Editor: I read with interest your march 7 editorial, "Marylanders in the War Congress."
I taught school in Maryland for 27 years, and trying to explain the philosophy of Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski to my economics and law students was impossible. In fact, with the exception of Beverly Byron, it was difficult to explain the philosophy of any of Maryland's politicians.
Almost all of the Maryland delegation in Washington voted against the Strategic Defense Initiative. Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski voted against all bills that were defense-oriented. I wonder whether they realize that if all the senators had voted as they did on SDI, the American casualties in the gulf war might have increased? I also wonder if they understand SDI is defensive, not offensive?
Knowing what we know today concerning the Patriot missile and all the other high-tech weapons that were developed because of SDI, would Mr. Sarbanes and Ms. Mikulski still vote against SDI? I believe they would.
In my opinion, both are very much anti-establishment.
D. Dan Minnick.
Mt. Union, Pa.
Another Real Reginald Stewart
Editor: On March 10, you published a letter about Reginald Stewart, former director of the Peabody, but with the letter you had a photo of my late father, Reginald A. Stewart.
My father was not connected with the Peabody or the Baltimore Symphony. He was a marine engineer and also a teacher.
On March 17, another letter about Reginald Stewart, this one titled, "The Real Reginald Stewart." If he was the real Reginald Stewart, who was my father?
My father lived in Baltimore all but two of his 89 years. He was raised in the Roland Park area, but he lived most of his life in the Ruxton area.
He taught structural and architectural drawing at the Maryland Institute night school for over 20 years.
Now that we have established that there were two Reginald Stewarts, I am sure the former director was loved by his family, as my father was by ours.
Incidentally, never, to my knowledge, did my father wear a hair piece. Dark horned rimmed glasses? Yes, but that was his trademark.
Editor: The obituary about Ross B. Diffenderfer was disgraceful. The man is dead and certainly not affected at all about what was written. But the family lives on and is very much affected.
You may consider what was printed newsworthy, I consider it thoughtless and spiteful -- another giant step downward on the ladder of human decency.
Elizabeth F. Pjura.
Iraq and Iran, Bush and Carter
Editor: Regarding "It Was Not Another Iran, Either," I wish to add, thank God. I am referring to the March 10, column by Ray Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins wishes historians (meaning readers today) to compare the Iraq and Iran crises. But he wants us to use his liberal slant of the facts.
"As one who spent every tormented hour of the Iranian hostage crisis" as a member of the U.S. Navy, I wish to offer some real facts to Mr. Jenkins' scenario.
1. If President Carter had started to deploy troops we might have them all in place by now. The heavily Democratic Congress had taken away our means of deploying massive numbers of anything military.
2. Mr. Jenkins got one part of his scenario right: after the Sept. 15, 1980, ultimatum, "Radio Tehran responds defiantly in blood-lust metaphors," knowing how ludicrous the ultimatum was.
3. I do not know where Mr. Jenkins was going to get his sea-launched cruise missiles and 16-inch guns of America's warships. The U.S. Navy I was in had none of these weapons in commission in 1980.
4. The Iranian Air Force was not the only service in disrepair for a lack of spare parts; thanks to the Democratic Congress, so were we. With what result? We couldn't fly eight helicopters into the desert without taking hostile fire. Mr. Jenkins conveniently omits that seven bodies were left in the desert.
Without having to use Mr. Jenkins' facts, we know what happened to President Carter on Nov. 4, 1980. More importantly, on Jan. 20, 1981, 52 American hostages were released within hours of President Ronald Reagan's inauguration.
. D. Crabtree.
Havre de Grace.
Editor: Ray Jenkins' column of March 10 seem to imply that President Carter selflessly sacrificed his chances for re-election to order to ensure the safe return of the American hostages from Iran.
It is instructive to recall the situation immediately prior to Iran's seizure of the embassy. Politically, Mr. Carter was dead in the water; he seemed well on his way to becoming the first president since Chester Arthur to be denied renomination by his own party. The natural tendency of American to rally behind the president in times of crisis resulted in a boost in Carter's popularity (something President Carter was not loath to exploit). This aided him in defeating Sen. Ted Kennedy in most of the primaries where polls had earlier shown him trailing.
Likewise, Mr. Jenkins conveniently overlooks that President Bush also faced a "hostage crisis" in the aftermath of the Kuwaiti invasion. There were not just 52 this time, but several thousand such "guests," who found themselves at the tender mercies of the Iraqi government. But as we all know, the last of these hostages were released by Dec. 6, well before the start of hostilities. Those dispassionate future historians invoked by Mr. Jenkins may well decide that President Bush -- who gave little indication of ever confusing the Iraqi hostages with his kith and kin -- was able to help restore them to freedom more quickly than President Carter by being a little less publicly solicitous for their welfare.
Editor: I was struck by a March 11 editorial titled, "Kuwait after Liberation," which began with a reference to the "liberation by American armed forces . . . of Grenada and Panama."
I find the use of the word "liberation" to describe these recent military adventures to be rather Orwellian given that, during the Reagan administration, George Bush worked to maintain close ties with the Noriega regime of Panama, despite its poor human-rights record, and that the U.S. invasion occurred shortly before the Panama Canal Treaty was due for renegotiation.
Throughout the 20th century, the United States has intervened militarily in Latin America at the average rate of one intervention every two years.
In fact, the U.S. has "liberated" many Latin American nations from their own democratic movements and installed right-wing dictatorships (Chile, 1973, Guatemala, 1954); and U.S. military advisers have trained military forces throughout Latin America in the arts of counterinsurgency and, as some international human rights organizations claim, torture.