Millions doubted weapons claims before the war
"It turns out we were all wrong," David Kay, the former chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, recently announced to Congress, regarding this administration's failure to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq ("Kay criticizes data that led to war in Iraq," Jan. 29).
I strongly disagree. Not all of us were wrong. Millions of Americans, and tens of millions of people around the world, never believed President Bush's claims, and demonstrated against the looming war months before it began. Unfortunately, we were shouted down by the right wing of the Republican Party and their legions in the media.
We were told, unequivocally, that Iraq possessed WMD, perhaps including nuclear weapons. We were told that the threat posed was imminent. For these reasons, we were told, we had to go to war.
But now things have changed and all we get from these same people is equivocation. Saddam Hussein was an evil man, they tell us, and this was reason enough to risk American lives. The WMD no longer seem to matter.
Now it is our turn to shout them down. It does matter. There is no greater measure of an American president's competence than the correctness of a decision to take this country to war. Such decisions must be based on the most solid data and made only when there is a certainty of the threat posed to our national security. War must always be a last resort, never a first option.
Whether this president lied outright, manipulated facts or served as a pawn for others, remains to be determined.
Regardless of that outcome, however, one thing is certain: Mr. Bush was far too eager to take this country to war, and it is our soldiers who are paying the price for his recklessness.
Havre de Grace
President's interest comes much too late
The hubris of the Bush administration never fails to amaze. And National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice now says that "no one will want to know more than the president" about the intelligence used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq ("Iraq arms could be factor in campaign," Jan. 30).
A year ago, as the administration pounded its war drums, many people were noting the deception, the use of discredited documents, the hyping of the danger that Iraq presented. And only now, after its own inspectors have had to admit that they have found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, does the administration claim to want to understand more about the intelligence it says it used to make its decision to attack.
But we all know, and have known for some time, that the president wanted this war in spite of what the facts might tell him. As a result, more than 500 Americans and thousands of Iraqis have died, with the war far from over.
It is time for this administration to be replaced with responsible leaders.
Why don't we hear impeachment talk?
The Sun reported that Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski has framed the key question over Iraq's missing WMD as "was the intelligence flawed or were the books cooked?" ("Iraq arms could be factor in campaign," Jan. 30).
But there is another possibility: Perhaps the Bush administration knew that Saddam Hussein did not have any weapons of mass destruction and deliberately and knowingly lied to the American people to muster support for a war it had long wished to have for other reasons.
President Bill Clinton was impeached for lying to the American people about a sexual escapade that had no bearing on matters of state. No one died when Mr. Clinton lied.
But lying to the American people in order to pursue an unnecessary and costly war would surely fit the constitutional standard for impeachment of "high crimes and misdemeanors."
Why isn't anyone talking about impeachment now?
Raise new revenue with fees, not taxes
Here is one Maryland taxpayer who favors fees instead of tax increases ("No new taxes in budget but many will pay more," Feb. 1).
If Maryland needs road improvements and better sewage disposal - and it does - the best way to raise the money is by charging a fee and requiring that the money collected has to go to the stated purpose and not into the black hole of the general fund, where the politicians use the money any way they choose.
We need to spend tax money or fees for the benefit of Marylanders and not for the whims and wishes of the politicians.
Cap attorneys' fees to cut insurance costs
Perhaps the solution to the malpractice insurance problem ("Doctors' coverage cost in the spotlight," Jan. 30) is not capping insurance premiums or patients' awards, but capping attorneys' fees.
Undermining Ehrlich doesn't serve the city
By pushing away Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s bipartisan and cooperative hand, Mayor Martin O'Malley shows that he truly is, in the mayor's own words about Mr. Ehrlich, "disengaged in the real business of governing" ("Governor calls for bipartisanship," Jan. 30).
In governing and leading, one must, at times, rise above the political fray for the betterment of one's constituents. But this is lost on Mr. O'Malley. He does not seek to join Mr. Ehrlich to forge real solutions to the city's problems. At every turn, he seems to undermine Mr. Ehrlich's efforts to help bring real change to the city.
The people of Baltimore are not best served by Mr. O'Malley's obstructionist efforts to derail the hard work of the governor's administration.
John C. Fiastro Jr.
Free ethical advice for the City Council
I have a few suggestions for the ethically "confused" members of the City Council ("Ethics law revisions causing confusion," Jan. 30).
Don't accept free tickets to anything. Instruct your staff to throw them in the trash.
Don't hire anyone who is even distantly related to you. Don't accept campaign contributions from anyone who has pending legislation.
And, most of all, don't try to make excuses for doing things everyone knows are corrupt.
This is some "ethical education" that I'll donate for free.
Douglas E. McNeil
Astronauts can't see what Hubble reveals
Kudos to Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski for holding NASA's feet to the fire, and forcing another look at the decision to end support to the Hubble Space Telescope ("NASA chief promises to review decision not to service Hubble," Jan. 30) - not just because the Space Telescope Institute, and therefore the Hubble, are Baltimore institutions, but because the telescope has produced very real and inspiring knowledge about the cosmos and our origins during its short lifetime.
Having a man on the moon - or Mars - is no substitute for the reach of the Hubble (billions of light years) and the knowledge it has produced.
Franklin W. Littleton