Civics 101It is really frightening that nearly...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Civics 101

It is really frightening that nearly 400 of Maryland's leading citizens, including judges, legislators and a former governor, do not see wrong in what lobbyist Bruce Bereano did.

While society wrestles with a mistrust of government, in Maryland all three branches of government (judicial, legislative, and executive) rally to his aid because they and he think he has done no wrong. What a sad commentary for a representative democracy and all the Civics 101 classes!

To describe Bereano as "honest" and with "high integrity" demonstrates how differently these leading citizens view what is acceptable from the normal citizenry of Maryland. Even a former judge has suggested that federal prosecutors should be chasing after real criminals instead of Bereano.

This thinking has become a microcosm of our society -- pitting the "super-haves" against the ordinary people. And then "government" wants to know why we don't trust them.

The mentality of the super-haves is that you need to have victims. Crimes are committed against people.

Rob a bank and use the money to influence people, and that is a serious crime. These are crimes of ordinary people, and our judicial system responds accordingly.

Overcharging the same bank and using the money to influence politicians is not a crime to the super-haves. It is the way of doing business. And yet it is a much more insidious crime. Unchecked, these kind of crimes eat away at the moral fabric of society.

Bereano was in a unique position, presumably a trusted position. He had the opportunity to do good or evil that most of us do not have.

His mail fraud conviction and the election laws violation (for which he was not tried due to the statute of limitations) do not demonstrate honesty and integrity. Bereano's quote, "That I reached such height, being Bruce Bereano -- that's why this case was pursued," is presumptuous, pompous and arrogant.

Much of his notoriety has come from being the tobacco lobbyist and gambling lobbyist, not exactly family values. It's sad to see so much talent reach such a low and for Bereano to not understand why.

It's time for the "Maryland 400" to look into the mirror and try to understand the thinking, morals and ethics of the people who put them in office. They need to lead by example. This should become a major election issue.

William F. Brill

Rockville

Indecent Cartoon

I was angered and appalled by the political cartoon published in The Sun April 22.

Where is your decency, your compassion, or your empathy for the lost souls in Oklahoma City who will now have to deal with their grief and their broken hearts in the losses of loved ones?

I'm mature enough to know that these cartoons are not always meant to be "funny", but rather a satire of timely subjects. Would you have published it in an Oklahoma paper?

For your obvious lack of good taste, I have canceled my subscription to The Sun. I hope others will do the same.

Dorothea K. Linthicum

Baltimore

Protect Children

Attorney General Janet Reno and President Bill Clinton aroutraged and are pushing for the death penalty for the animals who murdered, maimed and terrorized our children in Oklahoma City.

Yet other animals are killing our children with drugs and shooting them on street corners every single day. The same Janet Reno and Bill Clinton and other lesser politicos throughout our country dare to call their efforts on behalf of our children "A War On Drugs."

In a war, our soldiers kill the enemy. We need politicians and citizens who say: "Enough! We care enough to protect our children. You attack them and we will deal with you in a prompt and lethal manner. You will not get a second chance. Prompt justice for you had better be a warning to other would-be animals."

One need not be a rocket scientist to foresee the future for a society which has not the guts to protect its children.

Michael E. Ward

Baltimore

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Sherlock Holmes

There is a serious omission in Bill Glauber's April 23 story about the closing of St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London.

It was in the chemical laboratory of the hospital, familiarly known as Barts, that John H. Watson, M.D., and Sherlock Holmes first met.

The date is not clear, but was probably late in 1880. They were introduced by "young Stamford, who had been a dresser under me at Barts," to quote Watson.

Watson took his degree in 1878, took additional army training, spent time in India, where he was wounded, returned to London and lived there for a while before he ran into Stamford.

It is also clear that Holmes and Watson lived together for a while at 221b Baker Street, before the first case in which Watson was involved. "The Annotated Sherlock Holmes" dates the start of this case as March 4, 1881.

George H. Winslow

Ellicott City

In Retrospect

Robert McNamara's new book, "In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam," has generated an impressive number of misinterpretations throughout the media.

What McNamara was trying to say was that Vietnam was a noble cause, and it was right and just for the United States to attempt to keep another chunk of the world and another group of people from falling under communist domination.

Our containment policy was fundamentally sound, and the "domino" theory was valid (the collapse of the Soviet empire is only the most recent example of the "domino" theory in action).

World communism was indeed a threat during the Cold War, not because of its monolithic organization, but because of its monolithic behavior, i.e., communists all agreed to do whatever they could to destroy the United States.

In the early 1960's, when "they" began pushing us again in Cuba, Laos, Africa, Vienna, Berlin and on the nuclear front, President Kennedy and Secretary of Defense McNamara chose to make a stand in Southeast Asia.

Because Kennedy and McNamara were amateurs in foreign policy and military strategy they chose the wrong battlefield.

Because President Johnson was also an amateur in military matters he never understood the effect of political decisions on military operations.

Because Johnson and McNamara were arrogant they would not listen to advice from those who knew better.

Because the Joint Chiefs of Staff were an obsequious lot (we needed a General George Marshall) they never challenged this misguided civilian leadership.

Because the "objective" was not clearly defined, the military effort was uncoordinated and disjointed.

Because General William Westmoreland misunderstood the nature of the enemy and insurgent warfare he used the wrong strategy and tactics.

Because it became obvious we were following a "no-win" strategy by 1968, the "hawks" gradually abandoned support for the war.

Because male students were terrified by the prospect of being drafted out of college and sent into combat they joined anti-war movements, which undercut the U.S. bargaining position at the Paris negotiations.

Because the media was true to its nature, it supported the war when things were going well, then piled on when things were going poorly.

An important lesson to be learned is that just because our leaders did it all wrong doesn't mean the war was "unwinnable."

McNamara's revelations merely confirm what military historians and analysts have known for three decades; in the Vietnam conflict the United States had the worst strategic leadership for any war in our history.

Robert E. Morris

Columbia

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