Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

April 07, 2007

Funding bills let Iraq war continue

David Sirota's analysis of Congress' actions on the supplemental Iraq war appropriations bills is interesting as a civics refresher and partisan analysis ("Protesting and legislating to end the war," Opinion

Commentary, March 30). But the column has a fundamental flaw - it ignores the fact that the bills would not end the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

The House war appropriations bill, which President Bush has threatened to veto (a veto the Democrats would not have anything like the two-thirds majority needed to override), not only has an extremely long timeline for withdrawal from Iraq (starting Aug. 31, 2008) but its loopholes could allow tens of thousands of troops to remain in Iraq indefinitely.

Last November, the voters delivered a clear mandate for peace, not a mandate to continue shoveling hundreds of billions of our tax dollars into Mr. Bush's quagmire for close to another two years or to allow tens of thousands of troops to remain in Iraq into the next president's term.

If Mr. Bush does indeed veto the bill, the Democrats have a golden opportunity to end the war by fully funding a safe and orderly withdrawal of all U.S. troops, contractors and bases.

They should also improve benefits for returning troops and make a down payment on the enormous debt we owe the people of Iraq for reparations and reconstruction of their devastated country.

The only way to support the troops is to bring them home to their families as soon as possible - by the end of this year at the absolute latest.

Kevin Martin

Silver Spring

The writer is executive director of Peace Action.

Withdrawing troops won't end conflict

Opponents loudly condemn the president for his handling of the war ("Bush assails Democrats over bill on war funding," April 4). He, in turn, has asked these Monday morning quarterbacks to present a better plan. They never could.

But now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrats have a plan: Cut off funding for the war and start withdrawing our troops before the end of 2008.

Liberals want to save Americans by getting out of Iraq.

But how do the more than 3,000 U.S. casualties in four years of war compare with our loss of nearly that many citizens in one hour on Sept. 11, 2001?

Withdrawal from Iraq is not a solution; it is a surrender that would allow militants to claim victory and embark on whatever misadventures they desire.

Iran provides funding, munitions and other supplies to Iraq's militants. Its supply of warriors and suicide bombers is endless. And these fundamentalists, left unchallenged, will recruit, equip and train a whole new army of fanatics.

President Bush is dealing with a civil war that we did not start and do not want but cannot abandon.

The fact that many people do not like this war is irrelevant. It is here, and it is time for Americans to rally behind the flag and support our president.

We must continue taking the war to the militants or they will surely bring it to us.

John M. Hooligan

Pasadena

Rewarding illegals wastes resources

I was born in Maryland and lived there for 34 years. I started working at the age of 14 and paid Maryland income taxes for 20 years. I am a graduate of the University of Maryland and the University of Maryland School of Law.

Despite these significant ties to Maryland, my daughters are not eligible for in-state tuition at my alma mater because my employer transferred me to Pennsylvania in 2002.

In The Sun's article "O'Malley boosts tuition measure" (March 29), state Sen. Gwendolyn T. Britt said the students who would be helped by the legislation to allow illegal aliens who are Maryland residents to pay in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities did not make the choice to defy U.S. immigration rules but typically were brought here by their parents.

Well, my children did not make the choice to move to Pennsylvania. My wife and I brought them here.

Under Ms. Britt's logic, my children should receive in-state tuition in Maryland, too.

Our nation's shores are open to those who want to seek opportunity - as long as they do it the right way.

I find it inconceivable that Maryland would dilute the scarce resource of taxpayer dollars available for public education by giving in-state tuition to people who do not have the legal right to be here.

G. Scott Riekers

Lancaster, Pa.

Illegal workers pose threat to our port

Having witnessed firsthand the death, destruction, and mayhem in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, I am appalled to learn that local maritime firms have been hiring illegal immigrants to load and unload cargo at their Baltimore marine facilities ("Illegal workers arrested," March 30).

Some of these firms operate just hundreds of yards from Baltimore's Inner Harbor, and also near our revered Fort McHenry, the birthplace to our national anthem.

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