Letters To The Editor


February 25, 2005

Let Negroponte prove mettle as intelligence czar

I take exception to The Sun's editorial critical of the nomination of Ambassador John D. Negroponte as the new national intelligence director ("Company man," Feb. 20).

Having known the ambassador for a quarter-century, I would describe him as a person of honesty, loyalty, decency and intellectual probity.

The Sun questions his dedication to the rule of law and democratic norms. I personally heard Mr. Negroponte reaffirm his commitment to these values in discussions with foreign ambassadors in New York.

The Sun criticizes his work in Honduras and, more recently, his role in selling the administration's case at the United Nations. I would note that a professional diplomat is, first of all, the representative of the president of the United States, charged with implementing his policy.

An envoy is not a policymaker. Once an ambassador has provided his views to officials back home, he is obliged to carry out the instructions he receives, whether his advice is accepted or not.

I suggest we now give this talented and dedicated individual the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to fulfill this new function as intelligence chief, a daunting responsibility by any measure.

I am certain that he will do so with distinction.

Charles H. Twining

Glen Arm

The writer is a retired foreign service officer.

Appointee carries checkered record

John D. Negroponte's acceptance of the appointment to be director of national intelligence is not a surprise. Who could blame him for cutting and running from the quagmire in Iraq ("Company man," editorial, Feb. 20)?

But in these deceitful times, I think it is important to review the shortcomings of Mr. Negroponte.

He was ambassador to Honduras in the early 1980s, when the country was a launching pad for the Reagan-Bush administration's war of terror on Nicaragua. He not only tolerated the human rights abuses, but covered them up so that Honduras received more U.S. military aid.

This was detailed in The Sun's 1995 exposM-i "Unearthed: Fatal Secrets" (June 11, 1995).

As ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Negroponte promoted the bogus theory of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction as a justification for war.

One would have to be pretty naive to believe the Bush administration would have appointed an honorable person to be head of national intelligence. And Mr. Negroponte is just another in a long line of appointees who do not meet ethical standards.

Max Obuszewski


`Star wars' spending adds little to security

One thing is clear from reading about President Bush's budget proposals in The Sun: It's time for America to straighten out its mixed-up budget priorities.

Mr. Bush proposes to spend more than $400 billion on the Pentagon, and that figure doesn't even count funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Bush's Pentagon budget includes many billions in funding for missile defense.

Meanwhile, only about 5 percent of all shipping containers that enter America's ports, such as ours in Baltimore, are inspected for bombs and other terrorist cargo.

I would feel a lot more secure paying for additional port inspectors rather than contributing my tax dollars to "star wars."

And our national budget would then be much more in line with my values rather than those of special interests.

Marian Gillis


The writer is director of the Maryland chapter of Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities.

Private work force faces similar woes

The Sun's article "State workers see some benefits erode as governor tries to rein in spending" (Feb. 21) seems to be written from the point of view that state workers somehow should be exempt from the pain that so many of their counterparts in the private sector face every day.

But higher health care costs, job instability and related issues are facts of today's working life.

Just as companies must control costs or reduce payroll because of projected losses, so must the state's management make similar decisions.

So where's the news here? Or are we to believe that state workers are to be treated differently than those of us in the private sector?

William F. Herrfeldt


Talk show offers opinions, dialogue

I can't speak for other listeners, but when I tune in to Chip Franklin's show on WBAL radio, I am under no illusion that I am going to hear an objective journalist.

I expect to hear an entertaining talk show made even more entertaining by the unique talents of the host and the broad spectrum of the callers he engages in conversations on issues of the day.

Mr. Franklin makes no pretense about being objective. The Sun does.

Do The Sun's writers meet the "professional standards of independence and objectivity" that The Sun's article "Talk-show host also works for state" (Feb. 22) suggests distinguish journalists from talk-show hosts?

If this article is any indication, I think not.

William McCollum


A petty attack on critic of Sun

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