Power transfer a hollow victory in wasteful war

What a farce. Having waged a pre-emptive war against a sovereign nation (albeit one ruled by a despicable tyrant), we now "give back" sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government and declare yet another dubious "victory" ("Handover of Iraq done early, quietly," June 29).


So uncertain is the situation that the transfer of power had to be done early, quietly, secretly - with the knowledge that the insurgents who oppose our continuing occupation of their country, along with the terrorists who have been drawn there by our presence, will go on killing innocent Iraqis and brave American soldiers.

And even if freedom and democracy miraculously take hold in Iraq, we must never forget that the Bush administration's stated reasons for going to war - each of which is now discredited - did not originally stress freeing the Iraqi people and establishing a democratic government in that country.


Would Congress and the American people have supported the war on those grounds? Have its accomplishments been worth the deaths of thousands of Iraqis and 850 American soldiers? I think not.

And the further sad reality is that the violence, barbarism and death seem to be far from over.

Bill Blackwell


After the handover, can troops go home?

As America cedes power in Iraq, how long will it take for us to hear "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again"?

McNair Taylor



Other GOP leaders also offend our ears

Why should Americans expect Vice President Dick Cheney to apologize for the use of gutter language on the floor of the U.S. Senate ("Cheney curses at Leahy on Senate floor," June 25)?

When the Republican Party condones insensitive comments from the likes of Sen. Trent Lott and Sen. Rick Santorum, should we expect anything different from the vice president?

Robert H. Paul


Let parents assign summer readings


I fully support Superintendent Joe A. Hairston bringing to light, in response to a letter of inquiry representing many parents, the Baltimore County public schools' position on summer assignments ("Summer homework policy incites debate in Balto. Co.," June 20).

As Mr. Hairston stated, "While we encourage students to read and keep up their math skills during the summer break, summer assignments are not required, and there is no consequence to a student that does not complete the work."

And while I support recommendations for summer reading, I oppose the multitude of assignments (hundreds of math problems, numerous novels, completing essays, reading logs and written documentation of outside experiences) many Baltimore County schools have dictated as requirements.

As a parent of a student in Baltimore County, I encourage my child to read throughout the year.

She gives 100 percent during the school year and looks forward to the opportunity summer affords to make her own choices to participate in a variety of enriching activities, including reading.

Those parents who want summer reading to be mandated should take it upon themselves to simply require their children to read.


Nancy Karten

Owings Mills

Appointment shows integrity, loyalty

The appointment of Lynn Y. Buhl as Maryland's deputy secretary of the Department of Natural Resources by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yet again showcases the governor's integrity, his persistence and, most of all, his loyalty to those who he knows are people of dedicated service and skill ("Buhl, whose nomination to Cabinet was rejected, is named to DNR post," June 26).

Larry D. Kump



Direct the criticism at current president

Wouldn't it be nice if Stanley A. Renshon had used his razor-sharp venom that sloppily castigates President Bill Clinton across the board ("Shill Bill, Vol. I," Opinion * Commentary, June 27) against the current president instead, who has taken us heedlessly to war, emptied the nation's coffers, nullified international treaties, alienated our allies, undone major environmental laws, further impoverished the nation's poor and catered to corrupt CEOs?

Under Mr. Clinton, the United States enjoyed peace, prosperity, full employment and a budget surplus.

What more could one ask for?

Louise MacDonald



Cartoonist is right on Reagan's legacy

I cannot hold it in any longer. The comments by the writer of the letter "'Boondocks' drowns in its own sarcasm" (June 23) lionizing President Ronald Reagan and castigating cartoonist Aaron McGruder were the last straw.

Mr. Reagan was not a great, or even a good, president.

He sold missiles to the terrorist state of Iran, which were subsequently used against Americans in Afghanistan; he violated a congressional ban and hired mercenaries to murder innocents in Nicaragua, which is treason in my book; he generated a deficit that surpassed the national debt that accumulated over the country's previous almost 200 years to give tax cuts to the rich; and he allowed the AIDS crisis to claims thousands of lives through his inaction.

Mr. Reagan was a failure as a president and displayed little human compassion for those most in need.

Mr. McGruder should be praised for his candor. I commend him for it.


Lyle Nash


Israel must accept a Palestine, too

The writer of the letter "Palestinians need to accept Israel" (June 24) quotes a Pew Research Center study to the effect that 80 percent of Palestinians "doubt that a way can be found for the state of Israel to exist so that the rights and needs of the Palestinian people are met."

Why would Palestinians think this way? Is it because the Israeli government ignores their rights as well as the Geneva Conventions, which say that an occupying force cannot move its civilian population into occupied territory?

Or is it because the Israeli security barrier, which prevents Palestinians from getting to work, school and medical help, is being built to confiscate 50 percent of their land on the West Bank?


Yes, Palestinians must accept the existence of Israel for Israelis. But there are two sides to this coin. Israelis must accept the existence of Palestine for Palestinians.

Bob Krasnansky

Ellicott City