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Real DangerFor President Bush to send troops...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Real Danger

For President Bush to send troops to Kuwait for "military games" is utter nonsense and a complete waste of taxpayers' money -- not to mention his little regard for life.

What is the difference if we see Saddam Hussein's "arsenal" or not? Iraq has many countries more than willing to sell it the necessary arms and technology for nuclear warfare.

While Mr. Bush is worrying about Iraq, let him also worry about Iran, which is building weaponry and a powerful army. These people are as dangerous as Iraq. And, let's not forget China, which will sell to anyone.

This pathetic "show of power" by the United States is almost shameful. The Reagan-Bush years have caused this country much harm. We cannot afford to have Mr. Bush in office any longer. This country needs to be saved.

Phyllis Lichter

Pikesville

Family Comics

Talk about family values! According to the results of your comics survey (July 29), the top four strips enjoyed most by your readers all center around families.

They all deal in relationships between siblings, between husbands and wives and between the generations.

The influential and critically acclaimed Doonesbury finished only in the middle of the pack, while the wordy and sophisticated soap-opera strips about chic young adults all finished at the bottom.

The weirdest entries on the comics page -- The Far Side and Mother Goose & Grimm -- didn't even seem to make the list.

It appears that the great majority of your readers are interested in the trials and tribulations of imperfect but intact ordinary families. Politicians and opinion leaders should take note.

Rollin L. Olson

Baltimore

Pesticides

The letter (July 19) by Allen James, executive director of Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, denying the adverse impact of lawn pesticides on the community and environment belies the name of his organization. It doesn't make one feel particularly confident about any further statements that this organization might choose to make.

As a person with multiple chemical sensitivities, asthma and potentially life-threatening respiratory reactions, I know about the terrible impact of chemical exposures. I also know that people with these sensitivities whom I've met trace their chronic illnesses to either a long series of chemical exposures with increasing environmental sensitivity problems, as in my case, or to a massive chemical exposure.

People who may be medically impacted must have the opportunity to protect themselves by closing windows, turning off fans and avoiding going out of doors. Children with allergies and other medical problems may be particularly sensitive and should avoid playing nearby, even after the application is completed. This is why it's so important that there be posted warnings, before and after pesticide applications.

Mr. James' observations about the Prince George's County law requiring posting seems to indicate that professional applicators will need to be forced into compliance. Surely, users of the pesticides will realize the importance of this posting, making a policeman or a fine unnecessary. If not, I would suggest that the need of the law is further proven.

Patricia Williams

Baltimore

Not-So-Hotline

Up until two weeks ago I would not have considered myself an AIDS activist. However, in light of what I have recently discovered about the Bush administration's commitment to the problem, I consider it my duty as a taxpayer as well as my moral obligation to inform someone of what I consider to be an horrendous situation.

Recently one of my relatives tested positive for human immunoinsufficiency virus. Suddenly I had an interest in calling the Center for Disease Control's hotline, 1-800-342-AIDS.

Over the course of a two-week period I attempted to call the line 26 times and consistently received a busy signal or a recorded message stating that all operators were busy. I became enraged to realize that there was no possible way for me to get this important information.

Coincidentally, I work in the telephone industry and I became privy to information that indicates this CDC hotline only JTC completes one in 32 attempted calls.

It is unforgivable in this age of technology and with the threat of AIDS not to make this information readily available to people. Although I cannot document the 1-in-32 completion rate, a simple analysis can be made by dialing the number yourself.

Previously I was a Bush supporter. However, after learning of this lack of commitment to the AIDS problem, I now intend to listen closely to the Clinton campaign. I bet that if a business were turning away 31 of its 32 potential customers, heads would roll within that organization.

I understand that these lines are answered by volunteers and only so many can be available to answer calls. However, there are recorded messages that would answer many of the common questions as well as requests for written information packets.

Thomas J. Coffey

Lansdale, Pa.

George, Meet Harry

I applaud columnist James J. Kilpatrick's "Stick with George" column (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 5). His thesis is that journalists, editors and television commentators are trying to lynch President Bush.

In his new and excellent biography of Harry S. Truman, author David McCullough vividly portrays that president's problems during the campaign of 1948. The similarities to the present campaign are striking. For example:

* Mr. Truman, like Mr. Bush, was in his 60s, while his opponent, Tom Dewey -- like Bill Clinton -- was in his 40s.

* Most journalists and commentators proclaimed authoritatively that the incumbent could not possibly win.

* Opinion polls, then as now, gave the incumbent a low rating.

Yet Harry Truman won the election.

Of course, he did not win by sitting still and remaining quiet. He outfitted a private train and crisscrossed the country, stopping in hundreds of small towns and speaking from the rear platform, hiring halls in larger cities for his more formal speeches.

In each locale, he addressed concerns of the residents, who could see for themselves that he was an honest, down-to-earth man, not a vague ideologue as his opponent seemed to be.

He ended almost every talk by presenting his wife, Bess, who like Barbara Bush endeared herself to people by being natural, unpretentious and family-oriented, not a glamorous career woman.

Harry Truman never publicly disparaged his opponent, but he harped upon the fact that the Republican-controlled Congress had thwarted him in important matters -- the same problem George Bush has had with a Democratic Congress.

So, President Bush, take heart and take your message to the people in person, not just to the television audience. Give 'em hell, George!

One final tip: Harry Truman refused to kiss babies for the benefit of photographers and news cameramen.

Mary W. Griepenkerl

Baltimore

Bombing Kills

The U.S. and its allies should refrain from the additional use of military force against Iraq.

Further bombing will accomplish nothing but only increase the suffering of the Iraqi people, especially the children -- innocents who have no control over the policy of their government.

Not only will Iraqi people suffer and die, American troops will again be needlessly put at risk, and additional billions of tax dollars will be wasted, dollars which should be spent on human needs and revitalizing the seriously weakened U.S. economy.

Iraq is not the only dangerous country in the Middle East with weapons of mass destruction. The entire world bristles with these weapons, and while Iraq should be made to comply with arms control resolutions, inflicting further misery on the population of Iraq will not end the threat of these weapons or bring peace to the Middle East.

This latest crisis only emphasizes once again the need for all nations to cease the development of weapons of mass destruction, and begin investigating nonviolent, diplomatic alternatives to state-sanctioned killing and destruction.

R. E. Lee Lears

Annapolis

Tall Shots

I want to let you know about experiments on children at the National Institutes of Health: Children who are short, but hormonally normal, are being injected with a genetically engineered human growth hormone (hGH) in order to try to make them grow taller.

The Food and Drug Administration approves hGH only for children who are deficient in the hormone, but, in addition to the NIH experiment, an increasing number of pediatricians are also using hGH for short, hormonally normal children.

We believe this is unethical. The children have no disease. The problems of short stature are problems based only on parental or societal attitudes, and a daily injection of hGH only stigmatizes these children even more.

The cruel punch-line is that, while it causes the adolescent growth spurt to occur earlier, it probably does not affect the final adult height.

As a doctor, I am also concerned that injecting growth hormone does not only affect growth. Hormones interact with each other. Growth hormone causes the release of a peptide, IGF-1, which is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. This may be the reason why taller women have a higher risk of breast cancer. Women over 5 feet, 6 inches have twice the risk of women under 5 feet, 3 inches.

The children cannot weigh the risks and give informed consent. The fact that their parents will sign for them does not make these experiments ethical.

Unfortunately, financial issues ($20,000 per year to treat one child multiplied by 90,000 short children in each yearly age group) seem to dazzle the drug manufacturers' vision.

We have no objection to hormone replacement in deficient children.

However, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has petitioned NIH to discontinue experiments using hGH in healthy, short children.

Neal D. Barnard, M.D.

Washington

The writer is president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

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