In the article (July 5) about Ilse R. Keuls' imprisonment by the Japanese in Java, she says, "Thank God for the atomic bomb. I'm grateful for it because otherwise we might never have been freed."
We are coming up on the 49th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb, and with it we will get the usual condemnations of its use by the revisioners and latter-day experts -- not to mention the politically correct.
When the war ended in the Pacific Theatre, a great number of the prisoners of the Japanese were brought to Okinawa for treatment and fattening up so they could be shipped home in a reasonable condition.
At this time the show "This is the Army" arrived on Okinawa for a few performances. I remember a huge amphitheater where we were all seated. There were thousands of us in the audience.
A large area in front of the stage was reserved. We were all seated, and then the band started up a march, and from the back in came the former P.O.W.'s -- Javanese, Indonesians, British and Gurkhas.
The shrieks were deafening and the smiles on the faces of the former P.O.W.'s brought tears to the eyes of everyone present.
Who knows how many of these people, P.O.W.'s and troops, who were preparing for the invasion of the Japanese mainland, would have died had the bomb not been dropped.
I for one say, "God Bless Harry Truman."
Edward Miller of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies wasn't paying enough attention when he listened to Tom Lehrer's songs back in 1965. " '. . . Where they come down, that's not our department,' says Werner von Braun" was a line from a comic song, not the theory of a superb engineer and visionary.
Thumbs down on Miller for being unable to recognize a parody. Thumbs down on Neal Peirce for his "Hummingbird" approach to source authentication and for foolishly spreading this slander (Opinion * Commentary, July 4).
Dr. Von Braun cared very much where his rockets landed, whetherV-2, Redstone or Saturn V, and was a pioneer in turning swords to plowshares by promoting the Apollo Applications Program (Skylab), and in showing how space technology can serve us all here on earth . . .
Not a Cult
Susan Paris' letter of July 4, regarding the controversy between medical research and the animal rights movement, made some valid, level-headed and rational points in her first two paragraphs.
But she lost her credibility and my willingness to listen when she irrationally relegated "the entire animal rights movement" to the "museum of cult oddities."
If she was trying to garner support for her agenda, then certainly offending and dismissing many people concerned with animal welfare is a tactical error.
Mary Ann Williams
Clarence Page (Opinion * Commentary, July 8) states that if the people who were murdered in the Simpson case were black, there would not be the tremendous media interest in the situation. Therefore, race is a very significant factor.
Race may have a part, but I believe that in this case, it is not significant. The emphasis is so much on Mr. Simpson that the victims are almost overlooked. The reason is that Mr. Simpson is a very handsome, famous, successful, wealthy and sophisticated person.
One can hardly imagine him to be a wife beater, let alone someone who would murder two people in such a violent manner. This significantly increases the drama of the situation.
Much more important is the fairly recent, and most intense increase, in scandal journalism that has moved out of tabloids and the less reputable TV news shows into the main line press and into programs like "60 Minutes" and "20/20."
There is so much competition for a juicy story that every dramatic crime and scandal will be milked for every ounce of sensationalism to meet the insatiable curiosity of the public.
George B. Laurent
Jesse Chapman was black; three of his five arresting officers were white. Once again, with the untimely demise of Jesse Chapman, racism has reared its ugly head.
This, at least, is what some of the individuals picketing the Western District police station would have us believe about the death of Mr. Chapman while he was in police custody.
According to reporter Peter Hermann, "About 25 protesters showed up at the station yesterday, calling the officers and the department racist" ("Protest resumes at police station over death of man," July 7).
Another demonstrator was quoted as saying. "[The officers involved] are not welcome guests in our community." (I assume upstanding citizens such as Mr. Chapman are welcome.)
I am very happy that these vigilant citizens are so concerned for the rights of Mr. Chapman, cocaine user and woman batterer.
But in case these concerned citizens have not heard of the circumstances of Mr. Chapman's arrest, they would do well to read earlier published accounts, which reveal that Mr. Chapman followed his girlfriend into the Western District station house -- where she had gone to complain of his abuse -- and attempted to strike her.
Mr. Chapman then fled from the station house pursued by several police officers.
To these concerned citizens, I would suggest that their time could be better served by protesting the presence of drugs in their community than by unsupported and unsubstantiated charges of police brutality and racism.
An autopsy has shown that Mr. Chapman had been using cocaine prior to his arrest, substantiating his girlfriend's earlier claim.
A preliminary autopsy report also indicated that there were no signs that Mr. Chapman was beaten. It is also known that Mr. Chapman suffered from asthma.
To accuse these officers of being racist merely because some of them were not the same color as Mr. Chapman is preposterous; to attempt to martyrize a drug user and woman batterer is pathetic.
Cocaine and asthma. I would suggest to these vigilant citizen protesters that Mr. Chapman died because of the way he lived his life.
Portrait of a Conservative Christian
I am writing in response to a column written by Roger Simon (July 3). Mr. Simon's commentary was inspired by his appearance on a C-Span call-in show, during which a number of callers expressed in harsh terms their disgust with either President Clinton or his policies.
The article would have been unremarkable but for several comments Mr. Simon made concerning Christian conservatives.
Mr. Simon's commentary portrayed conservative Christians, whom he derisively refers to as the religious right, as lunatics bent on imposing their particular religious views on the rest of the nation.
Considering myself a politically active, conservative Christian, I object to this baseless stereotype.
Knowing that most stereotypes are born of ignorance and fear, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to Mr. Simon in the hope of dispelling his unfounded anxieties.
I am a 31-year-old attorney and a resident of Towson. I am married and have an 18-month-old daughter.
My family attends Grace Fellowship Church in Timonium. No one in my church tells me how to vote or which candidate to support.
I am a volunteer in Ellen Sauerbrey's campaign for governor and Dick Bennett's campaign for attorney general. No one in either campaign has ever discussed religion with me.
Like many other conservative Christians, I am politically active because I believe that elected officials directly affect the quality of my family's life and help shape the society in which we live.
It is true that some of the views I hold are deeply influenced by my faith, but I do not believe that this fact invalidates my views.
I have no desire to see my religion written into law or imposed on others, I simply exercise my right in a democracy to participate in the process.
In response to the criticism of the president coming from the religious right, Mr. Simon ended his commentary by pointing out that Christians are called to love their neighbor as themselves.
I agree that this call applies to every sphere of life including politics. I only hope that after reading my letter Mr. Simon can accept me for what I am, a neighbor who has accepted Jesus Christ as savior and who shares many of his concerns even if we don't see eye to eye on the solutions.