One significant, local impact of the sale of 150 F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan announced by President Bush was not reported by The Sun's story of Sept. 3.
The Taiwan deal will allow Westinghouse Electronics Group of Anne Arundel County to maintain a steady work force on a $142 million subcontract to General Dynamics Corp. for the production of APG-68 radars and generators for the F-16 aircraft.
Gov. Bill Clinton's proposal to cut defense outlays over the next four years significantly beyond the level of the president's proposed cuts -- without adequate provision for civilian employment opportunities -- is unsettling to many Americans and not just those employed by the defense industry.
President Bush and Governor Clinton will undoubtedly debate the defense drawdown issue this fall. It is one issue where there are well-defined differences between the candidates.
John R. Leopold
'Fort Meade Park'
In reference to your recent editorial entitled, "Protecting a Treasure at Fort Meade," I am afraid you have been misinformed about the nature of the property for which Anne Arundel County is seeking a use agreement.
Far from being an "undisturbed old forest," the site in question has been heavily used for the past 50 years for various military exercises and maneuvers with heavy equipment. Sixty of the acres -- which are on the northern edge of the 8000-acre tract, not in the center -- are an open field that was used as a parachute jump site. Adjacent ground is riddled with bivouacs or small openings where grass has barely begun to grow back. It is crisscrossed by gravel roads, some of which are actively eroding. Additionally, there are over a dozen firing ranges in use now and grandfathered into the future on the adjoining acreage. "Human impact" has already made its mark here.
The public use proposals which have been forwarded to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center involve very little in the way of forest clearing but do contain significant efforts to revegetate and restore areas which have suffered from decades of abuse and neglect.
As far as the negotiations between the Recreation and Parks Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife, we are in the early stages of talking about a preliminary concept. We do not yet know which elements of our proposal will be considered compatible with the various missions of the Fish and Wildlife Service. The size of the acreage itself is as yet undecided.
A final misunderstanding on your part needs to be corrected: this department is not putting all its eggs in the Fort Meade basket. We are actively pursuing several other park projects through the west county which will help fill the serious need for open space and recreation in this general area.
The acreage at Fort Meade in no way fulfills the entire recreational need of the rapidly growing west county area.
William A. Rinehart
The writer is the director of Anne Arundel County's Department of Recreation and Parks
As someone who has a Jewish background, who has felt an attraction toward a Korean-born young female and has admired and appreciated the artistic endeavors of Woody Allen, I find the recent revelations of his private life to have been quite entertaining.
I would never take the position expressed in The Sun by Stephen Hunter in his commentary (Aug. 19), which I felt was unjustifiably negative.
This is not a black and white issue. I think Mr. Hunter's article sounded like that of a child who has been disillusioned upon discovery that his mommy or daddy -- his hero -- is not perfect.
I take a less judgmental view of Mr. Allen's situation. Who are we standing on the outside to have pretensions of knowing the intricacies of what has happened in Woody Allen's home?
I never thought of the "Allen character" as someone who always managed to live by a "moral compass." It was the honesty and manner that Woody Allen has chosen to reveal his own moral dilemmas and his vulnerabilities that has made his stories and characters so interesting.
I am inclined to believe that Mr. Allen is genuinely taken by his young Asian-American friend's spirit, and what is so wrong with that? She is of legal age now, and who is to say what problems his marriage was suffering from before he began his affair?
Woody Allen is a seeker and a survivor, and for that he continues to deserve respect. If he sees something positive in the young lady, let him be.
It amazes me that Mr. Hunter or anyone else feels it necessary to make such damaging statements. I think it is time we allow our public figures to experience life for themselves and to suspend our commentaries until a later date.
As the old Jewish prayer goes, "Purify our hearts, O Lord, so that we may serve you in truth."
Burden of Truth
I think the nation would be well-served if newspapers would publish, each day, the per-capita national debt.
Americans would do the right thing, if they knew the facts.
Auto Theft Down in MTA Lots
We apologize to Andrew J. Passman of Towson, who recently had his car vandalized while parked at the Timonium Park and Ride lot (letter, Aug. 3). Mr. Passman parked at the lot and then rode light rail downtown to work. While parked, his car was vandalized.
We are aggressive in our efforts to deter and prevent criminal activity on any of our facilities. Our Mass Transit Administration police officers routinely patrol all of our lots, 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, all of our prevention methods cannot stop crime.
Uniform crime statistics for the Baltimore City Police Department show car thefts are up 20 per cent for the first six months of 1992. Our numbers at the MTA show a dramatic 30 per cent decrease in stolen cars for the same period.
While we would like to say we were totally immune to criminal behavior, we of course are not. Our riders could help keep those statistics down by making it harder for car thieves.
Doing simple things like removing keys from the ignition, locking all doors and removing valuable from view could all make it harder for thieves.
Once again we apologize to Mr. Passman and hope this unfortunate incident will not discourage him from using transit in the future.
The writer is MTA's general manager.
State Guard Could Patrol Streets
As a former U.S. National Guard officer (having seen front-line action in World War II), I wish to comment on the Aug. 30 article by Gregory P. Kane calling for anti-crime use of National Guard troops in situations not justifying martial law. The short answer to such nonsense is that the Pentagon would not allow it.
What could be at least theoretically possible, however, would be for the state legislature to authorize the organization of privately armed and equipped local militias composed of inner city residents, controlled by selected citizens commissioned by the governor in a State Guard. No doubt the governor would order such officers and their men subordinated to the local chief of police.
The job of coordinating such militias and the local police with any U.S. troops ordered into a martial law situation (including National Guard units) would be that of the state adjutant general, acting in accordance with orders from the governor unless and until he is superseded by the Pentagon (the National Guard Bureau) directed by the president as commander-in-chief.
Martial law -- that is, the suspension of civil liberties -- is justified when the courts are closed, and civil authority made helpless, by social disorder. The purpose of martial rule is to restore the civil power. As soon as the civil courts are open, martial rule must cease. That is the law.
Use of federal or federalized troops to enforce court orders would violate an act of Congress called the posse commitatus statute. Courts enforce their orders civilly by use of sheriffs or marshals -- not the military.
National Guard soldiers are reservists belonging to the Army and Air Force. Like less active U.S. reservists, they have businesses, jobs, families. They are not available or trained to act as civil policemen. Like all soldiers, they must be expected to kill (rather than arrest) when forced into hostile conditions.
Willis Case Rowe