Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 08, 2007

Support for troops is only lip service

Last week, light was held up to two harsh examples of dishonoring our disabled soldiers, with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates' dismissal of two top officials at Walter Reed Army Medical Center ("Army secretary forced from job," March 3) and Bob Woodruff's reports on ABC about care for soldiers with traumatic brain injuries.

Those examples demonstrated, once again, that the Bush administration's support for our troops does not go beyond lip service.

For five years now, we have listened to members of this administration admonish those who challenged and criticized any aspect of the "war on terrorism."

Those critics have been accused of being unpatriotic and of threatening the safety and morale of our troops with remarks that questioned our country's motives and strategies.

The Walter Reed expos? showed us the inferior accommodations that returning soldiers endure at what had been considered one of the military's premier medical facilities.

Mr. Woodruff's interviews with returning wounded soldiers and military officials revealed the evasion and denial about the number and severity of casualties from this war.

This is a travesty. Our troops deserve better than a rally call to "Support Our Troops."

They deserve better protection while in harm's way, and they deserve better medical care for their physical and psychological injuries.

And equally important, they deserve an honest acknowledgment of their experiences at home and on the battlefield.

Barbara Barnow

Ellicott City

Where was Congress as soldiers suffered?

The questioning by members of Congress of Army higher-ups and their claims that they were surprised by recent disclosures about soldiers who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan and were treated shabbily raises an interesting issue: Just how many soldiers and their families asked their representatives in Congress for help ("Army brass lashed over Walter Reed," March 6)?

Soldiers routinely contact their representatives over more-mundane problems.

So it's inconceivable to me that something as horrific as inadequate medical care, sub-standard facilities and the bureaucratic nightmare at Walter Reed and other Veterans Affairs facilities wouldn't have resulted in a deluge of calls and letters to Congress.

It would be interesting to turn the questions around and ask why Congress was surprised by the reports of mistreatment of soldiers.

Lisa Mohan

Stewartstown, Pa.

Exploiting troops to cover bad policy

This administration has eroded our war-fighting ability (and worldwide credibility) to an astonishing degree.

From the scandal of inadequate body armor for the troops to aged equipment to the mistreatment of patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center ("Army brass lashed over Walter Reed," March 6), there is only one conclusion that can be drawn: This administration is using the troops as a propaganda tool to cover its failed, self-serving policies.

It is not for the Democrats to answer to accusations of being unpatriotic and unsupportive of the troops.

Instead, they should accuse the administration of gross negligence and corruption.

Frank R. Walsh

Catonsville

Gas tax first salvo in state money grab

Congratulations, voters of Maryland. You asked for it and you got it: An exorbitant gas tax increase has been proposed by state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller ("Let the battle of the budget begin," March 1).

But wait: I bet there are more goodies in the General Assembly's bag of tricks.

Just think, we can look forward to an expansion of the sales tax to include certain services, and even better, an increase in the sales tax itself.

These taxes will surely improve our quality of life, particularly for the illegal immigrant population, which may be granted in-state tuition rates at state universities.

Voters, this is just the beginning: There surely will be more creative thinking in Annapolis about how to pick our pockets.

Just wait and see.

Anne McCloskey

Towson

The threat of death deters jail killings

Once again, a correctional officer has been attacked by an inmate, although this time, thankfully, the guard was not murdered ("Inmate stabs guard," March 3). Once again, the inmate was serving a sentence of life without parole for murder.

Gov. Martin O'Malley makes an appearance, bemoans the fact that this occurred, and suggests the state will act to create a safer prison environment.

Meanwhile, the governor and some other members of his party in Annapolis are doing their best to repeal Maryland's death penalty.

Without a death penalty, an inmate serving a life sentence knows that that he cannot be punished any more than he already is, so he can, literally, get away with murder.

Here's what we can do, Mr. O'Malley: not repeal the death penalty but use it more frequently and more quickly.

This would deter inmates from doing such things. And if one does so, he won't do it again.

Clay Seeley

Owings Mills

Eliminate archaic act of vengeance

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