Time for panel on 9/11 to return to their day jobs
The first sentence of the editorial "Unfinished business" (June 13) indicates that former members of the 9/11 commission have reason to doubt U.S. "compliance" with their recommendations.
Slow down just a bit - compliance?
While the 9/11 commission performed a valuable service for the nation, its conclusions and recommendations, while useful, were not chiseled onto stone tablets and delivered by the Almighty.
Yet the members of "the commission that will not die" seem to think that their words represent Holy Writ.
The nation has clearly not acted on some recommendations that probably should be followed. On the other hand, we've succumbed to pressure and acted hastily on other recommendations that required much more consideration before they were dealt with.
Let us remember that recommendations are just that. They are not orders that must be followed.
The commissioners have done their work admirably. It is now time for them to go back to their day jobs and get off the stage.
W. C. Harsanyi
Why care for rights of the terrorists?
Thomas Sowell couldn't have been more on the money in "How will future Americans judge our response to terrorist threat?" (Opinion * Commentary, June 9).
It's about time someone stood up on this issue. It always amazes me when liberals seem to want us to tiptoe around enemies who commit atrocious acts of violence, but as soon as one of our own makes the slightest misstep, it's a huge issue.
I think future generations will look back on this era, raise their hand in history class and ask, "Why were so many Americans concerned about the treatment of murderous extremists?"
I hope that the history teacher knows the answer, because I'm not sure anyone does now.
Damon M. Costantini
Ignoring rights puts our liberty in peril
Splenetic Thomas Sowell asks what our descendants will think of us if we follow the Geneva Conventions and protect the terrorists in our custody ("How will future Americans judge our response to terrorist threat?" Opinion * Commentary, June 9).
These detainees, who have been convicted of nothing, have been deprived of such basic rights as the right to legal representation and the right to confront their accusers. In some cases, they have been victims of torture.
Whether they are innocent or guilty, if we really value the ideals and freedoms of the United States, we will reject torture as a cruel and unreliable means of extracting information from suspects.
Further, if the United States abnegates the basic rights of due process as a means of combating terrorism, it will be in grave danger of becoming like the ruthless governments it opposes.
Future generations and historians may look back at a United States that was suckered into an unnecessary, unprovoked and unending war against Iraq, and note that in the United States, once a beacon of liberty, freedom then began to erode, sacrificed to the fear and hysteria over terrorism.
Better to fight terror on foreign shores
The letter "More than 1,600 dead for wrong reasons" noted the more than 1,600 Americans who have died in the war in Iraq. But I saw no mention of Sept. 11, 2001, and the 3,000 people who died on that sad day.
Maybe the losses we have suffered in Iraq are justified, because in Iraq, the terrorists have to face trained and armed troops, and if these terrorists were in the United States, they would be killing U.S. citizens who would have no chance to defend themselves.
State owes millions to the city's schools
Contrary to state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick's opinion that the latest court ruling on school funding "doesn't order the state to do anything," the court leaves all of Circuit Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan's order in Bradford vs. Maryland in place except for the timetable on which the Baltimore school district must repay its debt ("Plan to fund city schools takes hit," June 10).
That means that the city is still owed millions of dollars, and that money should be paid immediately.
There is something wrong when a state administration vehemently defends its right to inadequately fund our children's education.
We'll remember that in 2006.
Race didn't cause death penalty split
The article "Court to hear bias challenge against Maryland death penalty" (June 6) is predicated on a study that itself is biased because it brings color into the process.
Let's disregard the race of both the accused and the victim and make decisions based on what occurred.
The fact that Baltimore County has more inmates on death row has nothing to do with race and more to do with our dislike of murderers.
The county has fewer murders than Baltimore City does, and we intend to keep it that way by punishing those who commit such acts. That is not because we are racist, but because we do not put up with murder in our community.
Imposing the views of a sect causes fuss
No one wants to prevent "religious citizens" from participating in "public discourse and the democratic process," as one recent letter writer suggests ("Founders didn't seek to sideline religion," June 9).
The concern arises when a particular sect tries to impose its religious views on the population as a whole - putting its slogans and icons in public buildings, having taxpayers pick up the tab for its religious indoctrination or requiring other people's children to recite its prayers.
We also have a problem with clergy who claim to know how God wants their flocks to vote.
That's what the fuss is all about.
Train city dwellers to use trash cans
Having seen people, on foot and in cars, throw wrappers on sidewalks and streets, I think the "barrier analysis" of trash can use is of questionable effectiveness ("City launches initiative to boost trash-can use," June 12).
If people are not trained to use a receptacle to dispose of all forms of trash and garbage, the habit will elude them.
A strong campaign to make people feel morally responsible for disposing of garbage and trash properly is the only tactic that will work.