Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 27, 2007

Patience with war finally runs out

With the backing of distinguished war veterans such as Democratic Reps. John P. Murtha and Patrick J. Murphy, the House of Representatives balanced its responsibilities to our soldiers and to represent the will of the American people by voting for continued funding of the Iraq war but also to end our occupation of Iraq by August 2008 ("House OKs troop exit by Aug. '08," March 24).

Predictably, the president and his minions are not satisfied, insisting on an open-ended conflict that will devour thousands more of our soldiers and hundreds of billions more dollars of borrowed money.

The administration's strategy is clear: to disparage opponents of the war as appeasers of terrorists and as disingenuous.

It is regrettable that a deadline for withdrawal had to be set. But this occurred only after Congress had given the president countless chances to develop an exit strategy and Mr. Bush made it obvious that he has no intention of departing Iraq before the end of his term.

We have been in Iraq for longer than we were involved in World War II. Leaving in August 2008 would mean U.S. troops would have been in Iraq for almost six years, which can hardly be tarred as a "cut-and-run" strategy.

Most Americans agree wholeheartedly with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her characterization of the war as a "grotesque mistake" and with Mr. Murphy's statement that it is not appropriate for us to indefinitely attempt to stand between opposing factions in a civil war in a nation whose government has consistently failed to take responsibility for its security.

Congress has been extremely generous with the president.

It will now become even more clear to the American people that President Bush does not stand with us or the troops; he is completely out of step with the nation.

Oren M. Spiegler

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Playing pure politics with lives of troops

The irresponsibility shown by House Democrats in voting on Friday to cut off funding for our brave men and women fighting the war against terror in Iraq after August 2008 is deplorable and must be condemned in the strongest way ("House OKs troop exit by Aug. '08," March 24). What the Democrats have done by this irresponsible action is to embolden all the world's terrorists and insurgents.

The left-wing Democrats are playing politics with the lives of our troops. Their actions endanger our national security in the worst possible way.

If this deplorable legislation reaches the president's desk, it must be vetoed.

Al Eisner

Wheaton

High taxes squeeze people out of state

I agree with The Sun that "congestion and the high cost of housing" are "the likely culprits" in Maryland's loss of citizens in the Census Bureau's 2006 population estimate ("Squeezed out," editorial, March 23).

But those matters have been impacting most other metropolitan areas in our country for years. And curiously, the editorial fails to identify two other glaring Maryland problems that are not so universal: exorbitantly high taxes and fees at the state and local levels and Maryland's negative image as a state with an anti-business legislature.

It's very hard to think well of your home state while at the same time paying a sales tax on most goods purchased in the state or brought across its borders. And just ask anyone involved in the sale or purchase of a house about settlement fees and transfer taxes.

Dennis W. Kreiner

Phoenix

Find the funding to secure our votes

I was pleased to read in Friday's "Capital Notebook" that the House of Delegates unanimously approved a plan for paper records for the state's voting machines ("Paper voting records approved," March 23).

At the same time, I was disheartened and dismayed to read that the $16 million needed to implement the system might not be available.

What is more important in a democracy than ensuring the integrity of the voting system?

The legislature must find the necessary funds to protect our votes.

One place to start was discussed in another "Capital Notebook" item.

At least for a year, eliminate some or all of the $11 million legislators use to dole out scholarships to state colleges and use the money to implement the new voting system ("Bill limits legislators' scholarship power," March 23).

Michael Hughes

Ellicott City

CEO model wrong solution for schools

It's easy to understand Andy Smarick's acute frustration as a member of the Governor's Commission on Quality Education ("Try new approach to city schools CEO," Opinion

Commentary, March 20).

Schools in Baltimore, like those in other cities across the country, are reeling from criticism about their inability to educate students to meet the demands of the global economy.

But in his attempt to change matters in Baltimore, Mr. Smarick advocates the adoption of an outdated business leadership model.

The latest thinking is that even the most talented CEOs can't change companies on their own. They need to find a way to foster a team mentality that permeates all employees.

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