LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Neighbors need to accept Israel

When I saw the title of the editorial "No end in sight" (July 21), I felt certain that it referred to the war in Iraq.

Americans have been fighting a war in Iraq for more than three years. Thousands of American lives have been lost and thousands of Americans have been injured. And there is "no end in sight."

However, the editorial's first sentence was actually, "After nine days of fighting between Israel and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah, an accounting must be made."

Accounting requires accuracy and balance.

And to be accurate, the editorial should have read, "After 58 years as a sovereign state, Israel is still being attacked because Israel's neighbors have never accepted Israel's right to exist."

It isn't a cease-fire that will put an end to this war; it is the realization that terrorists and guerrilla groups must cease endangering world peace.

These groups must not be allowed to take the world hostage. And countries cannot harbor terrorists and then expect the international community to come to their aid.

Irene Siegel

Baltimore

U.S. aid underwrites Israel's aggression

The Sun's article: "U.S. rushing precision bombs to Israel" (July 22) highlights a key element of Israel's attacks on Lebanon and Gaza that has been barely mentioned in the U.S. mainstream media: The U.S. government's massive, ongoing and unconditional support for the state of Israel.

Americans need to know that we ourselves are helping to pay for the killing and destruction in Gaza and Lebanon.

Israel receives about $3 billion U.S. taxpayer-funded aid each and every year. Since World War II, the United States has given more aid to Israel than to any other country.

Right now, it is using this aid to kill, maim and terrorize innocents in Lebanon and Gaza.

Joanne Heisel

Columbia

Attacking Lebanon won't heal the rift

I was outraged to read "U.S. rushing precision bombs to Israel" (July 22).

Israel, by law, is not allowed to use U.S. weapons except for self-defense. Killing and wounding civilians in Lebanon is surely not a defensive maneuver, and it could be argued that such a strategy will actually make Israel less safe.

If nothing else, the vicious attack of Lebanon will drive more people into the camp of violent resistance.

And no one should believe that the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers caused this massive military onslaught. Like the weapons of mass destruction argument the United States used to justify invading Iraq, the kidnapping is just a pretext for invading Lebanon.

As a pacifist, I abhor all violence. But I really cringe when someone, a suicide bomber or a military pilot, attacks and kills civilians.

The Bush administration did not learn the lesson of Vietnam. So now Iraq is a quagmire for both occupier and occupied.

Israel failed to learn the lesson of Iraq, and thus its military machine may wind up stuck in Lebanon.

Violence can never settle a conflict. And the roots of the violence will eventually bubble up to the surface unless the underlying issue is peacefully resolved.

Israel must end its occupation of the Palestinian people before tranquility can be the order of the day.

Max Obuszewski

Baltimore

Our pious president ought to seek peace

With children being torn to shreds by shrapnel, why would an avowedly Christian leader such as President Bush, who goes to great lengths to save "innocent" embryos, not be the strongest possible advocate of a cease-fire ("With U.S. on sidelines, hopes for peace fade," Opinion

Commentary, July 23)?

Would that not at the very least give parents more time to evacuate their children?

Perhaps calling for a cease-fire might be considered more urgent if many Israeli children were being killed or maimed for every Lebanese or Palestinian child injured, instead of the other way around.

Evan Sage

Columbia

Israel is suffering a modern-day blitz

The raining of rockets on the cities of Israel can rightly be compared to the blitz conducted by the Luftwaffe during World War II. And, like that blitz, the aim of this modern plague is the destruction of Western Civilization ("Israeli forces push north," July 24).

Yet the Neville Chamberlains of our time seem to think you can make deals with gangsters that they will honor.

Lawrence Silberman

Burtonsville

Where's evidence of N. Korea's arms?

Graham Allison of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, claims that "over the past decade" North Korea "has sold and delivered missiles to Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria and Yemen" ("Hold North Korea accountable for its nuclear arms," Opinion

Commentary, July 23). Yet he offers no evidence.

But why weren't weapons like this found in Iraq?

And even if such sales of missiles were verified, would they constitute more of a danger than the far greater weapons sales by America and its allies?

In the absence of evidence, Mr. Allison relies on a common propaganda technique -- a technique used by President Bush to dupe us into the Iraq war: One simply states as fact what is really debatable conjecture. Then one repeats one's claims so often that conjecture comes to be taken as fact by much of the public.

But should this be the standard of journalism in a purportedly democratic republic? And is this what passes for scholarship today?

Robert Birt

Baltimore

Let parents teach kids about finance

Regarding The Sun's editorial notebook about the move to teach financial literacy to our students, my question is this: Where are the parents ("The card conquers all," July 22)?

Isn't it their responsibility to teach their children how to manage money? Why do we wish to create an additional burden for our teachers?

These days, teachers must also be psychologists, social workers, motivational speakers, police officers, conflict resolution specialists and crisis intervention counselors.

Now, society seems to want them to be surrogate parents as well.

And we wonder why our schools are in trouble.

Alan Rosenthal

Columbia

State's disabled face long wait for help

The governor should be commended for creating a Department of Disabilities (DOD) and for choosing a person with a disability as a running mate ("Kristen Cox 'just plain does it'," July 15). Such actions offer a strong affirmation of the principle that we should not discriminate based on disability.

However, the power of the purse to affect policy change is unrivaled and the DOD has limited power in that regard.

According to national data, Maryland is the third-wealthiest state in the country but ranks 44th in per-capita spending for persons with developmental disabilities.

The direct consequence of our anemic effort is that the state has more than 16,000 people with developmental disabilities on a waiting list for services.

Imagine the University of Maryland Comcast Center packed to capacity -- that is the approximate number of disabled people who are not getting services they need.

Imagine also people who are committed to a state institution and whose health care professionals recommend their discharge, but for whom there are no dollars earmarked to fund placement in community-based programs -- even when such care would cost less than it costs to keep them in an institution.

Policy changes must come from a leadership whose values are backed by a dollar commitment.

Lauren Young

Baltimore

The writer is director of litigation for the Maryland Disability Law Center.

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