Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 28, 2004

Palestinians haven't pursued killers in Gaza

Matthew A. Levitt's commentary about the investigation into the bombing of a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Gaza misrepresents the position of the U.S. government regarding this case, and does not take into account the efforts made by the U.S. government to find the killers of the three U.S. citizens who worked for Dyncorp ("Injustice in Gaza," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 18).

The Palestinian Authority's performance on this issue has been unacceptable to us, and we have made this clear to its senior representatives on numerous occasions. Palestinian officials have consistently failed to demonstrate the will to investigate this case seriously.

If the Palestinian Authority knows the identity of the murderers, as some senior Palestinian security officials have claimed, it must take immediate action to arrest, prosecute and convict them.

The U.S. government has made - and continues to make - intensive efforts to investigate the circumstances of the murder and to urge Palestinian authorities to act more rigorously in pursuit of those responsible.

But because of serious deficiencies in the PA's security apparatus and its lack of progress in this investigation, the U.S. Agency for International Development has had to suspend two major water infrastructure projects in Gaza. We will be unable to move forward with such large-scale assistance projects until we are confident our personnel and contractors can work in reasonable safety.

The United States is committed to aid projects designed to improve the well-being of Palestinians. We deeply regret that some of our most important projects have been obstructed by the security situation in Gaza.

Adam Ereli

Washington

The writer is a deputy spokesman for the U.S. State Department.

Anti-Kerry diatribe adds little to debate

When I read Linda Chavez's column "Not a good man" (Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 21), my first thought was: This is totally frivolous journalism; I can't believe The Sun would print this.

Then I realized "frivolous" was the wrong word. "Vicious" and "hateful" were possibilities.

I understand the deep hurt and pain that Vietnam War veterans feel; they feel their service was undervalued by the many Americans who thought our participation in the war was a tragic mistake.

However, Sen. John Kerry, having served, spoke out in the hope of ending the pain and suffering. Where were President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and many other Republican leaders who avoided Vietnam by any path their wealth and privilege offered them?

Mr. Kerry knows more about war than those who never served.

After Election Day, we will all have to live with one or the other candidate. Character assassination undermines rational appraisal of what our president will try to do.

And I hope we can put fear aside as a motivator. Americans can respond to more than that.

Martha G. Little

Baltimore

More incompetence on the flu vaccine

Approximately 3,000 Americans died Sept. 11, 2001. Each year, about 10 times that number die from influenza, yet our government did not ensure an adequate supply of flu vaccine ("Officials focus on distributing flu shots fairly," Oct. 23).

Was this another intelligence failure, an inability to connect the dots?

No. It was simply more incompetence from the Bush administration and its mistaken belief that free markets are the solution to all social problems.

Howard M. Taylor

Towson

Wrong for politicians to consume flu shots

As a voter and a registered nurse, I am incensed that our elected officials in Washington deemed themselves and their staffs more important than the rest of the country by ensuring that they received flu shots ("Senators' flu shots spur some debate," Oct. 21).

Have they forgotten that there is a shortage of the vaccine?

Have they forgotten that what little vaccine is available is being rationed among the elderly and those who are most at risk?

Are they aware that countless health care workers and public servants such as police officers, firefighters and paramedics are being forced to do without their shots this year to allow those in the greatest need to be vaccinated?

As voters, I think we all need to take a good, hard look at our elected officials and ensure that they are serving our needs instead of their own.

Brittany Russo

Baltimore

Pork-barrel politics carries heavy price

In the article "Senate's dean of women" (Oct. 24), Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski was called "queen of pork-barrel politics." This is not a laudable title.

Most of the legislation passed in Congress is accompanied by unrelated pork barrel additions tacked on to get the bills passed.

This is legislative extortion, which rewards those legislators who participate in the practice with pet projects for their districts (which may or may not actually be in the best interests of those districts) and provides job security for the legislator at great cost to the U.S. Treasury.

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