Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 28, 2005

Youth sacrificed as principles are demeaned

The Sun's articles "War without the sacrifice" (July 24) and "Cheney opposes Senate bill on detainee issues" (July 24) speak volumes.

When one reads the list of casualties in Iraq, it is hard to miss the tender young ages and the small towns where they are from. These young men and women are dying violent deaths. They are shot, hit by jagged shrapnel, blown apart and crying out in pain.

Meanwhile, many others in their age group can be found in large population centers, where they crowd the bars on Friday nights, work hard to afford the mortgage on a nice house, and shop for clothes, cars and gadgets.

Why such a dichotomy? Let me guess - small-town America suffers from an acute lack of jobs and opportunities for its young people.

Meanwhile, the masterminds of this war find it repugnant to tie the president's hands with demands by more-moderate Republicans to bar the military from hiding certain prisoners from the Red Cross; prohibit cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees; and allow only interrogation techniques outlined in a new army field manual.

Yet President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and company have not asked the majority of us to sacrifice.

They use small-town youths as cannon fodder as they push aside American principles of justice.

Shame on all of us.

William Tunney

Grantsville

Financial sacrifice might end the war

Members of the military are angry that virtually nothing is asked of U.S. civilians for the effort in Iraq ("War without the sacrifice," July 24). Conversely, many civilians are clamoring for the end of the war.

Both goals could be accomplished if Congress passed an excess-profits tax to pay for the war (as it did in World War II).

This might satisfy members of the military but would certainly cause such a backlash that the administration would have to end the war.

Sylvan Wolpert

Baltimore

Reviving the draft could engage public

The Sun's article regarding the lack of civilian commitment to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan illustrates the down-side of the all-volunteer force ("War without the sacrifice," July 24).

The all-volunteer force makes it easier for political leaders to commit to military action, and most people now feel no more connected to the armed forces than to their favorite pro football team.

After the 9/11 attacks, Congress should have issued a formal declaration of war to proclaim the seriousness of our purpose.

It should have also rolled back President Bush's tax cuts across the board to show that we're ready to put our money where our mouth is.

And should the armed forces continue to fall short of their recruiting goals, Congress should renew the draft.

Having not had the courage or wisdom to take the first two actions, however, I doubt we can count on Congress to take the third.

Phillip K. Parker

Ellicott City

Infringing on rights won't keep us safe

I ask our senators and representatives to stand tough to correct the rights violations in the Patriot Act ("House votes to keep most of Patriot Act," July 22). Terrorists win if they drive us in a panic away from the basics of the concept of American democracy.

Someday, the power it authorizes will be used wrongly.

Egypt is not picky about rights violations, using torture and throwing thousands of suspects in prison for years. Yet it has been hit badly by terrorism.

Infringing on our rights does not make us safer. It won't stop terrorism, but it will destroy the democracy we have worked for and sacrificed for over the past 229 years.

Susan W. Cochran

Edgewater

Applaud president for focusing on port

The port of Baltimore hit a grand slam when the president of the United States selected our much-overlooked gem as the backdrop for a major policy speech on terrorism.

Too bad The Sun's editorial staff chose to do a tear-down job on the port and its security program ("On the waterfront," editorial, July 21).

Save the negatives for another time. How about an occasional round of applause?

Helen Delich Bentley

Baltimore

The writer is a former member of Congress and a consultant to the port of Baltimore.

Leaders not leaping to defend our port

More than 190 years ago, defense of the port of Baltimore was essential to our national survival during the War of 1812. The government rushed to protect the port against the British invasion, and the victory gave birth to our national anthem.

It is disheartening that now that our port is faced with the 21st century threat of terrorism, the leaders of our state and federal government are not rushing to its defense ("President visits port of Baltimore," July 21).

While President Bush pushes for his gigantic tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy to be made permanent, he is failing to properly fund port security.

It is shocking that our nation's eighth-largest port (and the closest one to our capital) has unattended gates, gaps in its fences and broken security cameras and lacks round-the-clock protection.

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