Slovenians Broke Federal Rule in Yugoslavia
Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel's accusatory letter to Dobrica Cosic, president of scaled-down Yugoslavia ("Sarajevo," Opinion * Commentary, Nov. 24) was sent to the wrong person.
His letter criticizing events in ex-Yugoslavia, especially in Sarajevo, should have been hand-carried to his boss, Milan Kucan, President of Slovenia. After all, it was Mr. Kucan and his regime whose illegal acts precipitated the collapse of Yugoslavia, once the most powerful country in the Balkans.
Slovenia's "smooth coup" was accomplished using their Territorial Defense guards to forcibly expel federal troops sent to protect the national constitution, the federal court and the power of the presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The coup and draft of new constitution were acts in clear violation of the federal constitution, more so since those in control have all taken an oath to preserve it. Shortly thereafter Slovenia, with its 2 million population, seceded and became independent.
The coup was based on their conclusion that the opinions of the federal constitution and laws promulgated by the Federal Assembly, in which delegates from Slovenia fully participated, were not binding. The coup considered that these acts were in fact only offered to individual republics for "consideration," that only the republics -- all older than the central government itself -- were sovereign in Yugoslavia, a disrespect which more than any other factor caused the country's breakup.
Interestingly, a parallel situation took place in the pre-Civil War United States. In 1828, South Carolina maintained that the states were sovereign because they were older than the central government; that the central government was merely an agreement between the different states; and that if a majority of the states passed a law which damaged the minority, the latter had the right to declare the law null and void as far as they were concerned.
President Andrew Jackson, one of America's great patriots, tested South Carolina's nullification doctrine, and the state's right to nullify a law of the United States, by planning to dispatch a force of 40,000 soldiers there to enforce the law.
At the same time, Congress passed a bill to strengthen the president's authority, a measure which quickly cooled the Carolinians and caused them to withdraw the nullification ordinance.
The ex-country of Yugoslavia, which was born in 1918 and reborn under Marshal Tito in 1943, has died. Known for their short memory, the Southern Slavs -- Yugo-Slavs -- came to know nothing of the past, understand little of the present and have no conception of the future.
I was very pleased to see the article, "Making Love, Making War" by Ellen Goodman (Opinion * Commentary, Nov. 17). It is time that someone separates issues of sexual orientation from sexual behavior. For too long, lesbians and gay men have been viewed as dangers to society and to military discipline.
There are no data to prove this notion. The problem exists in the homophobic minds of military leaders.
On an anecdotal level, the recurrent patterns of sexual deviation seem to be coming from reports of sexual harassment and coercion of women by heterosexual males (Justice Thomas, Tailhook scandal etc.). Negative sexual behaviors are probably no more prevalent among gay men than heterosexuals.
Gay men and women are a highly productive and politically important segment of society. Many of us are professionals whose common goals are equal rights for all people and the improvement of society in general.
All people are sexual beings, so sexuality cannot be removed from our lives. If we are productive in our jobs or military positions then so be it. If we misbehave while performing these duties, then we should be penalized. But do not penalize us before all the data are in.
Let's take a look at those sexual behaviors that harm society and remedy them. However, let's not pull "bad" behaviors out of a hat. Through scientific inquiry, negative sexual behaviors can be identified and treated.
Jay McCabe's Nov. 13 letter suggested that Gov. William Donald Schaefer be recalled. The suggestion is preposterous.
McCabe criticizes the governor for inheriting a large budget surplus and overspending "the state into a terrible crisis." The state's budgetary problems are the result of a global recession, not overspending. In fact, Maryland is in much better shape than many other states, such as New York.
Governor Schaefer is a man of vision and independence. It was under his leadership that Maryland built the best baseball stadium in America.
The governor worked hard during the budget crisis to save the jobs of our State Police to protect our safety.
Now, the governor has taken the lead in the war on cancer, a disease that takes the lives of so many Marylanders, by securing state funds to help build the new cancer treatment facility at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Schaefer's vision was evident on the trips he took overseas to gain business for Maryland. These efforts have produced increased international business for local companies.
The governor's independence was never more apparent than at the time of his bold endorsement of President Bush. It is refreshing to have a public official who is willing to put aside partisanship and go with his conscience.
The governor has served the state well and will continue to do so for two more years. It is an honor to have such a fine man leading the state.
Middle East Reporting
The Sun does not have an impartial Middle East reporter in Doug Struck. For example, his Nov. 16 dispatch, "A Life under Fire," is the latest in his effort to show one side -- the Arab side -- of the story.
If he were interested in fairness, he would have emphasized that Israel only fires to retaliate against terrorist attacks. Why doesn't Mr. Struck ever interview the families of murdered Israelis?
Israel is a small country, attacked countless times. Any citizen you talk to has a friend or relative murdered because he is Jewish. The Jewish people living in Israel are something the Arabs cannot accept.
I don't recall ever seeing an article in The Sun regarding the Arab economic boycott of Israel and the damage it has done to the Israeli economy. I would like to see more fairness in your reporting.
After having visited with residents of Israel's most northern towns and villages five times over the last 10 years, I would like to commend Doug Struck on his effort to tell this tragic story of pain and suffering among innocent people of southern Lebanon and Israel's northern towns.
I would, however, like to clarify Mr. Struck's remark, "Israel refuses to leave southern Lebanon until attacks on its border cease, and the guerrillas -- now predominantly Lebanese Shiites -- refuse to end the attacks until Israel leaves."
The Lebanese Shiites, Iranian-backed Hezbollah and their predecessor in the region, the Palestine Liberation Organization, have stated publicly that violence will stop when Israel leaves the Middle East.
This confrontation exists because these groups, with backing from the regimes of Iran and Syria, seek the annihilation of Israel. The violence will not end until the Arab governments of the Middle East cease to support activity designed to eliminate Israel.
It is my sincere hope that the Clinton administration will actively promote the Middle East peace initiatives of the Bush administration and let Syria and Iran know that peace cannot exist until their considerable influence is used to pressure those radical agent groups to lay down their arms.
Hit the books
Nancy C. Grasmick, state school supertendent, stated, "As long as we do not have all our students meeting the standards I don't feel any sense of satisfaction.
Maybe her sense of satisfaction would be fulfilled is she would rescind her order that in order for students to graduate they must take time away from school work to do charitable work on city projects which should be voluntary in the first place.
J. Edward Johnston Jr.