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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Learn lessons from misguided meddling in Iran

The Sun's editorial "Broaden the coalition" (Aug. 20) suggests the "goal of a free and democratic Iraq." The discussion about democracy for Iraq takes on a new dimension if we remember the Iranian model of 1948 to 1953.

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Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of a time that lives in infamy in Iranian history -- a day (August 19, 1953) on which the United States helped its English cousins overthrow a freely elected constitutional government in Iran.

That government was led by Iranian national heroes Mohammed Mossadegh, Hussein Fatemi and the National Front Party. This freely elected constitutional government ruled in harmony with Islamic values and with the consent of the governed. It was replaced by the hated Pahlavi regime, which ended with the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

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One can only speculate as to what the Middle East would be like today if that freely elected constitutional government had been allowed to flourish. But surely the Middle East would not have been dominated by armed societies masquerading as democracies and U.S. client states governed by dictators.

The Iranian model of 50 years ago proves democracy in the Middle East is a real possibility. But will we ever learn the lessons of the unintended consequences of our actions 50 years ago in helping overthrow Iran's democratic regime?

As the consequences of our policies in Iraq unfold, the answer seems to be a resounding "no."

Fariborz S. Fatemi

McLean, Va.

The writer is a former staff member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

U.S. needs help in war on terror

I find it difficult to understand the rationale of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld when he says, despite mounting American casualties in Iraq, that "U.S. military commanders in Iraq see no need to add more troops ... despite the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad" ("Rumsfeld sees 'truly global struggle,'" Aug. 21).

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Addressing U.S. troops stationed in Honduras, Mr. Rumsfeld also made the disturbing statement that in the fight against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, other volatile regions such as Central and South America also deserve attention. Does this portend future incursions of American troops in those areas?

All this points to the truth of The Sun's editorial "Broaden the coalition" (Aug. 20), which cited the need for a multinational force, saying, "The goal of a free and democratic Iraq ... may be more swiftly realized if the industrial nations led the way under a U.N. umbrella."

America cannot shoulder the worldwide fight against terrorism with limited assistance from a few allies.

Freedom-loving nations should not stand idly by while American soldiers die to preserve the ideals that other free nations equally cherish.

Albert E. Denny

Baltimore

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Fire chief betrays the public trust

During a time of lower salaries and shrinking budgets, it is an insult to the people of Anne Arundel County for County Fire Chief Roger C. Simonds to dole out excessive (in fact, obscene) amounts of overtime to his officers ("Fire chief criticized for use of funds," Aug. 17).

I'm sure that every county resident understands the need for some overtime for our public safety officials, but Chief Simonds exceeded any acceptable level by allowing thousands of hours of overtime for a few captains and lieutenants.

County Executive Janet S. Owens shouldn't try to defend her fire chief.

Chief Simonds has disregarded the public's trust, and Ms. Owens must take action to restore it.

Allen Furth

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Annapolis

New forms of energy can block blackouts

One solution to the electric grid failure would be to decentralize power production ("Grease the gridlock," editorial, Aug. 20).

One option would be to have every building, home or office equipped with solar panels and windmills, with a fuel cell system as backup. This way, we could eliminate dependence on foreign oil and at same time have a system that is not vulnerable to failure either from overload or damage from severe weather or sabotage.

One side benefit is elimination of large, high-voltage transmission lines and their possible health hazards.

And turning to alternative energy would be cost-effective because wind and sunlight are free.

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Barker B. Much

Essex

Man walking dog did nothing wrong

I was appalled when I read Dan Rodricks' column about his desire to bring "the light of civility" to a man who innocently took his dog for a walk to a neighborhood ice cream shop ("Miracle of common sense is just the healing some need," Aug. 17). Since when is one considered a "loser" or a "sinner" for taking his or her dog for a walk and stopping to get ice cream?

The dog was leashed and well-behaved but unfortunately condemned to a vicious stereotype because it was a Staffordshire terrier (also known as a pit bull).

As an owner of a Staffordshire terrier myself, I enjoy taking her for walks and stopping for ice cream, coffee, bagels or whatever I feel like getting. My neighborhood ice cream shop even allows me to walk inside the shop with her, and all the neighborhood kids love to come up and pet her.

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If Mr. Rodricks has an overactive fear of dogs, maybe he is the one who should avoid public places.

Allysha Lorber

Baltimore

Churches should be open to everyone

After reading the letter "Causing schism instead of healing" (Aug. 14), I must say I spent a portion of the day shocked and stunned, not to mention deeply saddened.

The writer wanted to know why gays and lesbians couldn't establish their own churches in which to worship and not infringe on the "majority" of Christians.

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Let me put her mind to rest. For decades there have been churches, synagogues and mosques that serve predominantly, if not exclusively, gay and lesbian congregations. They exist to service a population that felt persecuted, shunned or generally disenfranchised from their chosen religions. How terribly sad.

It wasn't so long ago that the thought of people of different races praying together would send a chill down the spine of many a congregation. In some places it still does.

But shouldn't a house of God be open to all who wish to worship?

Silas D. White

Baltimore

Changing the world in nonviolent ways

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I thought Michael Hill's column "War to get rid of villain seldom ends problem" (Aug. 17) was excellent. It addressed the realities of the world situation without a lot of finger-pointing and hype.

I've always admired persons such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, who were able to cause vast social change through nonviolent methods.

If only there were a way to get mankind to follow these examples, rather then the proclamations of zealots.

George F. Spicka

Baltimore


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