The Baltimore Sun

Block whitewash of fiasco in Iraq

I was shocked to read the headline "Bush willing to shift tactics to win in Iraq" (Oct. 21) in Saturday's Sun.

President Bush has stated on numerous occasions that nothing less than total victory in Iraq would stop the terrorist threat before it reaches American shores.

It is not Mr. Bush's critics who have charged him with a "stay the course" strategy. "Stay the course" has been Mr. Bush's own oft-stated strategy.

A simple Google search will yield loads of examples of President Bush and his administration using that very phrase.

But now the American public is being asked to think of "stay the course" not as a strategy but merely as a tactic that can be changed.

Mr. Bush continues to state that his goals for Iraq are "unchanging," even while "some administration officials" acknowledge "major changes" are being considered.

Is that clear to everyone? Or anyone?

Citizens everywhere have been waiting to see how Mr. Bush and company would extricate themselves from this quagmire of their own making.

We were dismayed when the press became nothing more than a cheerleader in Mr. Bush's drumbeat for war more than three years ago.

But the final and most shameful insult is to witness the press assisting Mr. Bush in laying the groundwork for calling our failure in Iraq victory, when the decision to go to war was arguably the most disastrous foreign policy decision in American history.

Let there be no mistake: Mr. Bush's decision to invade Iraq and his subsequent prosecution of the war have been monumental disasters.

Millions of brave citizens in America and throughout the world warned against it and protested it, as did many statesmen.

Mr. Bush was given everything he asked for by the American establishment to make this enterprise a success. Yet still, it is becoming clear that the Iraq war is an abject failure.

No one, particularly the American press, should let that truth be whitewashed.

Jack Lattimore


Ruining the views from Federal Hill

As a 12-year resident of South Baltimore who lives just one block east of the proposed condo complex in Federal Hill, I find a sad irony in the name the developers have chosen for their project ("Concern over condos," Oct. 23).

The Views at Federal Hill will no doubt supply spectacular vistas for their new owners, but only at the expense of those of us who invested in our properties long before the area's real estate boom.

My rooftop deck has always been my sanctuary and afforded stunning views of the cityscape.

I hope the new residents of the Views enjoy what was once our communal skyline, because apparently my turn is over.

Geoff Mumford


Condos shouldn't be area's chief concern

I am confused about Federal Hill residents who do not want condos in their historic neighborhood ("Concern over condos," Oct. 23).

Are these the same people who live in Federal Hill for two or three years, rehab their houses, and then try and make profits of this "historic" site?

Are these the same people who seem to have no complaints about all of the bar patrons who frequent their historic neighborhood Wednesday through Sunday?

And is this the same "historic" neighborhood in which you can often see two or three drunken fistfights a night, cars vandalized and people urinating in the alleys?

I think people in Federal Hill should worry more about these issues than about the condos.

Richard Reed


Whom are Democrats running against?

The more I watch the Democrats' campaign ads, the more confused I get.

I was under the impression that Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin was running against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele for the Senate. However, many of Mr. Cardin's ads suggest that he is running against President Bush.

Similarly, many of Mayor Martin O'Malley's ads suggest that he is running against the same Mr. Bush for the governorship.

My question is: If both Mr. Cardin and Mr. O'Malley are defeated, will the president have to split his time between the White House, the Senate and Annapolis?

Richard Tatlow


FDA's advice ignores the mercury in tuna

In its new report on the benefits of eating seafood, the Institute of Medicine backed Food and Drug Administration recommendations that put millions of children at risk for mercury poisoning ("Studies Tip Scales," Oct. 18).

The FDA recommendations fail to warn the public that canned albacore (white) tuna generally contains three times more mercury than canned light tuna.

Since children get most of their mercury from canned tuna, parents should avoid feeding them albacore, and limit their consumption to less than 1 ounce of light tuna per week for every 12 pounds of body weight to stay below the level of mercury that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe.

Children under 6, as well as women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, are the most vulnerable to mercury's harmful effects, and should avoid all tuna and other mercury-contaminated fish.

Instead of having to worry about eating seafood, which is important for a healthy diet, we need to clean up the sources of mercury pollution.

And in the United States, two of the biggest sources are chlorine chemical plants and coal-fired power plants.

Jennifer Sass


The writer is a senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Just decree English our nation's tongue

I believe that I know how we can be relieved of a regular, divisive, cantankerous debate about an official language.

The president should issue a proclamation stating that since our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written in English, English is the official language of the United States.

The proclamation could also state that since English is the official language, all people seeking citizenship must be able to read, write and converse in English.

In the past, presidents have used proclamations to achieve a desirable result; this method could also be used to good effect on this issue.

Mitchell Thompson

Royal Oak

Don't add to stigma of mental illness

I would like to commend The Sun for running the articles "Troubled children become focus of family" (Oct. 22) and "Display ghouls, but skip the mentally ill" (Oct. 22).

Having a mentally ill family member is a very difficult situation that is not fully understood by outside observers.

It is counterproductive when mental-illness themes are used for Halloween costumes or as a subject of jokes.

For the mentally ill, this kind of stigmatization can result in people remaining in denial about their conditions and not seeking treatment.

Elizabeth G. Brown


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