Readers Respond

August 29, 2009

Abuse investigation should target Bush officials

As someone who has protested outside the Department of Justice calling for an investigation of the Bush administration's use of torture, I was glad to hear that the attorney general has appointed a special prosecutor to probe CIA abuses. Thus I read with interest the editorial "Torture is un-American" (Aug. 25).

However, we must be skeptical of the reach of the special prosecutor in this investigation. When the Abu Ghraib scandal exploded, there was an investigation. As usual, the fox targeted a few hens who were then convicted and imprisoned. One would have to be a house plant to believe that low-level operatives at Abu Ghraib operated carte blanche without direction and knowledge of the higher-ups. Balderdash.

I disagree with this point in the editorial: "No one wants to see the government paralyzed by the controversy likely to erupt if criminal charges are brought against former high-ranking agency officials and others who authorized or condoned the illegal abuses outlined in the inspector general's report."

The only way we are going to scrub out the ugly stain of torture from the fabric of U.S. foreign policy is if there are prosecutions of the Bush administration officials who were involved. Otherwise, during the next crisis, torture will again be implemented.

Max Obuszewski The writer is a member of the Baltimore City Green Party.

State leaders deserve thanks for preserving education

On behalf of the 24 local public school superintendents of Maryland, I would like to express our appreciation to Gov. Martin O'Malley, Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot for their continued efforts to not reduce public school funding for K-12 education. Governor O'Malley demonstrated last spring with the application of federal stimulus dollars that a quality education system is the long-term answer to economic viability in Maryland. Through his leadership, demonstrated Wednesday at the Board of Public Works meeting, Governor O'Malley recommitted his intention in this most difficult economic environment to keep Maryland public schools No. 1 in the United States.

Maryland superintendents fully understand that providing high-quality learning experiences for every child attending public schools in Maryland is as critical now as at any time in our history. After all, we cannot offer a poor economy as an excuse for not providing a public school experience that prepares each child for the challenges that await in the 21st century. Superintendents accept the awesome responsibility that Maryland citizens place on educators as this new school year commences.

Even though future funding decisions are dependent upon revenue proceeds for this fiscal year and projected revenues versus needs for the next several years, we appreciate the reality that in this most difficult economy our governor, treasurer and comptroller will continue to remain steadfast in their support for public education.

Carl Roberts, Perryville The writer is executive director of the Public School Superintendents' Association of Maryland.

Layoffs are O'Malley's fault

Boo hoo hoo. Poor Martin had to lay off 205 people out of 80,000. They may have been mothers and fathers, but I would bet one week of my salary that none of them were in his top 500 of his Cabinet.

Maybe he should have looked at the top and cut some of the dead weight at the top first, instead of acting like he had just left a funeral for his best friend when he was giving his television interviews. The way he talks to the people of Maryland makes me sick to my stomach, when it's all his fault by increasing all the spending that he did during his special session during November of 2007. Everyone told him he should wait after the way the economy was going, yet he didn't listen.

Dale Green, Street

Bay needs long-term plan

Regardless of our economic situation, the Chesapeake Bay has been deteriorating for much of the time we've been keeping records. "Recession a boon for bay" (Commentary, Aug. 27) takes a short-term look at how our economy affects the bay's health. The reality is this: We need strong, enforceable standards for reining in pollution that work in both good economic times and bad.

Instead of considering the bay's health as being subject to the whims of the economy, we should actively create standards to keep it clean and prevent the pollution that has plagued the bay for so long. Instead of largely voluntary measures and lax enforcement, federal and state governments need to enact effective accountability mechanisms, especially for new development and large agribusiness operations.

We're now experiencing a perfect storm for bay restoration, and we cannot afford to miss the boat. On Sept. 9, the Environmental Protection Agency will release a draft of new restoration plans called for by President Barack Obama earlier this year, and in the coming months Congress will consider a bill that could provide the EPA with needed authority. Federal and state partners must capitalize on this moment to once and for all achieve a healthy bay for our generation and the next.

Mike Sherling The writer is Environment Maryland field associate.

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