Bombs don't produce a lasting peace
Two views on the same page in the Forum and Other Voices (Feb. 5) deserve comparison. Anna Anderson's letter pinpointing our total lack of understanding of the Arab people and the devastating effect of this war makes more sense than Edwin Feulner's think-tank philosophy.
He said, "The objective of the United States should be ' peace between Israel and America's Arab allies. The United States has shown both sides that it is an honest broker. In the aftermath of the war, maybe they can just as deftly negotiate a lasting peace in the region." He also said, "When it [the gulf war] ends, Israel and its Arab neighbors will have an historic opportunity to make peace."
After 40 years of lost opportunities, what kind of peace can arise from the rubble of bombed cities? The peace enforced by the U.S. will certainly outdo anything imposed on weaker nations by the old colonial powers who did not find it necessary to destroy cities. It will require years of occupation and perhaps centuries of subjugation before the Arab people are "tamed" to the extent that they will be acceptable by Western standards.
There was a time when there was great dislike and distrust between the people of the Eastern Shore and the people of Baltimore. I was about 6 or 7 then and remember some of the remarks: "You can tell an Eastern Shoreman by the mud on his heels" was a favorite expression of Baltimoreans. The Shoremen had some for the Baltimoreans also. As a result of this, Harry W. Nice was elected governor of Maryland. We had the unit rule then.
Time heals all wounds, so this animosity eventually went away, partly because of a fine man, J. Millard Tawes.
It appears our governor is going to succeed in turning back the clock.
The governor, like so many other leaders in history, has surrounded himself with "well-informed people." (This means people who agree with you.)
Every leader needs at least one devil's advocate. Those who don't have one eventually end up a failure.
Malcolm S. Barlow
Though a self-avowed liberal, I was somewhat disgusted to see the photograph that accompanied the story "Single mother of 4 feels pinch of rent increase" on the front page of your Metro section (Feb. 4). The preponderance of stereo equipment in the background was most disturbing.
I grew up in a rather large family. I remember fighting with my father when we kids wanted a color television set or a nicer stereo with a tape player. Getting those items took years of active lobbying, and I know now the reason was that my father didn't purchase those luxuries until he could afford them.
I do not take issue with Mrs. Lambert's hardship, and I allow for the possibility that those items might have been purchased during better times. But the picture and the article lead me to believe that the Reagan revolution isn't the only problem. How can people hope for things to get better when their priorities are so far out of line?
Timothy F. Crofoot
When the article on the afterlife in the Feb. 4 Evening Su quoted me, it unfortunately did not quote my most deeply held conviction: that Christian hope in the face of death is focused on the crucified, buried and risen Christ. I do not number myself among those who think (or act as if) "when his body perishes, his existence will end."
I believe that God's love will conquer the very real power of death. God holds us, living and dead, in the palm of his hand. The skepticism Christians have toward many other views of the afterlife is based on a conviction that they hope for too little rather than too much.
James J. Buckley
The writer teaches in the theology department at Loyola College.
I've been pondering theater of the absurd. That's what television and, to a lesser degree, some radio and print news has become since Operation Desert Shield transmogrified into the Persian Gulf war and Desert Storm last month. Consider the historical perspective. Let's say, for example, the satellite and other communications technology we have today existed in 1942, and the media were called to a news conference at the headquarters of Adm. Chester Nimitz, the Pacific Fleet commander, in Hawaii.
I can hear the question now: "Admiral, is it true Ray Spruance and Jack Fletcher with the Enterprise, Hornet and Yorktown are planning to ambush the Japanese fleet near Midway?" "I'm sorry," says Nimitz. "But I can't comment on tactical planning." In Tokyo, of course, the entire exchange is being heard and seen by the Imperial High Command.
Now let's move ahead to late May 1944, at the Supreme Allied Headquarters in London. There's General Eisenhower, affable as always. And there are the reporters with their cameras, microphones and recorders. "General, the weather seems to be clearing over the channel. Does that mean you're about to begin the land battle for Europe? And, I have a follow up. Do you still plan to land at Normandy?"
"No comment," says Ike. But across the channel, Erwin Rommel and Gerd von Runstedt are standing on the beach and grinning in happy anticipation of the slaughter to come.
Alan R. Walden
The writer is anchor-commentator for WBAL radio news.
Reports that Saddam Hussein is turning his field commanders loose to use poison gas are alarming. Will the Iraqis use gas?
Air strikes probably serve as an effective deterrent. Whatever gas the Iraqis have must be dispersed in well-protected shelters. Using air strikes to keep gas supplies off roads may do a lot to convince Iraqi leaders against the wisdom of using gas.
Death with dignity
Dr. Jack Kevorkian [inventor of the suicide machine] is perhaps the most important and controversial man of our times. He provided a means to die with dignity. But the conservatives who control our society, it seems, are unwilling to concede power to anything other than the dictates of law enforcement and the judicial system. I'm sure many of these people are the same foes of human rights who try to deny a woman's rights to control her own reproduction.
We humans are imperfect, and remain culturally in conflict with our own biological and psychological evolution. Because of this, in a truly ethical society, which we are not, there would be free and unlimited access to birth control. Those who don't wish to prolong the despair of depression or mental decrepitude would have the means and the guidance to make the final determination whether to continue living or to die willingly in peace and comfort.
When will our society evolve to a point where, in an already self-destructive world, we can respect the rights and collectively determine the means for an individual to choose the option of death? After all, what universal law establishes that each human must endure living until death comes not necessarily by choice?
Peter J. Stern
The council acts
When city employees who were called up to go to Saudi Arabia used up all their accumulated time, they and their dependants lost their city health benefits.
To protect families left behind, Councilman Jody Landers introduced a resolution last October requesting the Board of Estimates to extend health benefits to these soldiers and their families. The resolution passed with only City Council Vice President Jacqueline McLean voting against.
Since then, Landers, other council members, City Council President Mary Pat Clarke and concerned citizens have been encouraging the Board of Estimates to act. The money for these benefits has already been budgeted, and, as Landers said, the extension of these benefits is one way to show our compassion while being fiscally responsible.
On Jan. 30, the board finally acted and extended these health benefits. The proponents of this resolution should be congratulated for their hard work and perseverance.
Walter R. Hayes Jr.
Rationale for war
The war in the gulf enhances our perception of a dichotomy that predates civilization. It may be in the interest of the United States as a nation to protect the availability of oil for itself and its allies, but what of the interests of the individual troops in the gulf? Are the interests of the nation and those of the individuals who make up the nation different?
What would life be like with no government, each individual for himself? Without a structure of order, the strong would take from the weak. It would be a disaster for everyone. Then some strong man would form a group to enforce order. In return for the benefits of the group, the individual would agree to subordinate his personal worth to that of the group. That is why we must pay taxes we don't like, follow rules we don't like and even lay down our lives.
Alfred J. Rogers Jr.