After victory, it's time for compassion
Now that we have finished bombing Iraq back to the stone age, and called a halt to the massacre of what appears to have been an army vastly inferior in everything but sheer numbers, shoot-from-the-lip George Bush persists in spouting politically inspired rhetoric about the defeated enemy, including gratuitous remarks about not spending one dime of taxpayers' money to rebuild Iraq, while conceding grudgingly that we might offer humanitarian aid to children.
Once again Mr. Bush has spoken without thinking the matter through. How does he plan to ensure that the aid goes only to children? Does he contemplate placing them in institutions? Will he deny aid to the adult members of their families? What about the elderly and the disabled? What kind of aid does he visualize? Food, clothing, medicine? While undoubtedly desirable, furnishing those things won't do much for the long-term needs of Iraq's children if we condemn them to grow up in a country whose cities are in ruins and whose economy has been shattered.
Once again Mr. Bush has betrayed his lack of compassion for suffering people. It is not surprising, since he has yet to demonstrate any compassion for the misery inflicted on his fellow Americans by the reckless policies pursued during 10 years of Republican rule.
Nevertheless, we may eventually use American tax dollars to rebuild Iraq, if only because our own big business and financial interests will demand it. That, after all, is what happened in Germany and Japan after World War II.
Isobel V. Morin
When a corporation claims it's losing money, the real workers are the first to be fired. The managers remain (and in most cases the managers' exorbitant salaries caused the corporation to fold - not to mention profitable mergers, leveraged buy-outs, bankruptcies, etc.).
Sen. Barbara Mikulski salvaged Homewood North one time (a.k.a. the U.S. Public Health Hospital and Wyman Park Medical Center). Rep. Helen D. Bently may be able to salvage Homewood North and Homewood South this time around (with the possible help of Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes).
One thing is certain: Bush's defense contractors will never close down and will continue to prosper - even though American hospital workers and patients suffer (not to mention other
non-defense workers in America). Note Bush's clenched-fist salute at his recent visit to the Raytheon missile plant.
K. T. Wolf
Your editorials, "On to referendum," and "Save lives, not face" (Feb. 20), exhibit double-think. In one, you encourage the president not to allow "face saving" from realizing the life-saving possibilities in Gorbachev's peace plan. You refer to a poignant photograph of "an anguished family ... at the graveside of a helicopter pilot. When we think of 'face,' let us not forget [those anguished] faces." Respect for human life is your theme. Yet, on the abortion referendum, your cynical tone is one of bored superiority: "talk of would-be children, deflecting attention from real problems ..."
Let's talk of real problems. With every abortion, a beating, human, heart is stilled.
In the referendum editorial, you make several mistaken assumptions. The voters made "their preferences clear," ignoring those races where pro-life candidates prevailed. Roe vs. Wade is not a compromise; its moral authority is equaled only by the Dred Scott decision. You imply that the abortion question must be settled. If there is legal abortion-on-demand, and the freedoms of religion and speech still endure, then the contention will continue. Even if pro-abortion forces win this referendum, the struggle will go on. Just as slavery was wrong in 1800, in spite of its vast approval, the tiresome and tireless abolitionists endured and prevailed; so, too, will the fight to end the wrong of killing the innocent.
Imagine yourself the object of the siren and flashing lights of a police car. What have you done?
"Routine stop," says the cop. "Show me your driver's license and registration card!"
This once-common police practice was declared unconstitutional in 1979 as being an arbitrary state interference with individual liberty.
Certain elements of the state legislature don't seem to care. They propose a 1991 version of the routine stop - "Don't move
until I inspect your seatbelts!" says the cop.
The home front
Thank you for your excellent coverage of President Bush's war with Saddam. Your editorial dated Feb. 25 summed it all up.
Before the sentimental, maudlin "patriotic" cheering begins (celebrating Bush's "victory"), I would like to point out several realities.
My father is a veteran of a foreign war. He swears that facing immediate death as a hero on the front is far easier than experiencing a living sacrifice paying taxes and supporting a family in America. He never knew when his employer would curtail operations or close down completely. He says that civilian struggles to live and pay taxes to support wars and white-collar crime is more of a sacrifice than facing a tangible enemy on the front. Military personnel have "status" and "recognition," while taxpayers are considered to be spectators only. That says something about America's values and priorities.
Finally, my father wonders why taxpayers are not informed by the news media of the item-by-item cost of the missiles we rain down indiscriminately on countries we disagree with. Since Vietnam, we have had no war that was justified. Grenada was for a distraction; Panama also; Iraq for oil.
M. H. Dempsey
Head of state
In response to Susan Trausch's Feb. 25 column, "Laughing at Dan": The office of vice president was created to provide a successor if the president becomes disabled or dies. Its duties, never clearly defined, consist of explaining presidential policies.
Here is a suggestion: Eliminate the office. Create the position of head of state. The president would be elected, and when his term is over, he would become head of state. His duties would be ceremonial and advisory and above politics. His experience as president would provide him with invaluable background in his contacts with other nations. As a good-will ambassador, his credibility would exceed that of an untried vice president.
The citizens of Baltimore city should take a lesson from Philadelphia and the 38-story high-rise fire which occurred there Feb. 24. This fire started on the 25th floor and burned down to the 22nd floor and up to and through the 29th floor. This building was in the process of being retrofitted with automatic fire sprinklers and was sprinkled from the 30th floor to the 38th floor. Hundreds of firefighters fought this fire and finally gave up on saving the building. At this point, the fire reached the 30th floor and activated the "in-service" sprinkler system on that floor. The system functioned as it is deigned to and put out the fire. Three brave men died in this fire because they were trapped above the flames on a floor with no sprinklers.
We have buildings in Baltimore that have no sprinklers. Our city officials have chosen to toss out requirements for retrofitting buildings with sprinklers. But our buildings are just as likely to face a fire as those in some other city.
Can you imagine in your worst nightmare a fire that would start in the Broadway House, with its elderly residents, and there would be no automatic sprinkler system to protect them? It could and would be a horrible thing to happen.
Roger W. Hawkesworth Jr.
Do it now
If that stump fire is not put out before the hot, humid weather JTC gets here, a big part of living in Maryland will be downright miserable ' not to mention the health danger of those with lung trouble. If there ever was a time for Governor Schaefer to use his "do it now" policy, it is now.
War and peace
Now that the military has won the war, we can now watch while the politicians lose the peace.