Bosnia and IsraelThe shameful destruction of the...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Bosnia and Israel

The shameful destruction of the "independent" state of Bosnia proves to the world that any small country must be able to defend itself, and that guarantees and promises are worthless.

It is now two years since it became apparent that Bosnia would be overrun by Serbs and Croats. Yet, the legitimate Muslim Bosnian government has been denied access to arms for self defense.

After horrendous atrocities, numerous deaths and casualties, the world-recognized country of Bosnia will be forced to settle for an insecure, unstable third of its original land area.

For 27 years, foreign politicians and generals, including former U.S. presidents and military experts, have advised the Israeli government that the Golan Heights are indispensable for the security of the country.

Now, pressure from the U.S. and the U.N. is being exerted on Israel to agree to withdrawal from the Golan Heights. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has said that Israel would consider withdrawing under a true peace agreement with Syria.

In view of the Bosnian debacle, why should Israel risk its survival on the implementation of promises and guarantees made by the United Nations and the American government?

Bernard Siegel

Baltimore

Greedy Parents

If the parents of children, already enjoying one of the highest standards of living in the world for themselves, were to force their children to work long hours to raise that standard of living even higher, would not this be called "child abuse"?

If the parents of children were to steal future money earned by their children and use it to satisfy their own incessant greed, would this not be called "child abuse"?

In the United States today, we enjoy the highest standard of living in all of history. But this is not enough. We consistently run a government spending deficit. We want more and more, and we are not afraid to steal from our children to get it.

By spending beyond our means, we condemn our children to one of three choices. They could raise taxes to confiscatory rates in the future to pay for our greed. They could create ruinous inflation in order to "pay back" the debt with worthless dollars. Or our children could simply repudiate the debt, and then be faced with years of economic chaos and a total collapse of creditor confidence.

Most likely our children will be saddled with a combination of these factors as they struggle to deal with the crushing debts we create for them, due to our own greed and the willful decision to live beyond our own means, year after year.

In any case, our politicians in Washington are guilty of abusing future generations of Americans to satisfy their own (and our) desire for more and more, without paying for it now.

America was founded, and made strong, by generations of hard-working adults, willing to make sacrifices so that each succeeding generation of children would have a better life to pass on to their children.

Suddenly we live in a country that has abandoned that philosophy and replaced it with a system of government deficit-spending, based on greed, and not afraid to steal from future generations.

To those of us in the middle class, raised by parents used to making sacrifices in order to better the lives of their children, this is odious conduct. Let us find a way to end massive federal spending deficits now.

This is "child abuse," pure and simple.

Iver Mindel

Cockeysville

Impossible Task

This is in defense of our mailman.

Yes, our carrier delivered the newspaper every day during the ice -- from his car window, as usual, and we ice-skated down two sets of steps to retrieve it. Our mailman would have had to repeat this journey over and over again since we live in a rowhouse neighborhood. It would have been an impossible task.

We have a faithful, efficient mail deliverer, and I hope he enjoyed his unavoidable vacation.

P. Potter

Baltimore

Modern Music

I was disappointed to read Stephen Wigler's scathing review (Jan. 24) of the Polaris contemporary chamber music concert.

Aside from vague, unsubstantiated witticisms, the only specific complaints he made were the strident nature of Judith Shatin's "1492," the thin texture and sparse ideas in Leslie Bassett's Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano and the nontraditional methods used by the pianists.

These are all viable means of musical expression and hardly cause for such severe censure.

Program music, such as "1492" and "Gabriel's Wing," is by no means a new idea. In "1492," Ms. Shatin communicated the turbulent events of the year so well that it was, indeed, disturbing, in part because of the prevalence of violence in our world today.

This is what artistic expression is about: one human being reaching out to another and conveying some emotion or insight.

Life, regrettably, is sometimes harsh and brutal. "1492" was the expression of this timeless adversity. Surely Mr. Wigler does not expect composers to write only music that he can fall asleep to.

Mr. Wigler also made the false assumption that composers must write in the styles of earlier periods. Music can be considered as an evolving language, a means of communication. In 1994, we certainly don't know many authors writing in Middle English.

Why should contemporary compositions sound like Baroque or classical music? Composers today are expanding their resources, using instruments in unconventional ways and creating new tonal and textural possibilities.

Many modern theories of composition are a logical development of earlier styles, although it is not necessary to understand music theory to appreciate and enjoy modern music.

The masters of previous centuries are still worthy of our attention, but the raw intensity of modern music is also exciting and relevant in our lives today.

Reviewers are expected to make value judgments, but modern music must be viewed in a contemporary context. It is absurd to judge a new piece of music by 18th and 19th century standards.

Although Mr. Wigler spent two-thirds of his review disparaging "1492," there were considerable moments of quiet reflection and resignation in the program as well.

The performers of Leslie Bassett's Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano were so intimately connected in the Polaris concert that is seemed they were one instrument with one voice.

This uncanny union of human spirit is inspirational in a world in which we often forget the central bond we have with other people.

Mr. Wigler's determination to condemn contemporary music made him deaf to this and other insights revealed in the Polaris concert.

Amanda Minks

Towson

Fire Causes

This is to express my appreciation for a small thing The Sun does that I feel makes an important difference. It is that every time there is a house fire your paper puts the cause of the fire, with details, in the article.

Being an owner of a rowhouse and a user of a space heater, I have been made keenly aware of my heater because of this careful detail The Sun attends to.

It is this little attention to detail that distinguishes The Sun.

Darya M. Miller

Baltimore

Clean Air

Your Feb. 5 editorial "California Dreaming" and Tim Wheeler's Feb. 2 article indicate a disturbing lack of knowledge concerning the Ozone Transport Commission's (OTC) decisions, Maryland air quality issues and the region's plans to develop a comprehensive, long-term approach to cleaner cars.

The Sun's new editorial stance on cleaner cars is particularly disconcerting given the papers oft-repeated past support for cleaner cars. Nothing has changed since the paper a year ago editorialized that cleaner cars were ". . . the way to go" and (in March 1992) a ". . . sensible environmental move . . . that makes enormous economic sense."

Considerable progress has been made in Maryland and the region in improving air quality. Industries have installed expensive emission controls. We participate in a comprehensive auto emissions inspection and maintenance program.

But we must do much more. We need to address the clean air problem as a region, not with fragmented state-by-state programs.

Marylanders drive 113 million miles every day, and that figure increases by 4 percent every year. Our cars still account for over 40 percent of the ingredients that make up the smog that often elevates Maryland's ozone to unhealthy levels during the summer.

Volatile organic compounds combine with nitrogen oxides as we drive to and from work and run our daily errands. Mix those ingredients with high temperatures and stagnant air and it creates a formula for elevated ozone levels extending from Richmond up the entire coast into Maine.

On Feb. 1, the OTC -- composed of representatives from the states between Virginia and Maine, as well as the District of Columbia -- petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to initiate a collaborative effort to develop a comprehensive solution for its member states.

Wheeler's story and the subsequent editorial incorrectly asserted that the OTC asked the EPA to unilaterally impose California car requirements on Maryland and the Northeast states.

The OTC has, however, formally engaged EPA in an open process to identify a cleaner car that meets both our air quality and economic goals.

A clean car program for the Northeast must be launched now in order to provide healthful air quality, ensure economic development, allow freedom of automobile choice and improve Chesapeake Bay water quality.

Maryland and the OTC states have committed to work with EPA, automobile companies, industry and citizens to make this program technologically and economically feasible while achieving clean air goals.

Through its recommendation, members of the OTC have made it clear that vehicles cleaner than those currently mandated by the federal government must be developed to solve the Northeast's shared air quality problem.

EPA, the states and other interested parties now have the opportunity to develop a plan that meets the requirements of the Clean Air Act while providing the air pollution reductions that citizens of Maryland and the region so desperately need to live healthy and productive lives.

David A.C. Carroll

Annapolis

The writer is secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment.

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