Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 19, 2004

Let public hear the allegations against Kerry

C. Fraser Smith's column "Choosing a president by letting the mud fly" (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 15) fails in the area of balanced reporting.

Mr. Smith dismisses, in effect, the testimony of more than 200 officers in the Swift boat command with the comment that they could not have known about Sen. John Kerry's battle zone performance since they were not on his boat.

But the Swift boats rarely went on sorties without at least two or three boats in the flotilla.

And the testimony of the other members of the Swift boat command must be heard, not dismissed, so that the public can make a judgment on Mr. Kerry's fitness for command.

Sam Davis

Towson

Does C. Fraser Smith realize that Sen. John Kerry bases his campaign for the presidency on his military service in Vietnam, not on his Senate record, and therefore that his service record should be open to careful scrutiny?

And, as for mudslinging, could The Sun follow up with an article on the works of Michael Moore?

George Pfeiffer

Bel Air

Soldiers are subject to scurrilous attacks

C. Fraser Smith is right on the money in criticizing the president's failure to repudiate his supporters' ads attacking Sen. John Kerry's war record ("Choosing a president by letting the mud fly," Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 15).

It seems that yet another cost for the brave men and women who defend us in uniform is that, if they ever run for office, their war record will be subject to scurrilous attacks -- ask Mr. Kerry, Sen. John McCain or former President George H.W. Bush.

Jeffrey F. Liss

Chevy Chase

Nader deserves access to ballot

In his recent visit to Annapolis, Ralph Nader correctly said that Democrats have fought to keep him off the ballot in many states ("Nader urges malpractice, voting reforms," Aug. 10). But they would be crazy to try that in Maryland.

Exit polls from 2000 show that nationally about one-third of Mr. Nader's voters would likely not have voted at all if he were not on the ballot. And after they voted for Mr. Nader, his voters tended to vote Democratic for other offices. This may have decided a few close elections.

With two registered Democrats for every Republican in Maryland, Mr. Nader's vote -- which was 2.7 percent in Maryland in 2000 -- is not likely to change the fact that Sen. John Kerry will win our state and its 10 electoral votes. Republican presidential candidates only win Maryland in nationwide blowouts, when they don't need it.

I do not plan to vote for Mr. Nader, but I think he should be on the ballot. It's a matter of a principle I find most Marylanders agree with -- that we are best served by a free and open electoral process.

Douglas E. McNeil

Baltimore

The writer is a senior analyst for Marylanders for Democracy, a nonpartisan ballot-access organization.

Confronting the NRA isn't the proper path

The 2000 presidential election must have slipped the mind of the writer who expressed a desire for a candidate in this presidential campaign who will "stand up" to the NRA ("A candidate who confronts the NRA," letters, Aug. 16).

Many political observers believe Al Gore's support for tighter federal gun control contributed to his loss in his home state of Tennessee and Democratic stronghold West Virginia, and therefore to his loss of the election.

When a candidate confronts the NRA, he or she also confronts its millions of highly organized and passionate supporters who value having the right to own firearms and question the efficacy and constitutionality of restricting that right.

And it seems to me that any resident of Baltimore should have firsthand knowledge of gun control's inability to rid society of crime.

Brandon Payne

Pasadena

Lifestyle can't block Alzheimer's disease

I have become increasingly incensed by articles that suggest that one can ward off the onset of Alzheimer's disease if only you live a certain way.

The recent article "Research links Alzheimer's to type of job" (Aug. 10) leads us to believe that if you work as an astrophysicist, doctor, engineer or scientist during your 30s, 40s and 50s you will be protecting yourself from this disease.

Tell this to my friend whose father, who spent his entire career working as an aerospace engineer and was involved in the first orbital flight of the Columbia space shuttle, passed away last month from Alzheimer's disease. Or to my mother's best friend whose husband's career as an engineer did not protect him from Alzheimer's disease.

My mother passed away this spring. For her entire life, until the onset of Alzheimer's disease, she was mentally and socially active, had a healthy diet and exercised daily.

Let's hope all the researchers working on a cure for Alzheimer's are able to unravel its mysteries. But please, don't study 122 people and tell us the answer is to become an astrophysicist in midlife.

Sarah Littlepage

Baltimore

Respect for rights key to Mideast peace

In response to the letter "U.S. must pressure Israel toward peace" (Aug. 12), I share the following:

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