Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

March 31, 2007

President politicized the troops' mission

The American people spoke clearly in November and said that they wanted to end our occupation of Iraq. The most noticeable improvement thus far as a result of the election has been the debate and dialogue that had been missing as the secretive Republican-led Congress allowed President Bush to do as he pleased.

As this dialogue has progressed, Congress is now attempting to use its fiscal powers to force this war to a close ("Congress, Bush in test of wills," March 29).

This is being met by sharp criticism from the war hawks, who are claiming that such congressional action would be a transgression against our troops in Iraq.

But let's be clear about who is guilty of recklessly endangering U.S. troops and politicizing their deployment.

It was wrong to send troops into a war based on faulty intelligence and with a constantly changing rationale for the war.

It was wrong to send troops into a war in insufficient numbers to complete the mission and with second-rate weapons and equipment.

It was wrong to send troops into a war with an unclear and poorly planned mission. It was wrong to put the military on a war footing and tell the rest of the country to go shopping.

It was wrong to allow the war to drag on for four years with no apparent exit strategy, wrong to involve U.S. troops in a foreign civil war, wrong to allow the same soldiers to be sent back time and time again, wrong to house wounded soldiers in shabby conditions upon their return.

It is now time to bring our troops home or deploy them to track down Osama bin Laden in the same way that they found Saddam Hussein.

Today, let's let the Iraqi people control their destiny, and let us Americans never repeat the foolish decisions of the past four years.

Doug Ebbert

Bel Air

Giving up on Iraq won't end the war

Democratic leaders and some Republicans are preaching that we should stop the war and bring our troops home ("Congress, Bush in test of wills," March 29).

I would agree 100 percent - if we could stop the war. But what war are they talking about?

The present war in Iraq is not a war with Iraq; it is a war with those who strive to overpower us and control us.

It is naive to think that if we just brought our troops home, the hate would dissipate.

The West has been at war with elements of the Arab-Muslim world for hundreds of years - elements that see us as infidels and do not recognize our notions of equality and freedom.

The bombings of the USS Cole, the Marine barracks in Beirut and the World Trade Center in 1993 and again in 2001 are just a few of the modern-day attacks we have experienced.

The bombings in the Spanish and British train systems and in the tourist areas of Egypt and Bali are among the other recent attacks aimed at Western culture.

If we stop fighting in Iraq, we won't stop the fighting; we will just move the battlefield much closer to home.

Bernard Cataldo

Baltimore

Stop tolerating shady politicians

After 50 years of living in the Baltimore area and observing our political scene, I can say that I am now embarrassed to be a white male.

Regardless of whether former state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell is guilty or innocent of the charges against him, he has shown himself to be morally bankrupt and deficient in class and integrity ("Bromwell's swaggering words," March 25).

He is a poster child for term limits and a perfect example of closet racism.

I would be less upset if I hadn't seen this sort of massive vanity over and over again in many Maryland politicians over the years.

The sad reality is that most of the worst ones have been white males who are part of the "old boy" network.

I don't know whether I'm more disgusted by Mr. Bromwell's behavior or by that of the lemmings who keep voting the arrogant jerks into office.

Voters in this state need to stop adoring and idolizing these people and start treating them as what they are - poor public servants.

Jim Clark

Towson

Transfer tax helps save open spaces

I reject the idea that the real estate transfer tax is bad public policy when this program has helped create 4,350 parks, playgrounds and recreational areas and helped protect more than 800,000 acres of Maryland lands ("Maryland's troubling transfer tax," Opinion

Commentary, March 22).

Since 1969, the transfer tax has been the foundation of state land conservation programs such as Program Open Space and the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation that have made Maryland a national leader in land conservation.

Because of this reliable and substantial funding source, Maryland has been able to preserve working farms and forests, protect critical wildlife habitat, conserve lands that protect the Chesapeake Bay and ensure local governments can protect open space and provide recreational opportunities.

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