Iraq victory is key to future security
A decisive military victory must be achieved in Iraq. This has become a key to our long-term security here at home ("As battle deepens, 14 troops die in Iraq," June 4).
Newly declassified intelligence reports have revealed that Osama bin Laden has issued plans to establish Iraq as his new base from which to launch terrorist attacks against the U.S. homeland.
These reports indicate that in 2005, bin Laden ordered the establishment of terrorist cells and units to hit targets outside of Iraq, and that he also directed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to form terrorist cells in Iraq to conduct future terrorist attacks against the United States.
That is a strong enough reason that we must pursue a definite military victory in Iraq.
The decision by President Bush to send more troops to Iraq was a correct one, as the only way to win the war against terror is to win a decisive victory in Iraq now.
Asking our soldiers to die for a mistake
Continued funding for the war has been approved - funding for a war that is now viewed by the vast majority of the American people, as well as most of the rest of the world, as a mistake.
So how do we explain to our service men and women that they are fighting and dying for a mistake ("As battle deepens, 14 troops die in Iraq," June 4)?
Are we crazy? Are our heads buried in the sand?
We are told that we are at war. Correction - the military is at war. America is at the mall; America is watching Dancing with the Stars, preparing for summer events, etc.
What are we doing to our soldiers? To ourselves? Where is our sacrifice?
Enough is enough.
Raymond D. Bahr
No excuse to waste one more life in Iraq
I wish that every adult in our country could view the CBS documentary Flashpoint ("The story that begins with a car bomb," May 29).
The 25 operations CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier endured, the tragic deaths of her companions and the fact that more than 3,400 of our troops have died while tens of thousands more were severely wounded over the past four years should answer the question, "Should we get out of Iraq?"
There is no legitimate excuse for our country to sacrifice one more soldier's life.
We must get out of Iraq now before any more flag-draped coffins are put to rest in Arlington National Cemetery or any other location.
We owe it to the military families to bring their husbands, fathers, sisters and brothers home where they belong.
There is no need to continue this senseless slaughter.
Dogfighting a crime rather than a sport
Thank you to reporter Childs Walker for helping to expose dogfighting for what it is: a brutal non-sport that has no place in today's society ("Dogfight 'culture' reaches to Baltimore," June 1).
Dogfighting is an insidious, cruel crime present in all 50 states, not just in Baltimore (although who can forget the bloody episode of The Wire that depicted Baltimore's underground dogfighting scene?).
Whether he wanted to or not, Michael Vick has drawn attention to an underground crime that is still flourishing ("Informant says Vick bet thousands on dogfights," May 28).
It doesn't matter if he's good at playing football or entertaining fans with his bad-boy ways - if Mr. Vick is guilty of betting on dogfights, he needs to be severely punished as an example to everyone else who thinks he can flout the law and torture animals for fun.
The writer is a project manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Legislation is also critical to save bay
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation would like to applaud Gov. Martin O'Malley and state Comptroller Peter Franchot for making a very difficult decision and demonstrating, as The Sun's editorial "Intervention" (May 24) noted, that the state seems to be getting serious about cleaning up the bay.
The Board of Public Works' decision to deny a wetlands permit for the proposed Four Seasons project on Kent Island provides a clear message that Maryland will protect its critical areas.
However, this alone will not be enough to restore and protect Maryland's environment.
Maryland must be aggressive - not only by protecting critical areas from development but by reducing pollution from other sources as well.
The state has opportunities to expand on its leadership.
For example, right now, Maryland's congressional delegation is supporting farm bill legislation that would give bay-area farmers some of the funding they need to implement conservation practices and to improve water quality in Maryland's rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.
I also believe the state must pass a "green fund" in the next legislative session to provide dedicated funding for bay improvement practices.
Passing such legislation would help Maryland take huge strides toward reaching our 2010 pollution-reduction goals.
The writer is Maryland executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Divisiveness violates Anglican traditions
Thanks for publishing the Rev. Van H. Gardner's letter describing a Pentecost service at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation ("Episcopals find unity in diversity," May 28).
The efforts of some Episcopalians and Anglicans to divide the church in America and to set up judgmental authorities that interfere between provinces of the Anglican communion are strange and contrary to Anglican traditions.
The joyous celebration at the cathedral was typical of the celebrations enjoyed in our churches across the country on that festival of unity.
Edna E. Heatherington
Mitchell's generosity touched the church
Once upon a time, I was Parren J. Mitchell's priest ("Leaving behind a legacy of success," June 3).
The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland had assigned me to the Church of St. Katherine. This was in 1974. It was in a poor but proud community at the corner of Presstman and Division streets.
I am white. The entire congregation was African-American.
The church members didn't care. I was warmly welcomed, honored and accepted, as was my wife.
On Thanksgiving and at Easter, the whole congregation would eat together at the church: turkey at Thanksgiving, and fish (why, I have never figured out) on Easter.
Everyone was expected to chip in, but some were not able to. That's where Mr. Mitchell comes into the story - and now that he's dead I can tell the tale. He personally underwrote the contributions of any needy family and absolutely forbade me to tell anyone.
That's the mark of the man.
May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.
The Rev. Lance A. B. Gifford
The writer is the rector of St. John's Episcopal Church.