The Baltimore Sun

Defund the war to save the troops

Supporters of the Iraq war (and yes, there are some left) have ganged up on Rep. John P. Murtha's proposal to tie further funding to provisions that ensure troops are properly trained and rested before they return to Iraq ("Hill Democrats debate Iraq," Feb. 28).

Pro-war pundits call Mr. Murtha's proposal "anti-troop."

Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems to think that conditions placed on the $99 billion "emergency supplemental" funding bill under consideration in the House would leave Democrats open to the charge that they don't support the troops.

The truth is that further funding for this war will continue to put our troops in harm's way.

Those who vote to fund the war, Democrat or Republican, are voting for more casualties.

Mr. Murtha's proposal is just a modest attempt to limit the damage.

The troops already have been defunded: They are short of equipment and overextended.

It's time to defund the war.

The only way to support the troops today is to bring them home, and that won't happen until Congress cuts the funds.

Michael W. Foley

Mount Rainier

The writer is a professor of politics at Catholic University.

Waste of blood, treasure must end

The Iraq war will soon be in its fifth year and it has given us no accomplishments that have benefited our country or its citizens ("Iraqi capital's bonds ripped apart by war," March 4).

Rather, we have succeeded in inciting hatred and disrespect throughout the world.

As a U.S. citizen, I find the loss of life and expenditure of hundreds of billions on the war immoral and unethical.

It is time to say to President Bush and his cronies:

No more war; bring our troops home.

Vince Gardina

Perry Hall

Israel must confront the threat of terror

The Sun's editorial "Louder than words" (Feb. 27) criticizes Israel for its crackdown on militants in the Palestinian territories including Nablus, a city just 35 miles from Jerusalem.

The editorial failed to mention that on Feb. 24, the Israelis captured an Islamic Jihad terrorist in an apartment south of Tel Aviv with plans to strike a shopping mall in Tel Aviv; or that a laboratory was found in Nablus containing an assortment of pipe bombs, gas canisters, belts used for suicide bombers, explosives and scrap metal (which is put in such bombs to cause maximum trauma to bystanders).

The same day, Egyptian authorities located one ton of explosives in the Sinai peninsula. They were intended to be smuggled into Gaza.

So, what is Israeli's alternative to trying to locate caches of bombs and the jihadists who intend to use them in bakeries (like the one attacked in Eilat on Jan. 29), at weddings, on buses or at other public places?

The alternative is clear: Sit back, let the bombers strike and attend the funerals of the innocent.

This alternative is neither acceptable nor reasonable.

Irwin E. Weiss


Underwriters offer warming warning

It is becoming increasingly evident that building along shorelines is not good for the watershed and is very hazardous ("Homes at risk," editorial, Feb. 23).

It is very understandable that insurance companies do not want to be involved with something so risky.

If people want to take such obvious risks, that is their problem - and only their problem. Nobody - no government, no insurance company - should be required to insure them.

Maybe a very important lesson from this controversy is that we need to move quickly to reverse global warming.

Anne Hackney


Use redesign funds to repave city roads

Having recently moved to Baltimore, I found the article about redesigning the Inner Harbor area rather amusing ("Road to future," March 2). I believe that the money could better be used in other areas.

The condition of the streets in this city is unbelievable.

I have traveled extensively in the United States and Europe and do not believe I have encountered streets in such terrible condition.

Why not use this money to resurface and repair other areas in such desperate need?

Carl Ellison


Let's heed the lesson from Mount Vernon

Just over one year ago, the city Planning Department was promoting a plan that would have allowed skyscrapers in historic Mount Vernon.

This disastrous proposal had the support of Mayor Martin O'Malley, the Planning Commission and our neighborhood's City Council member ("Ready for fight over Mt. Vernon structures," Oct. 30, 2005).

Now, a year after the community prevailed in maintaining its character, Mount Vernon is seeing major development and is at the top of the city's housing market with 76 percent price growth over the past year in an otherwise weak market ("Housing decline hits area unevenly," Feb. 25).

So what did city leaders learn about the economic value of preserving each neighborhood's unique character or paying heed to the residents turning those neighborhoods around with their own investments?

Clearly, nothing - if the city's approval of a monstrous tower in Canton is any indication ("Panel OKs high-rise in Canton," Feb. 23).

Susan Warren


The writer is a member of the Mount Vernon Belvedere Association.

Canton residents didn't oppose tower

The letter "Icon will undermine area's quality of life" (Feb. 28) may have given rise to two erroneous impressions.

First, one might infer from the letter that when I testified in favor of the project, I spoke as president of the Northshore at Canton Condominium Association. I did not. I made it clear in writing and verbally that I was speaking on my own behalf.

Second, the letter suggests that the "overwhelming majority" of community residents are "adamantly opposed to the Icon building." I have better information.

In November, I circulated a questionnaire to all homeowners asking if they wanted the Northshore Council to take a position on the development.

I received nine replies from among the 64 condo owners. Five were opposed to the project, one was in favor and three were neutral.

That hardly suggests that an overwhelming majority of residents are "adamantly opposed" to the project.

Leigh Ratiner


Will charity get help like the Senator did?

Recently, many people donated thousands of dollars to save the Senator Theatre.

Moveable Feast, a charity that provides meals to people with HIV/AIDS, breast cancer and other terminal illnesses is facing a 50 percent cut in its funding because of changes in the Ryan White Care Act ("Cuts aimed at group that feeds the sick," Feb. 28).

Wouldn't it be nice if there were a grassroots effort to donate to Moveable Feast?

Robert T. Hoehn


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