Troops' safety a low priority for president

In The Sun's article "Armoring military trucks will take until September" (Dec. 10), we saw a clear demonstration of the real priorities of the Bush administration.

In the three years that our troops have been in harm's way in Afghanistan and Iraq, this administration has found a way to cut taxes despite spiraling deficits, and eviscerate environmental and health laws for the benefit of corporate polluters. And it now proposes to inject another trillion dollars of debt into our steadily worsening financial picture in the form of a Social Security overhaul that will primarily benefit Wall Street.

Yet it has not found the cash, time or interest to protect our troops in this most fundamental way.

This is the record of an administration whose priorities lie with the very wealthy and with big business - not with the soldiers it sends to fight its wars.

Now we're given a timetable of nearly another year to complete the task of armoring all the vehicles in the Iraqi theater - but only after Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was publicly taken to task by a National Guardsman.

What would a competent commander in chief do to support our troops?

A short list would include never sending them to war except as a last resort and in clear defense of our nation's security.

Certainly he would deploy them with a clear strategy for success and adequate power to accomplish it.

And, most definitely, he would give them the armor necessary to protect themselves in combat.

But none of those conditions has been met in President Bush's catastrophe in Iraq.

Why? It's a question of priorities.

Robert T. Wilke


Kane offers readers a phony choice

In a futile attempt to defend the indefensible, Gregory Kane presents the reader with a classic "either-or" fallacy in his column "'Pro choice'? 'Race traitor'? Learn how to read the label" (Dec. 11).

In other words, he takes two situations and falsely asserts that we must choose between one or the other when, in fact, other choices are possible.

Rather than rejecting the "Uncle Tom" label applied to Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele and other black Republicans on logical grounds, Mr. Kane creates a false either-or position by asking the reader who is causing the real damage to the black cause, the Uncle Toms or the black inner-city murderers - as if one must choose one or the other.

He completely ignores the possibility that one could rightfully condemn both.

He concludes by saying, "Black and white liberals have some explaining to do about why they find blacks with different ideas more menacing than blacks who commit murder and mayhem."

But when in the world have liberals ever said that blacks who commit murder and mayhem are preferable to Uncle Toms? And since when does one have to choose one or the other?

Edwin Duncan


Funding space shots instead of housing?

I have a solution for the people who cannot afford to live in those homes that the developers want to build ("Builders want alternatives for modest homes," Dec. 12). Just shoot them - to the moon, that is.

In the recently-passed federal appropriations bill, NASA's budget increased while that of the Department of Housing and Urban Development was cut.

Rep. Tom DeLay, a House Republican leader rebuked several times by a congressional ethics committee, was able to sneak this increase through to support the vision of his fellow Texan, President Bush, for space exploration to the moon and Mars.

While green cheese and Martians should perhaps be a priority in good times, maybe we should question whether a mother who has just been evicted, a father who has just lost his job after 25 years or some child who went to bed hungry should be sacrificed for moon shots in bad times.

Lou Ann Prosack


No reason Ehrlich should help Sun

I was very impressed with Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. when he denied two reporters from The Sun access to state officials ("Governor agrees to meet with Sun's top executives," Dec. 10).

I voted for Mr. Ehrlich, and I am so glad I did.

And I have noticed through the years (and it was never more obvious than during our recent presidential election) that The Sun is extremely biased against conservatives.

I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that the governor has a right to deny The Sun's writers the opportunity to discredit him and his administration.

Valerie Gorleski


Arts strengthen our communities

The Lake Clifton-Eastern High School theater ("The long-silent stage at Lake Clifton-Eastern High School reawakens through the efforts of students and community volunteers"), the City College choir ("Music for New City Council") and a robotics art project at the Johns Hopkins University ("Robotic art: Is it talent or technology?") were all featured in articles or pictures in The Sun on Dec. 10.

It was gratifying to read how the arts are improving our public schools, enhancing public ceremonies and inspiring original, creative thinking in bright young engineers.

Although the arts are terrific for Maryland's economic development, contributing $911 million in economic impact, $33.4 million in tax revenue and 12,475 jobs in fiscal 2003, the thread that connects these stories is that arts activities bring about collaboration among people and strengthen our communities.

David Phillips


The writer is the chairman of the Maryland State Arts Council.

Rich people create wealth for everyone

I have to take issue with a comment in the letter "Taxing consumption penalizes the poor" (Dec. 9) that "for one person to become obscenely rich, thousands must suffer."

This assumes that money is a fixed resource to be distributed, so that if someone gets a lot, others get less.

Money is, in fact, a measure of created wealth. Wealth is created by converting resources of lesser value to something of greater value.

The rich people the writer talks about are, for the most part, the people responsible for creating wealth and thus providing jobs, products and tax revenue and increasing the value of our economy. The net effect is not more poor people but more money, jobs and services for everybody.

The misguided beliefs expressed in that letter lead to the constant push to penalize those who create wealth.

When applied to the tax code, the ultimate effect of such an attitude is to stifle wealth creation, slow the economy and lower the standard of living for all.

Norm Matthews


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