Collective will is needed to build on peace
The United States and the United Nations now have a window of opportunity in the warm afterglow of military victory and the liberation of Kuwait. Law has emerged strengthened as the basis for international conduct. Even Israelis and Arabs share the experience of having been attacked by the same madman.
Simultaneously, however, there exists an ominous, enduring mood of frustration and anger among the Arab underclass. These grievances must be addressed if there is to be any chance for stability in the region. The Soviet Union and the Arab states need to be significant participants in this diplomatic effort. The issues should include guarantees of Israeli security; a Palestinian homeland; the elimination of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; nurtured democratic institutions in the region; departure of most U.S. forces from the region; and outlawed state-sponsored terrorism.
The magnificent success of our recent collective effort does not guarantee success the next time. Now is the optimal moment to act for peace. It is only a matter of weeks before the world shifts its attention back to the Soviet Union, Japan or to the next crisis.
Roger C. Kostmayer
We have seen a miraculous effort by our armed services against a formidable foe. This episode of bravery was from the same country that is mired in recession and bemoaning the loss of trade to other countries.
Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we turn back to our problems with renewed confidence, we could be entering a new phase of " prosperity and economic security. It all depends on how America chooses.
Stanley M. Oring
To a wildly appreciative audience, President Bush declared that "we've finally kicked that Vietnam syndrome" and that "we can put that behind us now."
The horror of Vietnam is not a burden to be left behind and forgotten. It is a lesson to be carried and taught to all future generations of Americans. It is the proverbial mistake that, if not learned from, we are condemned to repeat again and again.
The news media can be counted among the war casualties from a public relations standpoint. They took an awful drubbing in the polls from a public which obviously had little sympathy for histrionics and temper tantrums from egocentric journalists when faced with the necessary curtailment of their much-misused press prerogatives.
During the Persian Gulf crisis, the mass media's lusting for a Vietnam protest replay was ill-concealed. The familiar anti-war groups and their supporters eagerly did their part, having dusted off their 1960s protest paraphernalia. With touching faithfulness, the news media were always on hand to give exhaustive coverage to anti-war demonstrations ' large or small ' even though statistics showed the peaceniks to be an insignificant minority.
But, instead of Vietnam-rerun scenarios, a spontaneous, massive wave of patriotism, nationalism and, yes, even spirituality began to roll across America. Nothing like it had been seen since World War II.
For a discouragingly long time, powerful, well-organized efforts have been exerted to brand our country as the "bad guy" in any unfolding scenario. But the surge of national pride and oneness that is now washing away this backlog of negative pre-conditioning is exhilarating. The courageous men and women of the military in the Persian Gulf may find when they return that their country is having a new birth of freedom.
No sometime thing
Your correspondent, J. Roy Galloway, has complained (Forum, Feb. 26) that Mike Lane "ought to wise up with his cartoons" in which he lampoons the actions of President Bush and General Schwarzkopf. Galloway complains that to "malign them editorially at this time certainly seems out of tune," "gets a little boring" and is "particularly offensive."
Still, Galloway says, "it is OK to lampoon newsworthy individuals," and "that is in the time-honored American tradition."
With all due respect, Mr. Galloway is right the second time, but he can't have it both ways. We must have a free press ' not a sometimes free press.
Don't laugh at Dan
As a long-time subscriber, I feel I have the right to question your taste in columns. On Feb. 25, you printed a column by Susan Trausch, "Laughing at Dan." To criticize is everyone's right, but to ridicule our vice president is in extremely poor taste. Can't you get any better writers?
Support, not satire
Mike Lane's cartoons are not funny, most of the time. I suppose that a political cartoonist's job is to poke fun at, or to satirize, people in high office. But I think that he has worn out his characterization of President Bush, and I was really surprised that he is now attacking General Schwarzkopf's image. Look out, General Powell, you may be next. But I certainly hope that doesn't happen, as neither he nor General Schwarzkopf are political figures in my estimation, just great men for our times!
Why doesn't Lane attack some of our local politicians or national ones, as well as international enemies of our nation, instead of President Bush?
Even though I don't always agree with the president, I think that at this time, especially, he needs our prayers and support. If he hadn't been firm and aggressive, the Mideast could have turned into another Vietnam. Three cheers for the U.S., President George Bush, General Powell and General Schwarzkopf.
All human beings make errors. Surgeons call their cadavers, attorneys call theirs inmates and diplomats call theirs wars. In journalism, your errors are spread out for all to see. Since criticism comes easier than craftsmanship . . . Mike Lane, Ray Jenkins et al. will continue to receive brick bats from a few readers.
"Peter Arnett needs no defense from me. His credentials speak for themselves," writes Robert A. Erlandson (Other Voices, Feb. 25). Since Mr. Erlandson doesn't list those credentials, maybe I can fill them in.
Arnett was one of the reporters who misinformed us about the Tet offensive in Vietnam, causing many to lose heart in the defense of South Vietnam.
A native of New Zealand, Arnett's career has been built at the expense of America, and to the profit of Ho Chi Minh and Saddam H.
Perhaps many American journalists (not most) would trade places with Arnett, as the headline states, and allow themselves to be used as propaganda mouthpieces by the enemies of America, too.
Creating a panic over lead-paint poisoning
The contradictory articles published recently in Other Voices concerning lead-paint poisoning indicate that Jack Reilly's articulate description of the problem and prescription for resolutions are logical and practical (Feb. 4-6). But Jim Keck's response (Feb. 25) reflects the attitudes of zealous advocates whose impractical mission to remove lead paint from every dwelling would obliterate affordable shelter for low-income families.
Mr. Keck, first as a deputy commissioner in the Neighborhood Progress Administration and later as an official in the Baltimore Health Department, was permitted to launch costly lead removal programs based on the theory that lead paint is the major cause of illiteracy, low scholastic achievement and anti-social behavior.
Mr. Keck would have us believe that with the complete eradication of lead from houses, special education for children with behavior problems would cease, there would be fewer problem pregnancies, fewer hyperactive children living in poverty and all inner-city children would share an IQ and learning aptitude equal to a Rhodes Scholar. No blame for hyperactivity is aimed at the inferior diet delivered to many inner-city children. No blame for inept learning abilities is placed on parents who take no interest in education or on overcrowded households full of distractions from schoolwork. No blame is suggested for fetal brain damage from drug and alcohol use or from smoking by more than half of the child-bearing women living in the inner city.
As a member of the Baltimore City Task Force for Lead Poisoning Prevention, I remember landlords on the panel insisting that lead abatement would cost more than the value of the property, and that lead-paint removal would only exacerbate the problem, not cure it.
Instead of heeding their warnings, Mr. Keck spearheaded regulations for lead abatement that have cost millions of dollars, strangled incentives in rental property ownership, instigated multi-million-dollar tenant liability lawsuits and caused a large increase of boarded properties. Now, after three years of examining the results of these expenditures, Mr. Keck and his lead-out advocates admit the costs of abatement are not acceptable.
While Mr. Keck offers a ridiculously idealistic remedy for the social ills of inner-city residents, there is only one thing of which we can be sure ' that Mr. Keck, as a private consultant for lead-paint removal processes and as a vendor selling his knowledge in local and national seminars, will generate a wealthy personal livelihood from the government programs he helped design.
The writer is executive director of the Property Owners Association of Greater Baltimore.