Women soldiers in combat roles dangerous trendThe...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Women soldiers in combat roles dangerous trend

The suggestion of retired Army Maj. Lillian Pfluke that the military's sexual harassment problems might be solved by making women eligible for combat positions reminds me of the )) old saying that "cancer cures smoking."

Anyone found guilty in this investigation should be severely punished, but the move toward women in combat is a dangerous and ill-advised one that must be reversed now.

We can no longer deny the obvious. The movie "Private Benjamin" was grounded more in reality than is today's military.

Dave Reich

Timonium

Women thrive in Israel force

As a woman who served actively for 21 years in the Israel Defense Force and retired as a lieutenant colonel, I would like to comment on Ann LoLordo's Dec. 1 article, "Israeli Army's 'girls stigma'."

The fact that women do not serve in active combat positions in the army is generally accepted by the majority of Israeli women and likely can be attributed to Jewish traditional perceptions of the role of women. Nevertheless, in recent years women have had the opportunity to serve in a very wide array of positions in almost all areas of endeavor. The number of women choosing the army as a career has also greatly increased.

Male officers and soldiers alike have fully accepted and respect the authority and professionalism of women serving in command positions and as instructors. Women exhibit high professional standard and achieve exceptional results, sometimes even outdoing their male counterparts in command, training, technical and other positions.

This is highly valued and greatly appreciated by the high command. Israeli women have continuously done their duty in the defense of their country. Today, they continue to shoulder this task, making the IDF the excellent fighting force that it is.

Chauvinistic, biased, remarks by some Israelis are the exception and part of the past. The role of women in contemporary Israeli society and their function in the Israeli Army are proof of how far Israeli women have progressed along the road toward the goal of full and equal opportunity.

Yaffa Shoshan

Baltimore

White gay people know discrimination

Talk about stereotyping. In his Opinion Commentary piece on tolerance (Nov. 22), Leonard Steinhorn states: "Whites who go apartment hunting never have to face the prospect of being told the place was rented though it wasn't."

Wrong. There are many many whites who know that pain, who have dealt with that frustration and anger. They are called gay men and women.

Gay men and women of all races, and that does include whites, have had many doors slammed in their face, including rentals and all the other examples given.

I personally have been denied apartments when my partner and I both showed up to look. Both of us being male, we were given excuses, but just as often told, "We don't rent to two men'.

I would hope that as a professor of communications, Mr. Steinhorn learns to communicate with all the people before he finishes his book about racial integration.

Bryon Predika

Baltimore

Tigers can be saved; humanity requires it

I find Bharat Jhunjhunwala's Opinion Commentary article, "Saving the tiger by letting him die with dignity," absurd and contradictory.

According to Mr. Jhunjhunwala, the Eastern mind "sees man as a humble part in the larger scheme of nature," and the Western mind "wants to mold nature in conformity with its desires."

Therefore, how can he justify his point of view by using the excuse that it is nature's will for the tiger to become extinct?

Yes, I believe in natural selection, and the dinosaurs (which Mr. Jhunjhunwala uses as a comparison) were certainly part of this process.

However, nature has not selected the tiger for extinction. We have.

The problem is that man has overstepped his boundaries in trying to control the natural world around him. We have hunted the tiger for trophies. We have taken the tiger's land. Nature had nothing to do with this process.

Therefore, if man has the will and power to take these things from the tiger, to take away from the realm of nature, don't we have the responsibility to try to make amends?

It is this point of view that makes me believe we must do whatever it takes to save the tiger (as well as any other endangered species). If not for us, they would not be in the situation they are today. They have no say in what we do to their (our own) world.

As for stripping the tiger of its "dignity," we've already done that. It's time to attempt to give back what we have already taken.

In agreement with Mr. Jhunjhunwala, the highest potential of every living creature should be realized. It must also be realized that in order to reach any potential, the gift of life must be present. Life itself is the one greatest, common blessing of all creatures on earth.

Extinction is forever. If we lose one precious species, due to interference with nature, the world is never the same.

What a sad day it will be when our children reach our age and their only concept of a tiger will be from a book, video or vague childhood memory from a zoo. I sincerely hope that day never arrives. We must do everything in our power to see that it doesn't.

Christina R. Ferrandi

Baltimore

Free college for everyone erodes higher education

President Clinton has suggested that there be tuition-free two years of college for everyone.

He is engaging in a plan to make that first two years of college as meaningless as the high school diploma is today.

Not everyone, unfortunately, is college material. This was recognized many decades ago when we instituted the technical program in our high schools. Persons who, through no fault of their own, would not profit from higher education were at least taught skills which would assist them in obtaining jobs consistent with their abilities.

Today we are awarding high school diplomas to near-illiterates who read so badly they must take remedial reading in their initial year at college. Many of them cannot complete a job application.

Remedial reading should be a pre-college course when it is necessary. No one should be admitted to any college who does not meet reasonable entrance standards. Let's award scholarships to those better students, but let us not delude ourselves with absurd good intentions. We have already seen what misplaced good intentions produce in many government programs. Let's not repeat past mistakes and further waste scarce tax dollars.

arion Friedman

Baltimore

Pub Date: 12/06/96

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