Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 23, 2004

Governor fails to cure woes of juvenile justice

I couldn't agree more with Michael Olesker's assessment of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s failures on the juvenile justice system ("Ehrlich hopes we forget his promises to kids," Sept. 21).

Mr. Ehrlich campaigned on an issue that he apparently cares little about.

Since his administration took the helm of our state, Mr. Ehrlich has done nothing to improve the juvenile justice system.

The Department of Juvenile Services has been slow to move on egregious problems such as the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School and the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center.

Why wasn't the center fully staffed from the beginning? Given the crime statistics in Baltimore and in other urban areas, why didn't the state provide adequate resources for this facility?

The facts regarding juvenile crime are readily available. Ignorance of the state of affairs in this realm is the worst excuse I've ever heard.

The failures of this system lie at Mr. Ehrlich's feet.

Aimee Darrow

Baltimore

Theater, west side yet to blossom

After reading The Sun's editorial about the Hippodrome Theatre, I'm left with the question of whether the theater is a "rose amid thorns" ("Phantom menace," editorial, Sept. 18)

There is no question that the neighborhood is an embarrassment.

At the same time, even though the theater is aesthetically pleasing, there are many seats without leg room, there are unacceptable sight lines, and departure from the garage seems to take as long as seeing the show itself.

The Baltimore Development Corp. better get moving quickly with revitalizing the neighborhood - and it might want to take a second look at the theater itself.

Frank A. Vitrano

Baltimore

Iraq saps resources from war on terror

Ed Feulner's column "A key victory in terror war" (Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 14) is long on sweeping statements designed to frighten us but woefully short on analysis.

The truth is that this insane war occurred only because the neoconservatives in the Bush administration had been obsessed with the idea of taking on Saddam Hussein for many years.

Mr. Hussein was an opportunist, and he used lethal chemical weapons on the Kurds and in the war against Iran because he knew he could get away with it (and that was in the 1980s when the United States supported him).

He was also cunning enough to know that to use them against Americans would mean instant annihilation.

To conserve resources for a war with Iraq, the administration failed to go all out in Afghanistan and allowed Osama bin Laden, the real threat, to slip away and continue his jihad. Now we have lost more than 1,000 American lives in Iraq, had more than 7,000 soldiers wounded and gained millions of new enemies.

And we are bogged down in Iraq for the foreseeable future and will not have troops available to respond appropriately to threats from al-Qaida, Iran, North Korea or elsewhere.

Bruce Rollier

Ellicott City

Invading Iraq gave terrorists new home

Ed Feulner claims that the war in Iraq is preventing another Sept. 11, 2001 ("A key victory in terror war," Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 14). He's exactly wrong.

Mr. Feulner says that "as long as we're on the offensive, it'll be more difficult for al-Qaida to recruit." But sources in American intelligence reveal that our invasion of Iraq has become a recruiting tool for al-Qaida. It helps them argue that America is on a crusade against Muslims.

Furthermore, our military admits that Muslim terrorist groups can now operate freely in much of western Iraq. Saddam Hussein's secular regime, horrific though it was, kept out those religious fanatics. President Bush's bungled occupation has given them a home.

The war in Iraq also strains our military. Despite ever-longer tours for the Reserves and National Guard, that strain weakens our garrison in Afghanistan, where the 9/11 plot was hatched.

While we are distracted, the Taliban and the warlords have again gained control much of that country. And Osama bin Laden is still at large.

In the "war against Islamic terrorism," invading Iraq was a costly diversion.

Matthew A. Feigin

Baltimore

Which candidate do terrorists prefer?

In the latest shameless attempt by the GOP to exploit the fear of terrorism for political gain, House Speaker Dennis Hastert has succeeded in proving how low they're willing to go by suggesting al-Qaida might attack us to swing the election in Sen. John Kerry's favor ("GOP using `politics of fear,' Edwards says," Sept. 20).

Mr. Hastert got it all wrong. Al-Qaida's knowledge of Mr. Kerry is limited at best. For all it knows, a Kerry presidency might actually do something effective to stop it.

It's not Mr. Kerry that al-Qaida wants to see win this election, it's President Bush.

Why? Because it knows what will happen in that circumstance.

And it knows it can attack the United States and Mr. Bush will respond by invading an oil-rich country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the crime, thereby allowing al-Qaida not only to get away with the attack, but to live and grow to strike again.

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