Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 06, 2005

Aiding enemies of freedom isn't in our interest

The U.S. government has yet to learn this historical lesson: Providing military and other aid to undemocratic regimes does not ultimately serve the interests of its citizens. In fact, it does the opposite.

The Sun's editorial "The cost of rewarding Pakistan" (April 1) points out the Bush administration's decision to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf to thwart the rise of Islamic radicalism, and to turn a blind eye toward the substantial Pakistani role in spreading nuclear technology to such countries as Iran, Libya and North Korea.

This is much the same as the policy the U.S. government has historically employed in the Middle East, providing aid to undemocratic leadership in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in return for American influence and regional "stability."

The return on this investment has been resentment of America by the vast majority of Middle Eastern citizens, ironically providing easy recruitment opportunities for radical Islamic leaders.

The root cause of radicalism - religious or political - is the hopelessness that stems from the extreme poverty caused by a lack of education and employment opportunities.

Rather than spending billions on F-16s, our tax dollars might be better spent on education and employment.

Jayson Bozek

Ellicott City

U.S. hasn't backed Mideast democracy

The points The Sun makes in "The cost of rewarding Pakistan" (editorial, April 1) are a good example of why the people of the Middle East are contemptuously distrustful of the talk coming from the Bush administration about democracy.

The sorry record of Pakistan, along with the last 50 years of Middle Eastern history, show how the United States has failed to support democracy.

For the depressing truth is that from the 1953 overthrow of Iran's freely elected, constitutional government to support for client states governed by authoritarian dictators to one-sided support for Israel, U.S. policy in the Middle East, and in Pakistan, has been opposite its current rhetoric about promoting democracy.

Fariborz S. Fatemi

McLean, Va.

The writer is a former staff member for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Time is running out for new witness laws

The clock is ticking. In less than a week, the General Assembly will adjourn and another year may well pass without any new laws on the books regarding witness intimidation, and additional alleged criminals will escape trial because of it.

The Sun's editorial "A vote on witness bill" (April 3) should be heeded. Rome is burning while the Neros fiddle.

What is disappointing is that while much time has been wasted debating the governor's proposal to modify the hearsay rule (and there are some valid objections to that proposal), bills sponsored by Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden and Del. Clarence Davis to offer a very good possible remedy - taping of witnesses' testimony under oath with cross-examination by the accused's attorney - are ignored.

These bills comply with the Sixth Amendment and the Supreme Court's recent decision on the issue.

It's a simple solution. Why doesn't Annapolis accept it?

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Marshall deserves airport name honor

All this fuss about the proposed renaming of the airport - how silly ("Doing justice to the airport?" March 31).

In the first place, Justice Thurgood Marshall deserves the honor, especially since so many of those he aided have no idea who he is.

In the second place, it's not like this is a move to change, say, "Friendship International Airport" to "BWI" - now that would be disgusting.

John Robinson

Baltimore

Using the airport for political football

Putting Justice Thurgood Marshall's name on Baltimore-Washington International Airport is just as bogus as putting Ronald Reagan's name on what was once National Airport ("Doing justice to the airport?" March 31). Neither man had anything to do with the airport.

Justice Marshall's name should be placed on a courthouse or something similar.

And let's stop playing populist political football with the airport.

Zev Griner

Reisterstown

City has no business subsidizing a hotel

I'm not sure if it is hubris or naivetM-i that would make the Baltimore City Council think the city should be in the hotel business ("Five national builders to bid on city hotel plan," March 30).

This appears to be another boondoggle pushed with the promise of more conventions - if only we had a convention hotel. Such promises are similar to those in the past guaranteeing more conventions - if only the convention center was larger.

We can be certain that professional hotel chains would have already built a hotel if they thought the market could support it.

Instead, we're looking at a scenario in which public tax dollars will subsidize a hotel and its builders.

The city would be wise to let the free market determine whether we need a new hotel.

And surely there are other ways to increase the convention center business without risking $290 million of taxpayers' money.

Pete Bickford

Baltimore

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