Letters To The Editor


July 06, 2006

U.S. blocks progress on small-arms limits

John Hillen's column "Small arms, big danger" (Opinion * Commentary, July 3) rightly highlights the importance of the United Nations' ongoing Small Arms Review Conference in New York but neglects to mention the intransigence the United States has shown on future United Nations efforts on the issue.

Mr. Hillen states that "the United States will make the case that its laws, practices and enforcement procedures are effective models other nations should follow."

However, the United States has not yet proposed alternative ways for the United Nations to move the global small-arms control process forward.

The United States complains that the 2001 U.N. Program of Action on Small Arms is not being adequately implemented. Yet the United States blocked a program with stronger enforcement and accountability measures during the 2001 negotiations.

Furthermore, while the United States does have one of the best records on implementation of the plan, it is not leading the process and instead expects all other countries to accept the U.S. position that mandatory U.N. follow-up measures are not essential.

With 1,000 people dying every day from small-arms proliferation and misuse, it is clear the international community must do more to stop this deadly scourge.

I applaud the United States for taking its obligations under the U.N. Program of Action on Small Arms so seriously.

Unfortunately, many other countries do not, and the United States could be playing a leading role to strengthen the U.N. process to ensure that global action on small arms continues and is meaningful.

But instead of promoting a way forward that encourages states to do more, the United States unfortunately appears to be ready to abandon the U.N. process entirely.

Rachel Stohl


The writer is a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information.

Let Iraqis decide when we go home

The Sun's excellent editorial "How do you stand down?" (June 27) deserves an answer.

It is not up to the Bush administration as to when we "stand down."

It is up to the Iraqis, and Iraq's new prime minister and national security adviser have said as much.

When the Iraqis are ready to do so, they will tell us to get out.

Of course the Bush administration could refuse to leave, which would reveal that the real reason for its war of choice all along was to secure U.S. access to Iraq's oil and improve the strategic position of Israel in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the killing goes on unabated.

Fariborz S. Fatemi

McLean, Va.

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

Israel has shown admirable restraint

One of The Sun's articles on Israel's attempt to force the release of a kidnapped solider, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, revealed that several "human rights" organizations have questioned sharply the need for Israel to strike at such installations as the territory's main electrical transformer ("Hamas leader critical of ministers' capture," July 1).

Apparently these "human rights" organizations value buildings more than human life.

Israel has shown great restraint in trying to minimize civilian casualties while pursuing its goal of rescuing Corporal Shalit.

Tillie Lapidus


Are we just learning that fuel is limited?

The Sun's description of how an Aberdeen family is responding to increased electricity rates was disturbingly illuminating ("Turn it down, switch it off," July 1).

It is obvious that the parents are just now paying attention to electricity consumption, presumably because the rates are jumping higher.

But why aren't the children already accustomed to turning off unneeded lights and keeping the door shut?

Did the parents think in the past that energy was of such unlimited supply that they didn't need to teach their kids how to save money and preserve the world's resources?

John Walther


Ruling for Clark merits more ink

When The Sun is done with its love-fest with the O'Malley administration, will it let the rest of us know?

How can The Sun relegate its article about former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark winning his appeal of the case regarding his firing against Mayor Martin O'Malley in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to the inside of the Maryland section ("Appeals court reinstates ex-police chief's suit," July 1), giving it hardly the coverage it gave Mr. Clark's dismissal?

If the Maryland Court of Appeals does not accept the case and reverse this decision, Mr. Clark may have the legal right to return to the office of Baltimore police commissioner.

Moreover, all of his economic damages for being out of work for nearly two years will have to be repaid, and you know where Mr. O'Malley will find that money: the city treasury.

This is a major story, and it deserves the same front-page coverage that The Sun offered when Mr. O'Malley removed Mr. Clark back in November 2004 ("Clark was asked to resign, mayor says," Nov. 19, 2004).

Howard Hoffman


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