Letters To The Editor


August 22, 2004

Redeployment will help blunt terrorist threat

Some people are upset with President Bush's decision to redeploy our troops ("Bush to alter deployment of U.S. forces," Aug. 17). But as the president has said, the world has certainly changed over the past few years, and a static approach to troop deployment is insanity in such a changing world.

It is quite interesting that the likes of retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark are so concerned about that this "slap in the face of the Europeans ... is more unilateralism on the part of the administration."

Mr. Clark would have us believe that moving troops from Germany would somehow threaten the security of this nation which, in my view, is a preposterous assertion.

In my opinion, it is the Europeans who should be straining to get back in our good graces.

And the redeployment of our troops outlined by President Bush is a great idea whose time has come. Such a move does not threaten the security of NATO. In fact, a revised, highly mobile, highly trained, strike-ready force is an asset to the alliance and should be a model for all the militaries in the free world.

The war on terrorism seems to be the war of today and, in such a war, the need to move ponderous, massive, heavy equipment-burdened, conventional mechanized and infantry divisions is nil.

The ability to impact any given area, with immediacy, dictates a light, mobile, technically advanced and extremely efficient military force with the latest high technology weaponry; that's how you fight a war on terrorists.

Robert Di Stefano


Troop withdrawal shows little logic

Because the Bush administration believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, perhaps including a nuclear capability, we sent in our armed forces to remove the threat. Now, ignoring the fact that North Korea is a threat and really does have a nuclear capability, the Bush administration intends to pull many of our troops out of the Korean peninsula ("Bush to alter deployment of U.S. forces," Aug. 17).

In other words, we send troops in where no nuclear threat exists and remove troops from regions that pose a nuclear threat to us.

Clearly, the architects of our foreign policy seem completely divorced from reality.

John D. Venables


More soldiers ready for still more wars?

The Sun's fine political columnist Jules Witcover entirely misses the real point in his column "Redeployment plan comes under fire" (Opinion Commentary, Aug. 18), as have all the other commentators I have read thus far on this topic.

The point is simply this: Not that the 70,000 American troops are being withdrawn, mostly from our allies Germany and South Korea, but that they would then be free to be reassigned by our most warlike president since World War II anywhere else in the world he chooses to send them if he wins a second White House term. Syria? Iran? Cuba?

President Bush has succeeded in introducing an entirely new, foreign element into the conduct of our national policy abroad, and that is preventive wars of aggression.

This cycle of endless wars needs to be stopped for good.

Blaine Taylor


City schools still need tighter control

Although I am not a city resident, I believe that the quality of education offered to the children of Baltimore is of paramount importance to all citizens of the state. The Sun's reports of improved academic achievement for children in the Baltimore public school system are most welcome and a tribute to the children, parents and teachers in the city.

However, the same detailed reporting reveals a continuing failure of leadership, management and fiscal oversight, and responsibility by the city school board and top-level city school management ("Despite gains, city schools still on the defensive," Aug. 17).

Additional state support of the city schools will not translate into improved resources at the classroom level until the board and top management put in place effective planning, control and reporting mechanisms.

Steven Sorin

Bel Air

Vacation gives kids a break they need

Mike Bowler's column "Weather puts a squeeze on school break" (Aug. 18) presented arguments for and against a longer school year and shorter vacations.

The article pointed out that many school districts in Florida returned to session on Aug. 9. But Mr. Bowler neglected to mention that those Florida districts began their summer break back in May, many weeks before Maryland schools let out for the summer.

The article also mentioned shortening summer vacations to compensate for "`summer learning fall-off' that affects mostly urban and rural children who tend not to be intellectually stimulated during June, July and August."

If this is indeed an argument for lengthening the school year, there is no need to drag all students back into fluorescent sunshine and forced air when it is not all students who need the additional stimulation. Summer school for those who need it is the obvious solution.

Many of our young people feel school is a very unpleasant and restrictive environment.

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