Letters To The Editor


September 01, 2004

Responsibility for prison abuse rises to the top

As a retired military person who served 20 years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force, I know a little bit about the rules and regulations that govern treatment of prisoners of all nationalities. And let me assure The Sun's readers that responsibility for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners goes right to the top - yes, to the president himself ("Army report ties general to abuse at Iraqi prison," Aug. 27).

The president can delegate all he wants, but in case of a failure or shortcoming, as we have clearly experienced in this instance, the buck comes right back to him.

Prisoners don't have "civil rights" in the sense that U.S. citizens have them, but they do have rights under the Geneva Conventions. These must be observed and adhered to, and in this case, they clearly were not.

It is up to the president to enforce our compliance with international law.

Franklin Littleton


Did Bush's instincts betray him on Iraq?

In The Sun's front-page article "Bush follows gut instincts" (Aug. 29), the author quotes a close adviser and friend of the president who said: "He [President Bush] works things through quickly in his mind. He can tell a good idea from a bad idea extremely well."

Is Mr. Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq an example of this ability?

Lester Cohen


Bush shows belief in strength, security

I am a veteran, but the fact that President Bush did not serve in Vietnam does not bother me at all. And while Sen. John Kerry may have received many medals for military action, what is much more important to me is the candidates' actions since Vietnam ("Attacks leave Bush, Kerry exposed," Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 26).

President Bush has demonstrated that he believes in American security and strength; he realizes that the United States has to "go it alone."

Mr. Kerry's voting record and philosophy indicate a weak attitude toward defense and security. He is much too cosmopolitan, pro-European and internationalist-global for my taste. He may have served bravely in Vietnam, but upon his return he criticized the United States bitterly and discarded his medals.

Security and defense are much more important to me than the economy. And I do not expect the president to provide people with jobs and health care - Congress should do that. But I do look to the president for the nation's security and defense.

Jeffrey P. Jarosz


Greens advance democracy for all

I enjoyed the feature article in Sunday's Perspective section on the Maryland Green Party ("Md. ballot is novel for Nov. 2," Aug. 29).

However, I must take issue with the suggestion by professor Paul S. Herrnson that the only measure of success is winning.

I would certainly consider the successful lawsuit challenging the state's discriminatory two-tier nominating system for third-party candidates a victory for democracy for all Marylanders.

Craig Herud


U.S. needs distance from Israeli goals

Peter Hermann's excellent article "Israelis act to protect ties to U.S." (Aug. 29) certainly demonstrates that Israel and its U.S. supporters have been a critical influence on the United States' policies toward the Middle East.

In my view, the United States should be seeking to help find an equitable solution to the 55-year-old Israeli-Arab conflict - not seeking to help the Israeli right wing dominate its neighbors.

Frank Smor


Nuclear power carries little risk

It is astounding that operators of U.S. commercial nuclear power plants need to forever convince people that the plants are safe when the record of their operation reveals that not a single member of the public has ever been injured by radiation from such a plant ("Nuclear plant's owner says it's completely safe," Aug. 25).

There is something about human nature that leads us to ignore familiar, high-risk activities, but fear the technically sophisticated commercial nuclear plant operation, whose low risk has been demonstrated in the United States for more than 45 years.

It is time to get real about risk perceptions, and understand that nuclear power plants are not going to hurt us, but the driver in the other car presents a risk to be concerned about.

Fred T. Stetson


Comedy of errors in oyster initiative

I've been a news junkie for too many years. The occupation is hazardous, with a high risk of depression. It's only the occasional true belly laugh that enables me to maintain a semblance of sanity.

Happily, a story that provoked one occurred last week, and as has been the case so many times over these long trying years, the infamous Army Corps of Engineers provided the fun.

"Baby oysters put on reef in Va. are killed" (Aug. 25) was the eye-catching headline.

Doug Martin, project manager for the multimillion-dollar oyster initiative, said: "We didn't really know anything about the cow-nosed ray."

This brilliant comment comes after, "One million baby oysters ... were wiped out in a single day by a school of ravenous cow-nosed rays, surprising the federal agency in charge of the restoration project" - the Army Corps of Engineers - despite the fact that "bay scientists and watermen know all about the rays."

See what I mean? The news can be great fun.

Kirk S. Nevin

White Hall

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