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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Lawmakers right to buttress border

Regarding The Sun's "Xenophobia road show" editorial (June 22), I would ask: Could it possibly be that the Republicans The Sun so gleefully denigrates are actually following the instructions of the constituents who elected them?

These Republicans - who The Sun alleges are so bereft of accomplishments - have helped improve the education system across the nation (through the No Child Left Behind law) and reduced the crushing tax burden on all (even Democrats who apparently would prefer more taxes).

Those same legislators have evidently:

Realized that it is not humane to burden our citizens with millions of lawbreakers - that's right, lawbreakers - who overwhelm the systems paid for by and intended to assist our citizens.

Recognized that hospital emergency rooms overflowing with people who should not be in the country in the first place are not in the best interest of our citizens.

Recognized that many of our school systems are overwhelmed by non-taxpaying, non-English-speaking children - for whom we have to provide bilingual training, which deprives our children of teaching time and funds for their education.

Come to understand that our borders should be as sacred as our domestic thresholds.

To use a rough analogy, the fact that you sneaked into my house and sat in my chair does not make your children members of my household - any more than the fact that you illegally crossed our border and had a child here should make that child a citizen whose rights are guaranteed.

W. C. Harsanyi

Pasadena

Population growth poses real menace

Newspapers and television newscasts have offered full reports on the estimate that the U.S. population will soon pass 300 million ("U.S, population to hit 300 million by autumn," June 26). But many of the reports have made no mention of what that growth and future rapid growth will bring.

But anybody who uses his imagination can picture the consequences to the quality of life by mid-century and beyond if the present trend continues.

Transportation will become a disastrous hassle. Schools will be routinely overcrowded. Endangered species of animal and plant life? Forget them.

Most important, such natural resources as water, clean air, arable land and various minerals will be overwhelmed. Their supply is not inexhaustible.

Unless Congress and the Bush administration take actions immediately to secure our borders and keep immigration down to a reasonable level, quality of life will be all downhill from here on.

Carleton Brown

Elkton

An alarmist account of warming trend

The Sun's article "Past 25 years warmest in 400, maybe in 1,000, scientists say" (June 23) presents an alarming, and perhaps alarmist, picture of the warming trend taking place.

The "hockey stick" chart seems to imply that in the hundreds of years prior to the last 25, the world enjoyed a relatively stable climate. In fact, the opposite is true.

The article fails to mention climatic anomalies such as the Little Ice Age, said to have begun in 1591, which persisted for about 300 of the 400 years in the comparison period and tormented George Washington's troops at Valley Forge.

Nor does the article mention the centuries-long period before the Little Ice Age when the climate was so mild that Viking settlers could raise crops and pasture animals in Greenland - something that would be difficult to do today.

Richard H. Snader

Ellicott City

Ehrlich's empathy appears misplaced

How revealing to read in "Ehrlich signals veto of BGE plan" (June 22) that our governor was concerned that those with enough money to absorb the full 72 percent electricity rate hike up front should have a choice not to have to pay any additional fees or interest.

But where is his compassion for the poor and elderly who can least afford the huge increase?

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s sympathies are misplaced.

Would he rob from the poor to give more to the rich?

D. J. Paugh

Parkville

Civilian leadership overlooked threats

Erik Swabb's column "Military must share blame" (Opinion

Commentary, June 20) criticizes the senior military leadership in the 1990s for failing to realize that counterinsurgencies such as the ones we are conducting in Iraq and Afghanistan today would be the focus of future military operations and configure and train our troops accordingly.

In light of the experience in Somalia and Bosnia, Mr. Swabb asserts that this lack of focus was not just the fault of civilian policymakers in the Pentagon, but also of myopic military vision.

I disagree with his assertion that our military was blind to this threat. In fact, what we lacked was the political will to shape policy and garner funding to train and configure ourselves to meet that threat effectively.

Political realities and strategic budget priorities in the 1990s reduced troop levels significantly at the end of the Cold War, and there was and still is a congressional bias toward building expensive ships and aircraft to sustain jobs and curry favor with hometown voters.

The military shapes U.S. policy; it does not make U.S. policy.

So for general officers and their respective services to have bucked that unremitting tide of national strategic priorities and congressional pork would have been a dangerous precedent indeed.

Brooks Tucker

Annapolis

The writer is a major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

U.S. role extends brutality in Iraq

The author of the letter "A double standard on brutality in Iraq" (June 25) condemns the left for its silence over the recent torture-killings of two U.S. soldiers in that benighted country. He makes a fair charge and deserves a straight answer.

Perhaps a rough analogy would do this best.

If you are swimming in a lake that you know - from repeated, painful experience - is thickly populated with snapping turtles, what is the point in howling at the injustice of the bites if you continue to swim?

The answer couldn't be more obvious: Get out of the water.

Daniel Fleisher

Baltimore

Art impresario honored by feature

Having been featured in hundreds and hundreds of articles over the past four decades, I wish to extend my sincere compliments to John Woestendiek and The Sun for publishing what I clearly acclaim to be the finest piece of writing ever done on Ocean Gallery World Center and my efforts to assist people to truly enjoy fine art ("Prints of the city," June 19).

It's a tough world, and people need to smile and laugh and enjoy a touch of fantasy and fun.

This fine article produced a positive reaction in many readers. I know because I've been hearing great comments from them.

As a true, Baltimore-born personality, I feel greatly honored to finally be featured and honored in Baltimore's great newspaper, The Sun.

Joseph Leonard Kro-Art

Monkton

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