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Disclosures threaten the nation's security

The Sun's editorial "What a free press does" (June 28) maintains that President Bush and his administration are attacking The New York Times and other newspapers because "they don't like what they see." It applauds disclosures by The Times of efforts by the Bush administration to combat terrorism, arguing that judgments as to what to print must remain with newspapers.

The First Amendment is the cornerstone of our democracy, and its protection is essential to maintain a free society, not only now but also for future generations.

The freedom of the press, however, is not unlimited. For instance, no one would seriously maintain that newspapers had the right to print on June 5, 1944, that the Allies would be landing on the beaches of Normandy the next day.

The fact of the matter is that we are at war with terrorists who think nothing of human life or the rule of law.

And what seems to elude editors of The New York Times and The Sun is that by disclosing investigation techniques and tactics used to combat terrorism, newspapers are educating our enemies and providing them with aid and comfort.

The worst of this is that there will undoubtedly be another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and the very people who are complaining the loudest about alleged misconduct by the Bush administration will be ridiculing the administration for failing to stop the attack.

Newspapers can make judgments as to what they print.

But the Constitution provides that the national security of our country is entrusted to the president and elected officials, not unelected and unaccountable newspaper editors.

Robert C. Erlandson


Ruling will create redistricting mess

The Supreme Court's decision regarding redistricting opens the floodgates to gerrymandering that will make Governor Gerry's original work seem insignificant ("Justices support Texas redistricting," June 29).

The court held that although states can redraw districts as many times as they like, the districts must not disenfranchise minority voters. But, ironically, the court gave incumbents an infinite number of opportunities to do just that.

The court could not have been more wrong in this decision. Majority-party incumbents, who enjoy the power of office as well as the power of the majority, have just been handed the road map to future victories.

Majority-party incumbents everywhere must now be salivating at the possibilities of diminishing the power of voters.

The court's decision will generate numerous lawsuits, making the ultimate decision-maker in redistricting cases not the people or the state legislatures but the same folks who brought us this nightmare - the courts.

Dudley N. Thompson


Why worry over how Evans is executed?

Kudos to Maryland Public Safety Secretary Mary Ann Saar for putting a halt to any more nitwitery regarding the death penalty ("Ruling on state execution procedures reversed," June 28).

I was not a proponent of the death penalty until 10 years ago. But now I have seen far too many murders committed with minimal punishment.

And who cares that murderer Vernon L. Evans Jr.'s veins "may" be damaged or constricted because of his drug use years ago? Or that some new protocol may need to be invented? What was the protocol when Mr. Evans killed two people in cold blood in 1983?

Mr. Evans should have been executed years ago.

Roy F. Ruhe


Wrong to stand by a felonious teacher

All right, everyone in favor of the tenderhearted principal who stood by the "troubled" teacher (who was not a certified teacher and was a convicted felon), raise your hand ("Principal stands by troubled teacher," June 28). What, no takers?

And people wonder why the Baltimore school system is in such disarray?

God preserve the students from this lack of professionalism and failure of responsibility, and Sun readers from such twisted headlines.

Ruth B. Mascari


Mrs. Ehrlich turns troops into props

Most Republican elected officials are dutifully following Karl Rove's playbook by incessantly using patriotism to stoke the conservative base and to bludgeon any Democratic politician who dares to disagree with GOP policies, especially on the tragic war in Iraq.

The GOP also trumpets the "support the troops" mantra ad nauseam as a way of sidestepping criticism of its failed policies and to avoid substantive debate.

Whether this tactic will be successful in November is anyone's guess at this point. But Maryland first lady Kendel Ehrlich apparently sees political gain in this strategy even if the war is not the particular subject of discussion.

Mrs. Ehrlich added a new page to this insidious playbook by invoking the "troops" card when discussing the Democratic effort to allow for early voting. According to The Sun's article "Critical first lady takes off the gloves" (June 28), Mrs. Ehrlich feels "the Democrats' efforts to 'mess with our franchise' make a mockery of U.S. soldiers who are dying overseas to promote democracy."

The true mockery is using our troops, who were sent to fight and die in a war that has no legitimate basis, as political pawns. Mrs. Ehrlich should apologize for her crass remarks that used our soldiers as props in her political theater.

Steve Charing


Re-election launch merits more respect

The Sun's coverage of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s announcement of his re-election bid was predictable ("Governor says he has earned a second term," June 29).

In The Sun's account, Mr. Ehrlich claimed this accomplishment and that, but we know the General Assembly really made him do it. He claimed a surplus, but we know a deficit is just around the corner.

The announcement was the governor's day. Couldn't we have just one day of straight reporting of an event?

The record of the governor is clear: He has brought change and accountability to a system of government that never anticipated a challenge.

Four years is not enough to undo the harm caused by nearly 30 years of one-party rule.

But the people of Maryland have put our state on a course for true two-party politics.

Michael Zimmer


The writer is a Republican candidate for Carroll County commissioner.

Brewery-area series sets the paper apart

Thanks to The Sun for the recent series on the East Baltimore neighborhood surrounding the former American Brewery ("A Neighborhood Abandoned," June 25-26).

It was gripping and moving, and I hope it will be empowering to the O'Malley administration and local nonprofit and for-profit developers.

I've appreciated The Sun's community-mindedness in tackling difficult subjects.

That's what sets newspapers apart from radio and TV news.

Susan Middaugh


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