Shed Some Light
Thank you for throwing the light of day on U.S. complicity with inhumane policies and behavior in Honduras, which was justified by the Reagan administration as a necessary means of fighting "communism' in Latin America.
Human rights abuses in Honduras, with apparent U.S. complicity, were already well documented as early as 1983, as I learned in briefings when I became part of a delegation of 150 church women leaders, Catholic and Protestant, who were concerned about the U. S.-Honduran alliance in reported preparations for an invasion of Nicaragua from Honduran military bases.
The 150 women, who had gathered in Miami and in New Orleans, were not permitted to land on Honduran soil to carry out our intention of praying for peace at churches in Tegucigalpa and U.S. military bases.
U.S. helicopters hovered over our plane at the end of the runway in Tegucigalpa while armed Honduran officials came on board to tell us we would have to fly back to the United States.
I heartily agree with Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., that our foreign policy, including CIA policy, should reflect our democratic values.
In our recent history, the goal of fighting communism has been used to justify U.S. policy and actions that, put to a referendum, the people of this country would surely repudiate.
I hope your story about Honduras will motivate the Congress to mount a full-scale investigation.
Frances C. Nyce
I'm writing in response to your June 5 story about the Second Amendment rally in Washington D.C. Your describing the rally's participants as "protesters" was inaccurate and insulting.
I attended the rally not as a protester but as an American in support of the Constitution and our way of life. As a housewife and mother of three, I went to Washington to demonstrate my support not only for our right to own firearms, but all our rights, including free speech and free assembly.
The Baltimore Sun's consistent characterization of pro-gun conservatives as people who are somehow out of sync with what liberals consider "normal" society may be a contributing factor in the paper's loss of readership.
If The Baltimore Sun had any real understanding of guns and gun owners, it would realize that no group of citizens is more concerned with guaranteeing our rights as a free people.
Raye C. Jones
A quote was made by Capt. Scott O'Grady in the June 10 article concerning his ordeal in Bosnia that was refreshing and uplifting to me.
His fight to survive for six days and the rescue mission that followed were truly miracles of God. And Captain O'Grady didn't mince words when he expressed his gratitude.
He thanked God first because, as Capt. O'Grady put it: "If it wasn't for God's love for me and my love for God, I would never have gotten through it. He's the one who delivered me here, and I know that in my heart."
Thank Captain O'Grady for that glorious affirmation that God is not dead, that he is a person (not an invisible force), and that He is in control.
Should Use Bases
The high incidence of crime and its relationship to drug abuse has long been recognized.
Our ability to separate these persons from law-abiding citizens is precluded by lack of space in our prison system. The high cost of building an adequate number of facilities to accomplish this goal is prohibitive.
At this time we are also downsizing our military, which will result in the closing of many bases. In Maryland, Fort Meade (and possibly others) is considered a likely candidate for closure.
They are constructed for the housing of thousands. Should not the state of Maryland consider taking over closed facilities for use in the lodging and treatment of addicts and other less violent criminals?
The existing prisons could then be reserved for the more dangerous violators. The additional space could make it possible for them to actually serve the full terms to which they were sentenced and thus the communities could be protected from both groups.
Maintaining such suggested bases would require some additional funding, but only a fraction of what would be needed for the usual prisons. These resources would be more than compensated for by the savings they would produce.
The average drug users, in order to feed their habits, must break in to many cars and homes regularly. What they steal is sold for a fraction of the value.
With these persons off the streets, insurance rates would be lowered significantly, replacement costs would be eliminated, neighborhoods would become safer, businesses and their potential employees would return to the cities, housing values would improve and the broader tax base could actually lower the rates.
To accomplish this goal, I urge everyone to contact his or her representatives (city, state and federal) and request that they actively support this effort before these bases are dismantled and sold off to developers at a fraction of their actual value. The life you save could be your own.
Jerusalem's Renaissance in Israel
Doug Struck's May 28 article on Jerusalem Day was significant for what it failed to address.
A fair and complete treatment of the issues would have at least acknowledged the millenniums-old Jewish inhabitation of Jerusalem, the grounds Jews have in fearing an Arab presence and the positive changes brought about since 1967.
It is disappointing that Struck chose not to report that this year will mark the beginning of the Jerusalem 3000 celebration, a year-long program of events sponsored by the State of Israel, the City of Jerusalem and Jewish organizations worldwide to celebrate the 3,000 years since King David established Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish nation.
The archaeological remains of the city established by King David are squarely within the area described by Struck as "Arab East Jerusalem." It is further significant that "East Jerusalem" encompasses the Old City, within which lies Judaism's holiest site -- the Western Wall of the Temple Mount -- constructed more than 2,000 years ago.
From at least the time Jerusalem was established as the Jewish capital by King David, Jewish inhabitation of the Old City continued virtually uninterrupted until the wanton and indiscriminate destruction inflicted by Jordan in May, 1948, when it attacked and captured the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.
As John Phillips, a Life magazine photographer-reporter accompanying the Jordanian Legion, observed: "Palestinian hangers-on burst in and reduced [the Jewish Quarter] to smoking ruin after the beaten Jews gave in." He noted that "[h]ad any Jew decided to remain in the Old City, he would have been homeless within hours and probably dead by nightfall."
Under Jordanian control, the Jewish Quarter remained in ruins, substantially razed to the ground. Those Jewish holy sites not blown up by the invading Arabs were used as stables and garbage dumps.
Jews were barred from the entire Old City, and thus from Judaism's holiest site.
They were left only to gaze longingly, across the morose no-man's land, past Jordanian snipers, at the city of their dreams. For 19 years they could do no more than pray "next year in Jerusalem!"
Israel's liberation of the city in 1967 brought an answer to those prayers.
The unification of Jerusalem was promptly followed by the guarantee for the first time in 19 years of access to Jerusalem's holy sites for people of all religions.
That guarantee -- for Jews, Christians and Muslims -- has remained effective since 1967. The Arab residents of Jerusalem may travel freely through the city, conduct their affairs and use any places of worship which they choose.
A fair contrast of the state of affairs during the period since 1948 would have made it apparent that much has changed for the better since 1967.
Aron U. Raskas