Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 16, 2007

Ex-general speaks on war way too late

The subheading of The Sun's article "U.S. leaders called `derelict' on Iraq" (Oct. 13) said, "Ex-commanding general harshly criticizes lack of planning for war."

When asked why he had not spoken out previously, retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez responded that active-duty generals should not stand against the political leadership lest they undermine the constitutional principle of civilian rule.

But Mr. Sanchez had another choice.

Rather than lead soldiers into what he calls a "catastrophically flawed" situation, he could have resigned his commission and then spoken out.

When then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki spoke out about the poor planning for the war in Iraq, he was publicly ridiculed by then-Defense Secretary Donald T. Rumsfeld and pushed to resign, but not court-martialed.

If more generals had followed General Shinseki's lead, we might have avoided what Mr. Sanchez now labels "a nightmare with no end in sight."

Joseph R. Cowen

Baltimore

Attitudes of Turkey, Iran sadly similar

Some of the harshest criticism of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has focused, justifiably, on his denial of the Holocaust.

Yet the denial of the Armenian genocide by Turkey, in which more than 1 million Armenians were killed, has been treated as a trivial event ("House vote angers Turks," Oct. 11).

But how is Turkey's attitude any different from Mr. Ahmadinejad's treatment of the Jewish Holocaust?

Larry Brooks

Phoenix

It's time for Turkey to face past honestly

It's time for Turkey to admit the genocide of more than 1 million Armenians in 1915 and act like a responsible member of the world community ("Turkey recalls envoy over genocide charge," Oct. 12).

Recalling its ambassador to the United States and threatening to "cut logistical support to the U.S." and send troops into northern Iraq to hunt Kurdish rebels - among other threats Turkey has made in response to a House committee's endorsement of the Armenian genocide resolution - are part of a familiar pattern of saber-rattling and denial that Turkey has engaged in for 92 years.

If Turkey will not admit its history, it would be fitting for President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to advocate responsibility and a commitment to historical truth from Turkey - which could initiate a process of diplomacy leading to reconciliation and redemption for all parties - instead of bowing to Turkish threats.

Anne T. Booher

Baltimore

House should focus on current crises

If the members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee can find nothing more important to do than to rehash old history, perhaps another set of members could find something more important to do ("Turkey recalls envoy over genocide charge," Oct. 12).

Although some of the representatives on the committee were not there when this disastrous war in Iraq began, more focus on current foreign affairs might help avert some disaster in the future.

G. M. Naul

Chestertown

Leaders arrogant on tax proposals

Wasn't it democratic of Gov. Martin O'Malley to announce that he is considering a referendum on slots in Maryland ("O'Malley crusades for session," Oct. 11)?

It's awfully nice of him to think that those of us who will bear the burden of his revenue enhancement extravaganza might have some slight say in the whole affair.

And then we come to state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, the handmaiden of slots interests, who pronounced Mr. O'Malley's suggestion "ludicrous."

The overweening arrogance of those in control of the levers of this state is frequently beyond credulity.

Yet, like lemmings racing for a precipice, Maryland voters elect and re-elect these people, forgetting that Maryland's current budget bind, just like the electricity rate increases, is directly attributable to actions of the Democrat-controlled General Assembly and State House.

Robert A. Erlandson

Towson

Medical marijuana is a medical fraud

In response to Steve Chapman's column "Pot helps; policy hurts" (Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 8), I would like to commend Sen. John McCain, who hit the nail on the head regarding the medical fraud of legalized marijuana issue.

I would also like to rebuke Mr. Chapman for his weak attempt to jump on the compassion bandwagon.

Every major national medical organization in this country rejects smoked marijuana as a legitimate medicine.

Why? Because smoking is a poor way to deliver medicine of any kind; it is impossible to administer safe, regulated doses of medicine that way.

The bottom line is that most people with fatal diseases are not smoking pot to treat them - they are under the care and supervision of responsible doctors and receiving valid medicines for their ailments.

Unfortunately, some truly sick people have been duped into believing pot is helping them when, in fact, not only is it harming them but treating their ailments with marijuana might deny them access to legitimate medical care.

Calvina L. Fay

St. Petersburg, Fla.

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