To stop terror, heal the conflict in Middle East

The Sun's fine editorial "A holiday in Baghdad" (Oct. 28) stated that Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld told "his Defense Department aides that the war on terrorism wasn't going as well as it might be."

In that same memo, he asks, "Are we capturing, killing and deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas [Islamic schools] and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?"

Mr. Rumsfeld needs to learn that it is not radical Islamic schools or radical clerics turning out new generations of terrorists. It is 50 years of Arab-Israeli conflict and its corresponding humiliation of the Arab world. It is total ignorance of Islam and of the culture of Islamic societies and a corresponding hatred for all things Islamic by the West.

And it is our years of support in the Middle East of client states that are authoritarian and armed societies masquerading as democracies that give the lie to our advocacy of democracy.

To win the war on terror, the United States must resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It is clear that the parties to the conflict cannot or will not resolve their differences. But Washington, leading the international community, must impose a solution -- and then terror and the threat of terror will recede dramatically.

Fariborz S. Fatemi

McLean, Va.

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

A soldier's trauma shows war is wrong

I want to thank The Sun for Scott Calvert's article about Pfc. Tyrone Roper's ongoing ordeal ("After Iraq, the guilt of killing tears a life apart," Oct. 26). My heart goes out to him and his family, and I hope he gets the help he needs to put his life back together again.

Mr. Calvert's article is a timely reminder of why every war is wrong, and why "preemptive" wars are criminal. Regardless of the final outcome of the Iraq war and occupation, there will be returning soldiers by the thousands who will never wholly integrate back into American society.

Many will wind up in prison or homeless and in despair, leaving broken families and fractured lives in their wake. A few of these tormented souls will be like unexploded ordnance walking among us, and will one day unleash spectacular acts of violence -- just as Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, Timothy McVeigh and others have done years after they left the military.

America is the most powerful nation in history. In large measure, the examples we set determine the world's fate.

We have to have the courage to look honestly at our past and present actions, admit and learn from our mistakes and begin to heal the planet -- and to do so soon. We must say no to war as an instrument of foreign policy.

Dave Goldsmith


The writer is Baltimore County Green Party coordinator.

Bush hasn't created more peaceful planet

After his nearly unilateral decision to go to war based upon hyped-up, fear-mongering talk about weapons of mass destruction and the horrible violence that continues every day in Iraq, it is hard to believe that President Bush could actually utter the words: "The world is more peaceful and more free under my leadership" ("Bush resolute as violence rises in Iraq," Oct. 29).

Who does he think he's kidding?

Charles Rammelkamp


Sen. Mikulski moves out of mainstream

C. Fraser Smith's column describing Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's conflict with President Bush's judicial appointments illustrates two things ("The political dog that simply wouldn't bark," Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 2).

First, if you wage war against the president's nominees then you shouldn't be surprised when the president pushes back and infringes on your prerogatives.

Second, the good senator needs to be replaced. Her obstinacy is hurting Maryland, and she is out of step with the mainstream.

Michael D. Zimmer


Will critics give Bush credit on economy?

I wonder if the Bushwackers will stop beating up on the president about the nation's economy, and praise him instead, now that the Commerce Department has revealed that the U.S. economy expanded at a 7.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the fastest growth in more than 19 years ("U.S. economy expands 7.2% in 3rd quarter," Oct. 31).


Richard T. Seymour


Ignoring the damage tax cuts will wreak

The Sun's article "U.S. economy expands 7.2% in 3rd quarter" (Oct. 31) paints a rosy scenario about the economy and gives most of the credit to President Bush's tax cuts.

What reporter Bill Atkinson chooses to ignore completely is the federal deficit, which has exploded under Mr. Bush's watch and is directly linked to the tax cuts. Likewise, his article ignores the fact that even if the economy generates 2 million jobs, and that is by no means certain, then this will still be a jobless "recovery," as millions of jobs have been lost since Mr. Bush took office in 2001.

A balanced and informative discussion would have evaluated the short-term stimulus of huge tax cuts skewed toward the wealthiest in light of the long-term federal debt that threatens Social Security and the fiscal well-being of our children.

Michael Caughlin


Abortion procedure erodes our morality

Partial-birth abortion is vicious, cold-blooded and inhumane.

The Senate should be applauded for passing the bill to ban it. For too long this country has lacked moral and principled governance. It's encouraging to see members of the Senate take a step forward in leading our country down the path of morality.

Partial-birth abortion has caused the erosion of our nation's morals and humanity.

Life begins at the time of conception, and the issue is not grounded only in morality but also in biology. When an egg and a sperm cell bond, they create a living being. Any action that prevents the birth of that being is murder.

Christina McGee


Close other prisons as well as Supermax

In addition to closing of the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center ("Supermax send-off," editorial, Oct. 23), let us shut down and demolish the numerous other institutions of incarceration that blemish the neighborhood surrounding St. Frances Academy, a high school near downtown Baltimore.

I am confident that the oldest Catholic African-American institution of education could find more civilized and humane uses for the property than operating overpriced prisons.

Thomas J. Nealis


The writer is St. Frances Academy's director of development and academy relations.

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