Now or NeverEditor: Due to the Gulf...

Now or Never

Editor: Due to the Gulf crisis, Saudi Arabia is reaping a huge windfall from rising oil prices. We should demand that the Saudis use it to reimburse us for using our forces to defend them.


War is not a desirable option. As a veteran of World War II, I understand the horrors of war. However, as in World War II, some things are more horrible than war.

Saddam Hussein must be stopped. He cannot be allowed to have a strangle-hold on the world's economy. He cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. We will have to fight him sooner or later. Later could be much worse as he continues to develop his arsenal. Sanctions are a trap to break our will and unravel our alliances.


Air and sea power, at this time, could virtually destroy Saddam Hussein. If necessary, we should use tactical nuclear weapons to finish off his ground forces. American casualties could be held to a minimum.

Marvin H. Kolodkin.


Expel Keating 5

Editor: There is good reason to believe that Congress has been corrupted by campaign money and the desire by our elected officials to get and spend ever-increasing quantities in their campaigns.

Many of our elected officials have become more beholden to the larger campaign contributors, frequently out-of-state contributors, than to their ordinary constituents or even their own consciences.

I've seen very little evidence that either house is making an effort to correct the abuses. A large percentage of our electorate is disaffected; barely more than 50 percent vote in presidential elections and perhaps not more than one-third in congressional elections. The rest of us are outraged.

We're now having hearings about the Keating Five, those five senators who were corrupted by the big money offered by Charles Keating. It makes little difference whether these senators acted foolishly, improperly, unethically or even illegally. These five senators have already been judged by public perception and have lost their significance to their constituents and have besmirched the Senate.


I had hoped they would resign, but no, they are stonewalling. They should be expelled. The Senate cannot be permitted to choose between their cronies and their constituents. We should not have government by cozy arrangement.

himon Mednick.


Condoms in School

Editor: This letter is written in response to your recent articl concerning Baltimore City high schools adopting the distribution condoms. I find this appalling.

The distribution of condoms in high school is sending a subliminal message to those who are not sexually active -- that it's "okay" to get involved, as long as you are protected. Those students who are sexually active are aware that condoms can be obtained at hundreds of locations throughout the city in the "Three-for-Free" Program.


It is the responsibility of the school system to educate young people in all levels of life. Sex education should include the methods of birth control that are available. However, it is not the function of schools to provide birth control.

Yes, we have a problem with teen-age pregnancy. But, the distribution of condoms in schools may only invite others to get the condoms and become sexually active.

Is this opening "Pandora's Box"? Will the next step be to give them freedom of choice of their birth control method by distributing birth control pills, diaphragms and spermicidals?

ean Radcliffe.


War Hysteria


Editor: At this critical juncture in our history, before sending our youth into combat, it is important for concerned citizens to decide whether it would be a just and honorable cause.

I am referring, of course, to the current war hysteria over East Virginia's impending invasion of its neighbor, West Virginia, ostensibly to right a 130-year wrong; that of Abraham Lincoln tearing off part of secessionist Virginia in order to create a pro-union state.

L Several vital issues must be considered by all Marylanders:

1. It is unlikely that another drawn-out living-room war, such as the current one between Baltimore and Annapolis, would be tolerated in this day and age. When the mini-cams display the carnage at the battle of Kings Dominion, how will it affect our resolve?

2. What are we really fighting for? Sure, we pay lip service to the rights of a sovereign state. But one must wonder if our real concern is the instability caused by potential price increases at Busch Garden. Keep in mind, however, that this crisis is our own fault. Had we formulated a sensible amusement park policy years ago, we could not have our lives affected by this blackmail.

3. Effective war demands effective leadership. This requires the mayor, the governor and the state legislature to get along with each other. 'Nuff said.


4. Should we win, what would we do with the vanquished? Perhaps a humane reconstruction is in order for the rank-and-file. We could, for example, allow northern Virginians to retain their athletic club memberships. But what about the war leaders? Hang Governor Wilder? (No,too tacky.) Put him on the radio with Tom Marr? (Too cruel to consider.)

So let us not act in haste before sending our men and women in yellow-and-black to fight.

When PBS runs the epic 11 1/2 -minute documentary, Civil War II, may we look back in pride, knowing that thanks to our commitment to righteous justice and decency, democracy is once again thriving in Delmarva and the world.

Howard B. Caplan.


No Confidence in Hunter


Editor: I read the news article, "Schmoke wants prompt decision on Hunter's job" (Dec. 9) by Kathy Lally with a sense of increasing despair and disbelief. I am a city resident, taxpayer and parent of a school-aged child. I have watched my neighbors in recent years leave the city because taxes are so high and the public schools are so bad.

Nothing Richard Hunter has done in more than two years in his job as superintendent of schools has encouraged renewed confidence in the public schools. The school board in its evaluation of his performance seems to agree.

Instead of grading his performance as "excellent" or "good," it gave Dr. Hunter the lowest grade it could, short of "unsatisfactory," which would have been a political act tantamount to a non-negotiable call for his dismissal or non-renewal.

According to the article, Dr. Hunter previously stopped the mayor from demanding his dismissal for poor performance by hiring a "politically savvy lawyer" and garnering the support of black ministers and civil rights leaders, which threatened the mayor with "a bloody and public fight."

Now the issue is raised again, this time at the end of Dr. Hunter's contract term. The NAACP reportedly supports his being renewed. The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and the Urban League have yet to declare themselves.

The main reason for their past support is said to have been that they did not think the mayor should be "publicly undercutting a fellow black official."


If true, this is surely misguided solidarity. Most of the students in the Baltimore school system are black. Baltimore city schools recently scored the lowest of any school system in Maryland in every category on the state report card. Black students suffer the most from poor public schools.

Moreover, while blacks should enjoy the same rights to public office as whites, it is imperative that the superintendent of the city schools be capable of meeting the difficult challenge of turning the school system around. Dr. Hunter is not.

Although the board's minimally "satisfactory" evaluation might not constitute grounds for his dismissal in the middle of his contract, it hardly justifies hiring him for a second term.

Mr. Schmoke should see to it that Dr. Hunter's contract is not renewed. The mayor made improving the city's schools one of his main campaign promises. That promise remains unfulfilled.

Dr. Hunter was the mayor's choice for superintendent. He has failed repeatedly in that job. It is up to the mayor to bite the bullet.

As someone who actively supported and voted for Mr. Schmoke in the last mayoralty, I and many like me are unlikely to do so again unless he shows the political leadership he promised, and soon.


Richard M. Pfeffer.