Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 04, 2006

Blame top officials for pattern of abuse

While it is heartening that the U.S. military is beginning to bring criminal charges against higher-ranking officers for the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib ("Abu Ghraib officer faces 12 charges," April 29), it is clear that the abuses at Abu Ghraib are only the dirty tip of the iceberg.

Information that is already on the public record and that continues to emerge indicates that what happened at Abu Ghraib was not an isolated incident perpetrated by a few "bad apples," but the symptom of a policy of brutal interrogation with no regard for human rights or international law, formulated at the highest levels of the federal government.

The real perpetrators of these crimes at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and Bagram Air Base and in the secret CIA "extraordinary rendition" flights and "black" centers are the president and the Cabinet-level officials who set American military policy.

President Bush, who side-stepped Sen. John McCain's ban on torture by means of his infamous "signing statement," Vice President Dick Cheney, who engaged in an all-out media blitz to protect torture as a tactic, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, who crafted the legal memo suggesting that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to the U.S. efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever else he saw fit, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who knew that these abuses were taking place and took no action against them, all should be removed from power and brought before a court to answer for these crimes committed in the name of decent Americans.

It is unacceptable that these men are free while low-ranking soldiers and officers in the field pay for the policies the Bush administration set forth and encouraged.

Michael Johnson

Baltimore

We must inspect all foreign cargo

I disagree with The Sun's editorial regarding the inspection of shipping containers ("Shipping news," editorial, April 28).

We have to be able to afford the inspection of every container. This is not only because of the threat of terrorism, but because of the impact of the importation of exotic species, which is costing us billions and degrading our quality of life.

Indeed, The Sun had an article in the same issue about the recent extinction of many amphibian species, which may be related to the spread of a disease from a South African frog ("Amphibians dying out in droves from fungus," April 28).

The true cost of imported goods includes not only the risk of a major U.S. city being destroyed by terrorists but also the environmental degradation caused by the importation of exotic species and the health and safety issues related to insufficient inspections of agricultural products.

Why should we, in effect, subsidize foreign trade by failing to make the shippers pay for the risks inherent in shipping?

Louis A. Codispoti

Oxford

Illegal immigrants scornful of our laws

I'm sorry, but please tell me when that they changed the dictionary? When did the word "illegal" come to mean "not criminal" ("A show of diversity in Baltimore," May 2)?

Last time I checked, it meant that if you did something illegal, you were a criminal.

I have no problem with immigrants - most of us in this country are descended from immigrants in one way or another.

The difference is that legal immigrants chose to follow the laws of this country.

They entered and live in this country knowing that by choosing to do so, they accept all parts of what makes America a great country - including our laws.

Wendy Sevier

Parkton

Offer helping hand to the immigrants

In a time when significant portions of the world population wish to slit our American throats, another portion of the world's population honors us by wishing to be like us, and even to be part of our country ("A show of diversity in Baltimore," May 2).

It seems the pinnacle of arrogance to insist that they honor us in our own tongue.

How much better it would be if we offered a helping hand so that they could become like us in whatever ways they desire, without giving up all their own ways and even without leaving their own homeland.

Gary Haas

Havre de Grace

U.S. won't do much to aid world's poor

G. Jefferson Price III's column "Aid can keep would-be immigrants at home" (Opinion * Commentary, May 2) is a pie-in-the-sky fantasy.

U.S. policy has always been to exploit Central American countries and to try to keep them from falling under the sway of communism or its close cousin, socialism.

Our foreign aid is a paltry 0.15 percent of our GDP. And the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have seldom used their vast resources to benefit the poor people of underdeveloped countries.

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