Time to help troops return to civilian life


November 27, 2006

The Sun's article "Soldier gets 90 years in attack" (Nov. 17) recounts a sad and unfortunate incident for Spc. James P. Barker and his fellow soldiers, as well as for America.

While Specialist Barker must pay for his bad judgment and insensitivity, as supporters of an unjustified attack on another country, we citizens must also bear some of the guilt.

Specialist Barker said the violence he encountered in Iraq left him "angry and mean" toward Iraqis.

I am certain there are many other young soldiers who feel the same anger. That anger can be attributed to seeing their comrades injured or dying right before their eyes.

Young men such as Mr. Barker were given a duty to their country for which they may not have been properly prepared.

And our biggest problem now is to figure out how we will help such young men when they (and especially the mentally and physically damaged soldiers) return home.

We cannot afford to ignore these men as was done after past wars.

And I only hope that this conflict ends soon, so that our casualties of war can be minimized or ended.

Karen Webb


Don't blame the AP for holiday headline

The Sun's article "Stores revert to `Merry Christmas'" (Nov. 24) notes that the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights mentioned the Associated Press on its list of offenders who fail to acknowledge Christmas because of "an Associated Press headline writer who referred to `Holiday trees.'"

I retired from the Associated Press after 31 years, including 19 as bureau chief in Baltimore, and I have never heard of an AP headline writer.

The AP leaves that job to the newspapers.

John Woodfield

Forest Hill

Criticisms of church suggest a real bias

I understand that the role of a columnist is to share with readers his or her personal biases and viewpoints. But this should be done with a degree of civility and respect. And the comments in Jean Marbella's column "Blogger is an atypical Catholic advocate" (Nov. 17) go beyond a personal bias and instead come across as mean-spirited prejudice.

Optimistically, I hope her prejudice is based merely upon ignorance. Pessimistically, I fear it may be based upon some deep-seated animosity toward Catholics.

Even the title of her column, which referred to the blogger as an "atypical Catholic advocate," indicates that she has no idea of the healthy and robust dialogue that goes on within the church.

Perhaps her most poorly phrased comment was her condescending statement that "maybe there is hope for the Catholic Church after all."

Apparently she had some concern, prior to meeting a blogger, that an institution which has survived for 2,000 years was in desperate jeopardy.

John Egan

Hunt Valley

Stop setting aside state smoking ban

Why, oh why is the state of Maryland dragging its feet on a smoking ban ("Panel backs ban on smoking," Nov. 21)?

With all the evidence pointing to the many health risks from smoking and secondhand smoke, this issue is a no-brainer.

How many more citizens must we lose?

Don't the citizens of Maryland deserve better?

Frances Szymanski


Congress must stop credit card rip-offs

The Sun's article "Odd credit-card fees stir calls for reform" (Nov. 19) shows that some of the most shameless corporations in America are the credit-card companies.

Having managed to addict many Americans to personal indebtedness, these companies are now taking advantage of them with practices such as charging $10 to $15 just to pay their credit-card bill by phone, assessing penalties on late payments - not only on the balance due but on that part of the bill which has already been paid - and raising interest rates on accounts fully paid up if the credit-card holder is late on a bill from another company.

Stopping this corporate thievery should be a no-brainer for our do-nothing Congress.

But don't hold your breath.

Howard Bluth


Delaware is delaying I-95 improvements

My family and I are surely not alone in our outrage over the 24/7 "parking lot" they call Interstate 95 in Delaware.

You'd think that, with the country's highest toll-rate per mile, and only 11 miles to manage, the Delaware Turnpike Authority could make the road passable in less than the 15 to 20 years a spokesman for the Delaware Department of Transportation says its improvements to I-95 will take ("Del. reopens I-95 lanes just in time for holiday rush," Nov. 22).

But since Delaware seems to have such disregard for the millions of out-of-staters who have no choice but to rely on this major East Coast artery, might I suggest that Maryland and New Jersey each start an "adopt-a-highway" program for Delaware to help out our little neighbor.

Jenny Beatty


Plymouth colonists weren't the first

Although The Sun's article "Hurricane of 1635 battered Mass. settlers" (Nov. 23) offered an interesting account of a 1635 hurricane, I wonder how the author could state that the hurricane was "the first major storm suffered by the first North American settlers, just 14 years after the initial Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth Colony."

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