Editor: The KAL cartoon in The Sun on Feb. 19 shows that its author has a deep ignorance of what is going on in the Middle East. The cartoonist seems to indicate that by Israel's actions in Lebanon, i.e., the killing of Hezbollah leader Sheik Abbas Musawi, it was undermining the efforts of Secretary of State James Baker to build peace in the Middle East.
In fact, since 1982 Israel has been involved in ongoing guerrilla warfare with Hezbollah, which has called for the destruction of Israel and the transformation of Lebanon into an Islamic state modeled on Iran.
Beginning in October 1991, the Hezbollah, under Sheik Musawi's leadership, escalated the war against Israel in an effort to demonstrate its opposition to the Middle East peace process. In doing this, he was acting as an agent of Iran, which also has strongly opposed the peace process.
Consequently, to draw the conclusion that the elimination of Sheik Musawi would endanger the peace process, is an erroneous one.
There are many genuine obstacles to the peace process, including the Israeli government's construction of settlements in the occupied territories, Palestinian acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians and Syria's unwillingness to participate in the multi-lateral segment of the peace talks, something that strengthens the position of those in Israel who feel that Syria is not interested in peace.
The killing of Sheik Musawi, who strongly opposed the peace process, is not such an obstacle.
'Robert O. Freedman. Baltimore.
The writer is dean of graduate studies and professor of political science at the Baltimore Hebrew University.
Keep the Border
Editor: A recent letter in The Sun calls the U.S.-Canadian boundary a useless border and calls for its elimination. The world is a dangerous place, says the writer. The U.S. must expand constantly so it can control events in everyone's best interest. Canada is a good place to start.
My message to Canadians is: keep that border in place. You have effective universal health care and a peaceable kingdom. We have drugs, dial-a-porn, bullets flying in the streets and the right to sell guns. The world may be a dangerous place, but there's no place in Canada that's as dangerous as Baltimore.
If I thought erasing the U.S.-Canadian border would lead to Canadians controlling events in everyone's best interest, I'd say go ahead. But since that's unlikely, I have another message. Long live the U.S.-Canadian border!
Paul Romney. Baltimore.
Editor: I am writing in response to your Feb. 25 article, "Many envision rebirth of empty Hutzler's building as arts center."
The information concerning the Baltimore Museum of Art renting gallery space in the proposed complex is entirely erroneous. Although the BMA has a large and dedicated membership and visitor base in Baltimore County, the museum is focusing all energies on the most creative and efficient use of our collections and site on Art Museum Drive.
Arnold L. Lehman. Baltimore.
The writer is director of the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Editor: M. Willis Case Rowe's letter criticizing the Marine Corps is not only ill-tempered but inaccurate, particularly, regarding Army vs. Marine amphibious invasions. In World War II there were less than a dozen amphibious invasions in which one division or more were used:
Guadalcanal (1st Marine Division, Army division in reserve), Tarawa (2nd Marine Division), Peleliu (1st Marine Division), Saipan-Guam (two Marine divisions, two Army divisions), Iwo Jima (three Marine divisions, no Army divisions) and Okinawa (three Marine divisions, three Army divisions). Only in the invasion of the Philippines was an all-Army amphibious invasion mounted.
The first amphibious landing on the European continent was at ** Salerno (Operation Avalanche). In this hotly contested amphibious assault there were 30,000 men -- four assault divisions, which included two British and only two U.S. (the 36th and 45th Infantry) divisions.
The European theater had only two major landings in which three or more Army divisions conducted amphibious assaults: Sicily and Normandy. In both cases there were supporting British troops. Both of these invasions were matched by the three-division assaults on Iwo Jima and Okinawa by the Marines. the end of World War II, the Marine Corps had six divisions and supporting air for a total of 600,000 men.
It is worthy of note that when General MacArthur needed an amphibious force during the Korean War, he called on the Marines. As a result, on Sept. 14, 1950, an assault at Inchon on the West Coast of Korea transformed a victorious military situation into a defeat for North Korean forces. Army troops provided back-up support.
Some propaganda force.
' Frank A. Cappiello. Baltimore.
The writer was a Marine lieutenant during the Korean conflict, part of President Truman's little police force.
Not His Majority
Editor: In Jason Polling's recent letter, Mr. Polling stated that the majority of Americans are not necessarily pro-censorship but that controversial art, such as the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano, should not be funded by the taxpayer. But what makes him so sure that he is in the majority of those who are against funding such art?
Between December 1988 and January 1989, the Mapplethorpe exhibit was presented in Philadelphia without incident and to many positive reviews. Obviously, some Americans thought Mapplethorpe's works were artistically valuable and worthy of their tax dollars.
It seems that when a few conservative groups get together and oppose something controversial, they feel they are speaking for the majority. An example of this illusion of majority can be seen when pressure from Christian groups forced the cancellation of "The Last Temptation of Christ" at Baltimore theaters. The standards of these groups translated into the standards of the majority, since these groups felt their views were the consensus.
But your blasphemy is another's curiosity. Pro-censorship groups do have the right to protest -- after all, this is America -- but when a film, work of art or picture is banned, a great number of people are not able to see it, not able to experience new thought.
New experiences and new ideas help us to grow, change our attitudes or strengthen the attitudes we already possess. Without funding, some "works of art" would either not be completed or not be exhibited. Without funding, some controversial works would not exist, but those new perspectives, new ideas would not either.
Therefore, there would be no chance for change or growth and no expanded consciousness. As a taxpayer, I would rather pay )) for new thought than stagnant thought or no thought at all.
$ Marshall Clarke. Baltimore.
Family Planning: Get With It
Editor: At a time when family planning successes are rolling in from several developing nations, we need to support such efforts in all countries that want them. In order to do so, the United States should increase its family planning contribution, as recommended by the U.N., from 2 percent to 4 percent of the foreign aid budget.
Maryland has a particularly key role in funding decisions, since one of the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is Senator Paul Sarbanes. His committee, however, is the only one, out of eight key committees, not to recommend increases in funding last year.
When asked whether he supported the U.N. recommendation for Fiscal Year '92, the senator did not respond but simply stated in January '92 that the 1990 budget included $202 million. That was two years ago.
Although he has a good environmental voting record, Senator Sarbanes is behind the times on the issue of population stabilization. He has overlooked the fact that the drive to stabilize population goes on year round and every year, for it is a chronic problem rather than one of crisis. Let us hope that the senator gives the issue closer attention for Fiscal Year '93.
( Elizabeth L. Hatton. Baltimore.
Editor: For Michael Oleskar and the politicans and journalists who just don't get it, let me explain.
When Bill Clinton avoided service, someone else had to go in his place.
Goldbricks are reviled in the military because of the message they send - "I am more important than you."
Thomas H. Hartman