jack Eisenberg


Give Blair a chance to run social services

Speaking as a Democrat and an employee of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services' legal division, it pains to me to acknowledge that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. may have found an adequate Baltimore director of social services in Floyd R. Blair ("Staff members rally for city Social Services chief," July 23).

Mayor Martin O'Malley was right to try to get Mr. Ehrlich to abide by the state statute in regard to picking a DSS director. But he is wrong in his feeling that Mr. Blair is not right for the job based on credentials or any other reason.

I don't know too much about Mr. Blair personally. But I do know that Mr. Blair seems to care about the employees who work for DSS and for the kids of Baltimore.

So Mr. O'Malley should let Mr. Blair have the director position. And if Mr. Blair fails in his quest to turn around social services, then the mayor can always use that against Mr. Ehrlich.

Mandell Marsh


Oust group homes that abuse disabled

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