Letters To The Editor


October 06, 2005

Modern presidents control war powers

So Gregory Kane has just discovered Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which says only Congress can declare war ("Protesters pick wrong target for their anger," Oct. 3).

He may also be interested in knowing that, since the last time war was declared by Congress in 1941, presidents have always found ways of circumventing Congress and setting their own war agendas.

After President Lyndon Johnson used the Gulf of Tonkin incident (which many historians now say never occurred) to send more troops to Vietnam, Congress got off its duff in 1973 to limit the war-making powers of the executive branch by passing the War Powers Act, which states that the president must consult with Congress before introducing American forces into hostilities.

It was immediately violated by President Gerald Ford when he ordered troops to invade a Cambodian island that was detaining American seamen from the captured Mayaguez.

The War Powers Act was also ignored in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan sent troops into Lebanon, and again in 1983 when Mr. Reagan ordered the invasion of Grenada.

So much for the War Powers Act.

When Iraq was invaded in 2003, I wrote to Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin and Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski asking them to introduce legislation declaring war, since this invasion was obviously otherwise illegal, according to the Constitution.

I received very nice form letters from both of them thanking me for my interest and concern and advising me to have a nice day.

I accepted their tacit approval of an "imperial presidency."

Obviously Cindy Sheehan does not.

Arthur Laupus


President not alone in dropping the ball

I do not often side with Gregory Kane, but his suggestions in "Protesters pick wrong target for their anger" (Oct. 3) really struck a chord.

As a person who would be viewed as a liberal, I too have often found my bedfellows waxing indignant about our president and using him as the focal point of their dissatisfaction. I have in the past done this myself.

But Mr. Kane suggested that we look directly at Congress for signing off on the war in Iraq, and I think he is absolutely right. This includes some members of Congress who are labeled as liberal.

Mr. Kane was focusing on grievances about the war, but the problem goes so much deeper. Hurricane Katrina and its results in New Orleans highlight the fact that failures are common at all levels of government.

I am no fan of Mr. Bush, but we are foolhardy if we blame all societal ills on the president.

A lot of elected and appointed people drop the ball before it gets to the executive level.

C. Michael Stahl


Muslim terrorists cause the casualties

Usually, Gregory Kane is one of the few Sun writers with whom I can agree. But both he and Cindy Sheehan have misdirected their anger about the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq ("Protesters pick wrong target for their anger," Oct. 3).

Neither President Bush nor members of Congress killed Mrs. Sheehan's son or the more than 1,900 other Americans who have died in Iraq.

Fanatic Muslim terrorists killed them.

If protesters would direct their anger and their protests against the real killers, their protests would be more appropriate and would win more supporters.

Clinton R. Dembinsky


Renaming airport the least we can do

I can't believe state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer is making a fuss over renaming Baltimore-Washington International Airport for Justice Thurgood Marshall because Mr. Marshall supposedly didn't like Baltimore ("Civil rights pioneer's legacy takes flight at BWI Airport," Sept. 30).

After all, President Ronald Reagan, a well-known detractor of Washington, had Washington National Airport named for him.

Whether Justice Marshall liked Baltimore or not is beside the point. Renaming the airport for Justice Marshall is the least the state of Maryland can do to repay the injustice of having denied him admission to law school on the basis of his race.

One can only speculate how Mr. Schaefer would have felt, or acted, under those circumstances.

Andrew A. O'Brien


Mayor's optimism is what state needs

So Mayor Martin O'Malley misused a quote from The Great Gatsby -- maybe ("Mayor scrambles his politics with prose," Sept. 29). So he refuses to acknowledge that the American dream - and Maryland's and Baltimore's, by extension - is dead.

But he plays music and quotes literature and believes in this city unlike any politician since former Mayor William Donald Schaefer.

And he doesn't repeat Jimmy Carter's mistake of emphasizing to everyone how terrible everything is.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that's called optimism, and Maryland could sure use more of it.

So if Mr. O'Malley wants to interpret F. Scott Fitzgerald's pessimistic observation about America in a favorable light, then I, for one, am for it.

It's just a shame that to become governor, the mayor will have to leave Baltimore.

Alan Z. Forman


Don't make the poor victims of market

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