Letters to the Editor

The Baltimore Sun

This is to praise Rep. John Sarbanes for his courage in rejecting the Iraq war supplemental funding bill and to condemn Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin for their cowardice in supporting it ("Candidates spar over war funding," May 26).

We have the raw military power to stay in Iraq indefinitely. But we have absolutely no ability to "prevail" there, whatever that may mean, in the chaotic environment our invasion has created.

It is the presence of U.S. forces that fuels the insurgency in Iraq, and it is only by removing American troops that that fuel can be removed.

There is no denying that Iraq will remain a horrifically bloody mess for years to come; that is President Bush's legacy as a result of initiating this venture in imperial hegemony.

But the painful process of resolving the Iraqi civil war cannot begin until the U.S. leaves.

The argument that Congress must continue to fund the occupation to "support the troops" is a prescription for indefinite entrapment in this quagmire.

Far from supporting the troops, funding the occupation guarantees that American men and women will continue to kill and be killed, maim and be maimed and suffer lifelong emotional trauma.

Congress must have the simple guts to support the troops by cutting off the funds.

Sheldon H. Laskin

Baltimore

Stand on principle to put an end to war

I know compromise is sometimes necessary. For four years, I was on the Columbia City Council, and I voted for middle positions often enough.

Still, sometimes a principle is so important that it is better to have nothing pass and let the pressure of public opinion fall where it deserves to -- on those so far out of the mainstream and so misguided that one cannot stand with them.

I regret to say that the compromise supplemental appropriation bill to fund the Iraq war should have been voted down ("Anti-war activists attack Democrats over Iraq bill," May 24).

In November, the American people voted to get out of Iraq -- not send more money and more U.S. bodies there -- and let Iraqis settle their civil war.

Approving just a month's or two months' cash for the war would have supported the troops but sent a message. Instead, both of Maryland's senators blinked and voted to continue funding the war.

Now, it is time to pass a bill to deauthorize the war.

Yes, President Bush is likely to veto it. Let him do so, and catch the hell he deserves.

Phil Marcus

Columbia

Governor has failed to serve consumers

Prior to the 2006 elections, then-Mayor Martin O'Malley criticized the Public Service Commission for not protecting the public and then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for not negotiating a better deal for state consumers on electricity rates. He also promised to protect the consumers.

Last year's planned 72 percent rate increase was then replaced by a 15 percent increase.

Now the PSC appointed by Governor O'Malley has approved a 50 percent rate increase on top of last year's increase, which will leave us paying almost as much as we would have with a 72 percent increase ("Leaders assail boost in rates," May 25).

As a consumer, I don't feel protected or well-served by the O'Malley administration.

Wayne Smith

Glen Burnie

Defending new PSC just a partisan pose

The Sun had an opportunity to show that it is fair and balanced but blew it.

Instead of pointing out that the sitting governor can credit much of his success against former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to his stand against Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and the former Public Service Commission on behalf of "the working families of Maryland" -- which was nothing but rhetoric -- the editorial "Electroshock therapy" (May 25) chose to extol the virtues of the current Democrat-appointed PSC because it was "clearly not satisfied with the status quo," whatever that means.

Just how much longer will The Sun continue carrying water for the liberals?

Bill Herrfeldt Sr.

Towson

Mammograms still best diagnostic tool

While I understand Susan Reimer's reasons for not getting a mammogram, her agitation with the technology is disappointing for someone who should know better ("Women know all too well why they delay mammograms," May 22).

The simple truth is that mammograms, although imperfect, are the gold standard for diagnosis of breast cancer and, more important, early detection of breast cancer.

Early detection is the best protection against breast cancer's becoming a life-threatening disease. Early detection also allows for optimal treatment and minimal surgery.

Together, clinical exams, breast self-exams and mammograms are the best tools we have to promote breast health over our lifespan.

Although the procedure for getting a good picture of the breast may be somewhat uncomfortable for a few seconds, it is irresponsible to use that as an excuse to not get a mammogram and possibly risk not detecting breast cancer at an earlier stage.

It may be a hassle to take time off work or out of our busy lives to have a mammogram, but being proactive for our health feels good.

After all, to feel empowered by self-care and knowledge and be supported by technology and medical expertise as we take charge of our bodies are a good thing.

Robin Prothro

Towson

The writer is executive director of the Maryland affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

High-stakes testing adds to the cheating

Although cheating is as old as testing, what's new today is the life-altering effect of some of these tests ("Confronting cheaters," editorial, May 23).

These high-stakes tests invariably bring into play Campbell's Law, which holds that the more any quantitative indicator is used for decision-making, the more it will be subject to corruption, and the more it will corrupt the very process it is intended to monitor.

The steps The Sun's editorial describes would do little to eliminate cheating because the payoff makes the crime worth it in the minds of students.

The only thing that would change would be the ever-increasing sophistication of cheaters.

Walt Gardner

Los Angeles

The writer taught in the Los Angeles school district and is a former lecturer at the UCLA Graduate School of Education.

Enforce the rules at the border, too

I agree with the premise of the editorial "Confronting cheaters" (May 23).

Rejecting cheating is a necessary principle for the effective functioning of any society -- and one that applies directly to the problem of illegal immigration.

We are a nation of immigrants. My grandfather was one. But he, like most other immigrants, came here legally and earned his citizenship.

Today, legal immigrants and American citizens do not deserve to be cheated.

Ken Aldrich

Baltimore

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