Letters To The Editor


October 05, 2005

Federalism will foment more division in Iraq

In "Referendum holds future" (Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 2), Barry Rubin argues that Iraq's future as a stable, democratic state would be secured by the adoption and implementation of the draft constitution.

Unfortunately, Mr. Rubin's argument ignores substantial evidence suggesting that the nature of Iraq's proposed constitutional arrangement is, in fact, a recipe for instability and violence.

Specifically, Mr. Rubin believes that the form of decentralized federalism proposed in the constitution would contribute to stability in Iraq.

However, from Yugoslavia in the 1990s to Ethiopia today, the recent historical record shows that when power is devolved away from the national government and toward regional governments in a society marked by deep religious and ethnic divisions, the devolution of power leads to more, rather than less, internal violence.

Because the boundaries of the regional units in these systems often overlap with ethnic and religious identities, they reinforce rather than undermine differences among groups.

In turn, these communal differences create opportunities for political elites to act as ethnic entrepreneurs - to manipulate divisions and grievances between communities in order to bolster their own political self-interests.

It is fair to assume that this would be the fate of Iraq, should the decentralized system be adopted on Oct. 15.

Leonard C. Robinson, Delmar

The writer teaches political science at Salisbury University.

Loyalty to president no asset for justice

On the first day of comments in the news media on the choice of Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, most of the information we were given officially was that she has been a good friend and loyal civil servant to George W. Bush for many years ("Miers chosen for court," Oct. 4).

For some far-right conservatives, no better recommendation needs to be sought. For reasons I have a hard time imagining, they trust the president's word. Personally, this is all I need to become seriously alarmed by the choice.

The last loyal friend appointed by President Bush, as far as I know, was Michael Brown - "Brownie," who did such a "heck of a job" at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Elizabeth W. Goldsborough

Owings Mills

Burden is on Miers to prove she belongs

I tip my hat to President Bush. Just when I thought he couldn't nominate someone for the court with less of a paper trail than Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. had, he has done so with Harriet Miers ("Miers chosen for court," Oct. 4)

While her personal story is compelling, and I applaud Mr. Bush for naming a woman, her lack of a paper trail leaves many unanswered questions.

Given Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's status as the swing vote on the court, Ms. Miers is being nominated to fill what is arguably the most important seat on the court.

For these reasons, the burden will be on Ms. Miers to demonstrate in her confirmation hearings that she can live up to the legacy of Justice O'Connor.

Steven M. Clayton

Ocean, N.J.

Bennett's remarks offensive, dismissive

When I read about what former Education Secretary William J. Bennett said on the radio - "If you wanted to reduce crime, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down" - I did not want to believe my ears ("Bennett raises a storm," Oct. 1).

I am the mother of two wonderful black girls, and he was talking about my children.

How am I supposed to feel after hearing those words? I can tell you that I felt anger, resentment and, worst of all, fear.

I am not naive enough to believe we live in an America without prejudice, but to hear a man who sees himself as a moral leader in America speak so casually about aborting "all" black children to decrease the crime rate sickened me.

How many black children grow up to rob thousands of the pensions they worked for years to accumulate? How many black children grow up to funnel drugs across our borders using airplanes, boats and other forms of transportation?

How many black children grow up to become Wall Street insiders and bilk stockholders out of hundreds of millions while the taxpayers have to pick up the bill?

Shame on Mr. Bennett and others who are so myopic that they automatically agreed with his line of thought without realizing how prejudiced and short-sighted it is.

Gloria Reed


Former secretary bears part of blame

Former Education Secretary William J. Bennett's remarks on reducing crime by aborting black babies were despicable and shocking, particularly as they came from a white, supposedly religious Christian ("Bennett raises a storm," Oct. 1).

Mr. Bennett should be reminded that the lack of access to a good education, coupled with poverty, is the root cause of most crimes within both the black and white communities.

As a former secretary of education, he must share the blame.

E. Kaufman


Need a new culture on medical mistakes

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