Letters To The Editor


June 12, 2008

Invasion augments the power of Iran

The problem Brooks Tucker overlooks with our occupation of Iraq is this: We have inserted ourselves into a competition between Saudi-backed Sunnis and Iranian-backed Shiites for control of the oil-rich regions of Iraq ("Iraq and the reality of hope," Commentary, June 5).

In this conflict, the Bush administration has allied itself with the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq, the political party running the Iraqi government. Both this party and its militia have strong historic ties to the Islamic dictatorship of Iran, having been financed, armed, trained and provided with haven for years by Iran's government.

Two months ago the government of Iraq celebrated the visit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, with a massive street demonstration in Baghdad (with security provided courtesy of the U.S. Army).

In return, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made a friendly state visit to Tehran this week ("Al-Maliki reassures Iran over U.S. security pact," June 9).

Most Americans would be shocked to hear that our main allies in Iraq are so tightly tied to Iran. But it is the case.

The strategic conundrum of the Bush administration's war in Iraq lies in fact that the chief beneficiary of it has been the Islamic dictatorship of Iran - whose hand in Persian Gulf and Islamic affairs has been enormously strengthened as a result of the United States' destruction of Iran's greatest local enemy, Saddam Hussein.

President Ronald Reagan allied the United States with Mr. Hussein in order to hold back Iran and preserve the balance of power in the Persian Gulf.

That regional balance of power has now shifted to Iran as a direct result of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

Indeed, last Thursday, the day Mr. Tucker's column appeared, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report concluding there was evidence the Bush administration was targeted by an Iranian intelligence operation designed to lure it into invading Iraq and unseating Mr. Hussein ("Senate committee rebukes Bush," June 6).

Despite eight visits to Iraq, Sen. John McCain still appears to be innocent of any knowledge of this central strategic problem.

John Fries, Timonium

Investing in wind creates little power

The Sun's editorial "Plugging into a windfall" (June 8) does justice to the complaint filed by Maryland's Public Service Commission and a coalition of regulators and consumer groups regarding charges (which could be up to $12 billion by 2011) for power capacity that may never be produced.

Here's one reason that capacity may never be built.

Last year, Maryland's General Assembly passed legislation requiring utilities to purchase 20 percent of their future electricity power from renewable sources, knowing that 75 percent to 90 percent of that energy would come from wind technology.

But 1,000 megawatts of installed wind capacity, at a capital cost of about $2 billion (much of which will be subsidized by taxpayers), would actually produce less than 300 megawatts of sporadic energy.

Wishful thinking is no substitute for power on demand.

Jon Boone, Oakland

Suppliers produce more power now

The Sun's editorial "Plugging into a windfall" (June 8) points out the challenges of financing new power generation plants at a time of rapidly rising costs but mistakenly focuses solely on building new power generation capacity.

By contrast, the PJM Interconnection's "reliability pricing model" is designed to get the most out of existing plants as well as to facilitate building new ones.

Thus the complaint filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the editorial favorably referenced will make matters worse for consumers instead of better.

The complaint seeks to retroactively overturn wholesale power auctions that were already held - auctions whose results have been found to be fair and competitive by PJM's independent market monitor.

Power suppliers are investing today based on those auctions to increase output from existing power plants and to avoid retiring other plants.

John E. Shelk, Washington

The writer is president and CEO of the Electric Power Supply Association, a trade association representing competitive power suppliers.

Wasting resources even as costs soar

I read of Marylanders' pain at the pump but still see people driving recklessly in oversized, over-consuming vehicles every day ("Average gas price hits $4," June 9).

I hear of Marylanders' frustration with the cost of living but still see them traveling endless miles from home to work, shopping and entertainment.

I know the true cost of buying food flown in from halfway around the world and toys with deadly components but see no call to support local farmers or encourage American goods and businesses.

Many of our elected leaders see no problem with cutting the tops off mountains for coal while rejecting the idea of cutting renewable trees to foster less destructive and less polluting wind fuel.

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