A volunteer military knows the risksRegarding the...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A volunteer military knows the risks

Regarding the 20,000 troops going to Bosnia, one should note that all of them are professional soldiers. Like a firefighter who knows that besides playing checkers in the firehouse he will be called from time to time to a dangerous mission of fighting fires, the professional soldier knows and willingly assumes the risk that during his career he might be called to fight in a military conflict where casualties are inevitable.

The U.S. as a world power has certain responsibilities and is expected to conduct its foreign policy accordingly. By reneging on the commitment to help its allies contain the flames of war in southern Europe, the U.S.will lose not only its prestige as a superpower but also its reputation as a dependable ally. This is bound to have repercussions and unforeseen consequences on the international scene.

But we can always retreat to "Fortress America," use our armed forces for war games and military parades and live unperturbed in a fool's paradise. Some people think that this is our national interest.

Karl Ritums

Baltimore

Canadian system not that bad

In reference to the Nov. 19 Perspective article on the health care system in Canada, Susan Riggs would have you believe that our system is in a shambles and that health care in Canada has reverted to medieval times.

This is less than accurate.

It is true that our system is undergoing necessary change due to substantial spending cuts. It is true that technology in many smaller hospitals would benefit from upgrading and it is also true that many health care professionals are moving to the U.S.

However, to make statements such as ". . . the reality of the devastation that socialized medicine has created [in Canada])" are irresponsible at best. Ms. Riggs also writes, "If you traveled to Canada right now, you would read of the medical horror stories that dominate our newspapers."

Perhaps Ms. Riggs is referring to the Canadian version of the National Enquirer or some other astute, informed publication. We read major Canadian newspapers on a regular basis and have failed to notice the above mentioned dominance.

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of Canadians receive very good health care which is easily accessible. We have some medical facilities that are world class; we have some that are not.

It is important to understand that our population distribution and indeed our population have huge effects on health care. With less than 10 percent of the United States population base covering a greater land mass, health care costs more and poses unique problems in accessibility for some. These problems have always been adequately overcome, although are constantly in need of improvement.

Suffice it to state that we come from an imperfect system to an imperfect system.

Mark and Mary Lou Winkler

Baltimore

Would GOP cut perks?

Your Nov. 26 front-page story about federal employees' concerns for job security hit home.

My husband was among the furloughed employees who were penalized by the Republicans' inability to perform. Perhaps it would be much easier to believe the Republicans were interested in balancing the budget if they would cut their own spending.

When Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich and their pals eliminate free mail for Congress, free travel, extremely generous congressional pensions, free chauffeurs and the dozens of other perks they now enjoy at taxpayers' expense, perhaps they will regain a small amount of the public's trust.

Furthermore, we should hear no talk about congressional pay raises for the next seven years.

Jean Evans

Ellicott City

Ho victim identified

I read the Nov. 28 article by Dick George on the future of Maryland Public Television with great interest and a large dose of nostalgia. Although Mr. George did not mention it in the article, one of the local programs Raymond Ho terminated during his tenure at MPT was "Crabs."

This program, during its run on MPT, won four Emmys and numerous other local and national awards. It showcased national-caliber local talent like "Toots" Duvall and Augie Dorsey while giving a decidedly Maryland flavor to humor and satire which was as good (and often better) than its national network competition.

NTC Bernie Wasiljov

Baltimore

GOP program increases aid

In a Nov. 26 letter, Chris Johnson asks how any person will send a kid to college "after the Republicans gut the college loan program." Before such wild statements, perhaps the writer should do some homework.

Republicans are increasing the student loan program by $12 billion over the next seven years. Students like me will be receiving more, not less, from the federal loan program.

David Marks

Perry Hall

Most Section 8 tenants are good neighbors

I have two concerns about the recent stories covering Section 8 certificates in the Patterson Park community and the related editorials of Nov. 30 ("Unintended consequences") and Dec. 1 ("Letter to Henry Cisneros").

First, it is not a fact that I had "just learned . . . last week" that some Section 8 tenants have caused problems. We have heard similar complaints from many communities and I have been involved in at least three meetings in recent months concerning Patterson Park. One meeting included Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.

I discussed several remedies we are trying, none of which could have been conceived or implemented within a week. For example, our Community Services and Support Program, providing comprehensive social services for former residents of the family high-rise developments, has been under design for two years and will be in place by Dec. 31.

Second, in reading the stories and editorials, one might conclude that all Section 8 certificate holders are problems. Or that the pieces of paper (certificates) cause problems in and of themselves. The fact is that 95 percent of all Section 8 tenants are good neighbors. I realize that if one of that remaining 5 percent lives on your block or next door, it could seem like you have all 100 percent.

It is not the certificate that causes the problem. It is the person. I thought that I spent a great deal of time talking with your reporters and editors about our multi-agency efforts to assist communities in dealing with "people who cause anxiety" in communities.

Unfortunately, people will walk away from your stories and editorials believing that the mere possession of a certificate is some sort of a crime.

Indeed, I have already had a community leader demand lists of addresses where Section 8 tenants reside so she can "inspect their houses."

Far more helpful to correction of the problem would be the identification of problem neighbors to the city so that we can assist the communities in resolving their issues, whether the individual tenant receives rental subsidies or not. Many people would be surprised to find that most of the trouble-makers do not, in fact, receive rent subsidies.

Daniel P. Henson III

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City.

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