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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Sneaking into Iraq a sign of weakness

On Jan. 9, 1966, the United States mounted a huge infantry assault on North Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam; 8,000 American infantry participated.

Our putative ally, the South Vietnamese government, was not informed in advance of this major offensive on its soil, for fear that the plan would be leaked to the enemy.

Flash forward 40 years, and we have the spectacle of President Bush sneaking into Baghdad without even informing the so-called prime minister of the "sovereign" state of Iraq in advance ("A surprise visit to Iraq," June 14).

According to The Sun, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was told only five minutes before they met that Mr. Bush was in the country.

In spite of Mr. Bush's pro-forma claim that his not informing Mr. al-Maliki in advance of his arrival does not mean a lack of trust, the failure to do so speaks volumes: We cannot trust the so-called Iraqi government for the same reason we couldn't trust the government of South Vietnam - because puppet regimes in general are thoroughly infiltrated by the enemy.

Do I hear helicopters whirring above the U.S. Embassy?

It's only a matter of time.

Sheldon H. Laskin

Baltimore

Call to cut and run unfaithful to troops

On Tuesday evening, I picked up a copy of The Sun, and there was an article on the front page concerning Maryland Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, who is running for the Senate ("Cardin calls for fast Iraq pullout," June 13).

Cut-and-Run Cardin wants to pull our troops out of Iraq. That has to upset our troops in Iraq, who are shedding their blood to protect him.

We cut and ran in Vietnam and Somalia, which gave Osama bin Laden the impression that Americans were cowards and that when the going got tough, we would cut and run.

So he attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001, and sent insurgents into Iraq to scare us off.

Take a lesson from American history, Mr. Cardin: Marylanders do not cut and run.

Regina Sztajer

Timonium

Must we see corpse again and again?

While I believe it was a significant accomplishment for the U.S. military to remove the insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, I can't help but wonder why I have to see the picture of his dead face on the news shows and in the newspapers day after day ("Insurgent chief dead, but impact uncertain," June 9).

If our enemies were to show the dead face of an American on the nightly news for days at a time, we would be outraged.

I realize that it might be important for the Iraqis to see that this man is dead, but I think American video and print media have dragged this out far enough.

Have we had so few victories in this war that we need to flaunt this one in the streets?

Mary P. Remington

Cockeysville

Gaza strike saved lives of innocents

The Sun's article "10 are killed in Gaza strike" (June 14) disregarded the most pertinent information concerning the deaths of the innocent victims in the latest incident in Gaza.

While Israel did indeed target a van driven by Palestinian terrorists, the death count was exacerbated because the terrorists themselves were carrying long-range Katyusha rockets in the trunk of their van in a crowded residential neighborhood. The van exploded as a result of the aerial attack.

Although the Israel Defense Forces have expressed regret for the deaths of civilians, let's not forget that had these Katyusha rockets not exploded in the trunk of the terrorists' van, they could well have exploded in the hallway of an Israeli school or in the middle of someone's living room.

Leah Carliner

Baltimore

Kudos to president for protecting reefs

Congratulations to President Bush for his decision to protect 140,000 square miles of tropical coral reefs in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands ("Bush to name archipelago as vast marine preserve," June 15).

The creation of a national monument to preserve environmental assets is exactly the kind of strategy that was vilified by conservatives during the Clinton administration.

The Hawaiian Island preserve will protect rare and endangered creatures and some 7,000 species.

Let's hope President Bush's decision is a harbinger of even more enlightened acts on behalf of future generations.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Shooters put money behind the rhetoric

Hats off to the National Shooting Sports Foundation for putting its money where its mouth is to help curb "straw purchases" of guns ("Campaign focuses on illegal gun purchases," June 14).

No one should believe for a moment that straw purchases of guns will go away.

However, no one should also believe that more gun control laws will achieve anything positive, either, because there's no independent academic proof that they reduce crime.

The Sun's article states that the public service ad "reminds gun buyers that lying when they fill out the mandatory Form 4473 is a felony, and both the real purchaser and straw purchaser could face charges."

I would like to change that to read "the real purchaser and the straw purchaser will face charges."

I would also like to punish the gun dealer, if that person knows for a fact that a straw purchase is taking place and does nothing to stop it.

James Mullen

White Hall

No reason to revise translation of liturgy

I can't believe that the U.S. Catholic Bishops meeting in Los Angeles have nothing better to do than to wordsmith the translation of the language of the liturgy ("Catholic liturgy might change," June 15).

With all of the poverty in the world, I would think that the money spent on this effort would be better spent on donations to help relieve hunger.

And for the life of me, I cannot see the value of changing the response after the priest says, "The Lord be with you," from "and also with you" to "and with your spirit."

I am not sure what is meant by spirit. Could it be a ghost that is following me around? Or is it my guardian angel?

Perhaps it is my soul which is to live forever?

And I will not dignify the other changes being proposed with comments because they are just as silly.

Since the translation now in use has lasted for 30 or 40 years, I am sure it can last until the end of time - without any compromise of the original message.

Jerry Todd

Linthicum

Mourning the loss of delegate, mentor

Many mourn the passing of friend and compadre John S. Arnick ("John S. Arnick, 72, longtime state delegate from Dundalk," June 14).

He was a mentor, an advocate, an adviser and a counselor to all. His character, wit, courage and strength set an example that will live on.

He had the heart of a lion but also a heart of gold.

May God bless his memory, and may we strive to emulate his determination, drive and integrity.

Larry Simpson

Dundalk

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