We supported the wrong side in Vietnam
During the Vietnam war, I would drive past the National Cemetery in Baltimore and always feel saddened as I watched the green hillside facing Wilkens Avenue turn white with the graves of young men we were bringing back home in body bags.
I hated that war because I knew even then that it was based on lies from start to finish.
The corrupt South Vietnamese generals, whose Swiss bank accounts were being filled by American largess, were no patriotic defenders of freedom and democracy.
In contrast, the leaders of the north, having fought the good fight to free their country from both the Japanese and the French, were driven into the Communist camp by our intransigence in failing to recognize the legitimacy of their cause. We were supporting the wrong side.
One lie led to another. The domino theory was concocted. The attack on our naval vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin was a fabrication engineered by President Lyndon Johnson and used to bully Congress into approval of a vast escalation of the war. It kept getting worse.
Now we see a tearful Robert McNamara telling us on national television that it was all a mistake.
But the mistake, as he sees it, is that we continued to send more troops to the Far East even after he and his hand-picked staff had serious doubts that a military victory was possible.
That error might almost be characterized as an honest mistake in judgment. What is inexcusable is that the American people were lied to and led by their leaders into a war that was not in our national interest and should never have been fought in the first place.
When, in your obituaries and articles, you refer to the "adopted" child of whomever, you diminish adoptive parents everywhere. I think I speak for many of us when I request that you please stop it.
Pamela T. Prenger
Reward was paltry
Isn't it wonderful that there are still people like Laurie O'Connell? She's the Loyola graduate student who found $6,000 in an unidentified purse and returned it to the couple who had lost it. Ms. O'Connell put the bag in a safe deposit box and waited for information about the possible owner.
Antonina Berest and Iosif Tsitlik, the Russian immigrant couple who had carelessly lost the money don't know how lucky they are. It is disappointing that their reward to the finder merely consisted of six red roses and a tea cozy.
In many countries a gift equalling a percentage value of the returned property is considered in order. I believe Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and the City of Baltimore should do something to publicly commend Laurie O'Connell for her honesty and diligence. It might make up for the shabby thanks she got from the Russian couple.
Unfair to young
It was with great dismay and perplexity that I read the March 12 article by staff writers Thomas W. Waldron and William F. Zorzi Jr. The article's title, "Young's ties to health-care firms stir questions," is at best misleading, as the article confirms questions only in the minds of the writers.
Further, the article offers no rationale at all for singling out state Sen. Larry Young. It offers nothing in terms of what percentage of state legislators have other jobs, where their campaign finances come from or how they represent the varied interests in their districts.
It is believed that Senator Young, like all legislators, actually has a responsibility to engage in activities on behalf of the total constituency which they were elected to represent. This constituency includes business as well as labor.
Over the years, Senator Young has well represented the citizens of his district, and indeed the citizens of this state.
This is indicated by the fact that the senator has been re-elected several times and has been rewarded by his peers with greater leadership responsibilities.
In closing, I found the article to be irresponsible and insulting. I would hope that in the future, The Baltimore Sun will cease to "stir questions" through innuendo and insinuations.
The writer is the president of the Health Care Workers Union.
Dangers of meat
The report that a six-year Harvard University study of nearly 45,000 health professionals found no relation between fish consumption and reduced risk of heart disease points out the folly of seeking improved health by changing from one kind of meat to another.
Public concern with health hazards of red meat during the past decade has raised U.S. per capita fish consumption by 25 percent to over 15 pounds per year.
But fish and other seafood sources spend their entire life filtering industrial waste, agricultural runoff and urban sewage. Though lower in fat and cholesterol, their flesh contains ample supplies of heavy metals and pesticides, responsible for several forms of cancer and birth defects, as well as agents of infectious diseases.
Remedies are few. Thorough cooking destroys most pathogens, but does nothing to the toxic substances.
Federal agencies monitor incidence of seafood-borne diseases but do little to protect consumers from contaminated seafood.
The only effective long-term remedy to high risk of chronic and infectious disease is the diet recommended by a succession of U.S. health authorities: whole grains, vegetables and fresh fruits.
Courthouse cafeteria reserved for blind vendor
Larry Carson's article April 7 about the death of Lou Hanes tells a tragic story.
Lou was a blind business man who managed the Baltimore County Courthouse Cafeteria on behalf of himself and the Maryland Vending Program for the Blind. Working alongside Lou was his sighted wife, Betty.
The story is tragic for several reasons. First, of course, is the loss of Lou to his family and to those of us who were counted among his friends.
The story is also tragic in that it describes the plight of a family that failed to plan for the future. It is tragic in that one can infer, falsely, that the Maryland Vending Program for the Blind is heartless.
The Maryland Vending Program for the Blind is an opportunity program for blind men and women who have qualified for licensing by the state. The program is administered by the Division of Rehabilitation Services.
It was an excellent program for the opportunities it provided Lou Hanes. It is an excellent opportunity program for me and my fellow blind vendors. It affords us the opportunity to work and support our families and to pursue the "American dream" . . .
In each of the approximately 85 vending facilities managed by blind vendors, an operating agreement is signed by the manager and the Maryland Vending Program for the Blind.
This agreement includes provisions that all "right, title and interest" in the facility is retained by the Maryland Vending Program for the Blind.
Regardless of how much a given blind vendor might increase the enterprise, when that blind vendor leaves the facility by transfer, resignation, retirement or death, the facility reverts to the Maryland Vending Program for the Blind for reassignment to another qualified blind vendor.
Unfortunately, circumstances and the article pit the interests of Betty Hanes against the interests of the blind men and women in the Maryland Vending Program and those who will follow.
Betty Hanes needs a job, and she is worried about her future. So, too, are blind Marylanders for whom the Randolph Sheppard Vending Program exists. The Evening Sun article places our sympathy and concern in the camp of Betty Hanes . . .
It is not possible to know whether Betty Hanes and the other five employees will be retained by the incoming blind manager or not.
Blind vendors, like other successful business people, are anxious to employ talented, qualified people when they are available.
It would be most unusual to ignore the availability of a qualified staff.
However, that decision rests not with the state and not even with Baltimore County . . .
The writer is the chairman of the Maryland Committee of Blind Vendors.