Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 15, 2004

Stem cell policy serves as sop to religious right

While I consider myself a Republican, it disturbs me to hear the first lady defend her husband's administration's policies on stem cell research ("Stem cells emerging as a potent election issue," Aug. 10).

The restrictions on this research are not really about morality or ethics, but rather about placating the ultraconservative right wing of the Republican Party, in particular the Christian right. But we cannot allow the least educated and most naive segment of our populace to dictate such a crucial public policy.

The United States prides itself on being at the forefront of scientific discovery. But if the ultraconservatives continue to have their way, this will no longer be the case -- and we will only prolong the pain of those who are sick and dying from potentially curable diseases, along with the pain of those who have to watch their loved ones suffer.

Sebastian Kurian

Towson

In another example of why this country needs new leadership, first lady Laura Bush has put in her two cents regarding her husband's policy on stem cell research.

She thinks that President Bush's compromise on this very critical issue -- to limit research to available and existing lines only (a policy that is a rosebud to the religious right), is a good one because it allows limited research to prevail while we carefully consider the moral and ethical implications.

Ms. Bush should know that those of us who have helplessly watched loved ones be ravished by cruel diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, do not have the luxury of time.

We must not play politics with an opportunity to blow the doors of research wide open.

As Ronald Reagan Jr. said, it would be a horrible pill to swallow if a future generation of Americans looked back on us and concluded that we put politics before research and allowed the awesome possibility of quick cures to slip from our fingers because Mr. Bush was a puppet to the religious right.

Christopher Zysk

Towson

Using terror alert to promote politics?

When Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge raised the terror alert recently I first though it was a political move designed to take the spotlight away from Sen. John Kerry's campaign. But, I reasoned, the Bush administration wouldn't stoop that low. Now, I wonder if my original suspicions were correct.

It seems that, after raising the terror alert for a few specific locations, someone in the administration released the name of an al-Qaida turncoat on "background," through a planned leak to the press ("British frustrated by U.S. warnings," Aug. 11).

Why? To prove the terror threat to be credible so we would not suspect it had a political motive?

But this leak thwarted Pakistani and British intelligence efforts to combat al-Qaida operations.

Wouldn't it have been better to increase security at the few specific locations instead of raising the terror alert and to withhold the intelligence about the turncoat until we could glean more information from him?

Rick Wade

Perry Hall

Looking for reasons to condemn the war

The Sun's editorial "The war was for this?" (Aug. 10) laments that Ahmad Chalabi, who was closely aligned with the United States before the Iraq war, and his nephew Salem Chalabi have both been charged with major crimes by the current Iraqi government.

If they are guilty of those crimes, The Sun questions whether we should we have gone to war with Iraq.

On the other hand, if the Chalabis are innocent of the crimes, The Sun asks, "Did nearly 1,000 Americans die so that a vengeful prime minister and a hanging judge would have the power to manipulate the legal system and even scores against political rivals?"

So let me understand what The Sun is really saying here: If the Chalabis are guilty we were wrong to war. And if the Chalabis are innocent we were also wrong to go to war?

It appears that The Sun thinks we shouldn't have gone to war with Iraq, period.

Murray Spear

Baltimore

Slots weren't reason Ehrlich was elected

The letter "Election of Ehrlich was a vote for slots" (Aug. 8) ignores the real reason Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. was elected.

Slots are a way of relying on the poor to support the rich, a typical Republican approach to financing. Some voters may have selected Mr. Ehrlich because of his support for slots, but assuming his election was a vote for slots assumes far too much.

Also typical of the Republicans is Mr. Ehrlich's claim that he is cutting taxes as he simply moves the tax burden from the state to the counties and municipalities.

He does this by cutting program funding and failing to take responsibility for the resulting cuts in services.

The promise of such service cuts may have also attracted some voters. But that, too, was not the reason for his election. Mr. Ehrlich was elected because his opponent ran a poor, almost nonexistent, campaign. Had Mr. Ehrlich faced a stronger candidate he would not now be governor.

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