Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 09, 2007

Escalating the war only adds to costs

In the prelude to the Iraq war, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki stated that it would take several hundred thousand troops to conquer and stabilize Iraq.

General Shinseki was mocked and undercut by most of the Bush administration.

Now four years and more than 25,000 American casualties later, the Bush administration's "new" policy apparently will be a "surge" in U.S. troops to tamp down the insurgency because existing forces have been unable to establish order after years of fighting ("General: `Surge' in Iraq not enough," Jan. 8).

For those of us old enough to remember the Vietnam War, this sounds eerily reminiscent of the Johnson administration's failed escalation policy.

An escalation at this point in the war is likely to cause more American casualties and inflame the fierce hatred in the Muslim world that breeds the recruits that sustain this insurgency and al-Qaida.

When Bush economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey stated that it would cost $100 billion to $200 billion to invade and stabilize Iraq, he was criticized and later removed from his position.

Now, after hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent, estimates for the ultimate cost of this war range from $600 billion to more than $1 trillion. How much more will Mr. Bush's proposed escalation add to these estimates?

Meanwhile, a recent survey of how well our emergency responders are prepared to face another 9/11-type scenario shows that the majority of jurisdictions still do not have the communication equipment and other resources necessary to function effectively.

Ironically, those championing funding to provide domestic security and emergency responders with adequate resources are being questioned on where they would find the money to fund these needs.

Instead of the bottomless pit Iraq has become, how much safer would we be if we had used the money and the troops to secure our borders, airports and ports as well as beef up international policing efforts to track down terrorists abroad?

Michael Caughlin Sr.

Parkville

Rethinking policy isn't very promising

We are now awaiting President Bush's decision about the future of the war in Iraq ("Bush to unveil Iraq strategy," Jan. 5). However, we should not take great comfort from the fact that he is rethinking his policy. It is clear that most of his decisions to date have been wrong.

We remember the alleged weapons of mass destruction and the claims about connections between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein's regime. We were told that we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq.

We know that the decisions to disband the Iraqi army and to de-Baathify the government actually created thousands of new insurgents.

Despite recommendations from his military people, Mr. Bush and his advisers refused to send the appropriate number of troops to fight the war.

We also know the president had no plan to secure the peace once Baghdad fell. And it is apparent that he is not heeding the advice of the Iraq Study Group and other advisers.

So why now should we believe in his future strategies for this war?

Braxton Andrews

Baltimore

Shipping rules keep wines out of state

The Sun's article "Panels find bargains in bottles for wine fans" (Jan. 3), which was reprinted from the Chicago Tribune, ends with the parenthetical comment that the wines featured in the article should be widely available.

That may be true in Chicago, but it isn't true here.

In fact, more than half the wines mentioned in the article are not distributed in Maryland because Maryland doesn't allow out-of state wineries to ship wine directly to liquor stores or consumers.

I wish this weren't true. I would love to carry some of the wines the article mentioned in my store.

But instead, I will be disappointing readers who clip out the article and bring it in to search out these bargains.

Paul Wright

Baltimore

The writer is manager of a liquor store.

Do we need drugs to keep dogs fit?

Have we really lost control of how much we feed our animals and the types of treats we give them ("First weight-loss drug for dogs is approved by government," Jan. 6)? I've yet to see the dog that can use a can opener or open a refrigerator.

Dogs and people are obese for the same reason - they consume more calories than they burn.

It's time for all of us to start taking some responsibility for our actions.

Lawrence Silberman

Burtonsville

Mitchell's subterfuge may hurt candidacy

I don't think Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. understands why many of us who might otherwise be attracted to his candidacy are now so wary of him ("Keiffer Mitchell to run for mayor," Jan. 6).

In commenting about the objections to his sneaking (there's no other word for it) the removal of protections from historic rowhouses on St. Paul Street through the City Council ("Houses stripped of protection," Nov. 26), he stated, "I was looking at the big picture. I knew there'd be heat."

Thus he justifies his subterfuge by the good that will, in his estimation, result from it.

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