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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Baltimore Sun

The wrong lessons from Vietnam War

It is understandable (but not excusable) that President Bush, having spent his Vietnam War-era military service stateside in the Texas Air National Guard, now thinks that the primary lesson from the Vietnam War is that U.S. soldiers have to keep killing and dying for a lost cause to prevent more killing and dying after they leave ("White House tries to reframe the war debate," Aug. 23).

In fact, the key lesson from the war in Vietnam (and the war in Iraq) is that U.S. presidents should never start wars based on lies, especially against countries that aren't threatening us.

Until the next American president acknowledges this truth, and the perpetrators of the Iraqi fiasco are tried and imprisoned, it is unrealistic to expect that any ally will help any U.S. administration extricate our country from this costly debacle or enthusiastically cooperate in our efforts to reduce the threat of terrorism against Americans.

Furthermore, until Americans stop voting for candidates and parties that believe war is a legitimate instrument of foreign policy, it is reasonable to expect that we will continue to be a favorite target of terrorists and that our middle-class standard of living (and levels of health, education and welfare) will continue to slip further behind the standards set by the post-imperial Western societies.

Dave Goldsmith

Woodstock

The writer is Baltimore County Green Party coordinator.

Michael A. Franko

Baltimore

Warner's proposal would continue war

Far from calling for a meaningful troop pullout, Sen. John W. Warner actually laid down a blueprint for the indefinite continuation of the Iraq debacle ("Senator advises start of pullout," Aug. 24).

First, rather than call for a meaningful troop withdrawal, Mr. Warner called for a symbolic drawdown of as few as 5,000 troops by Christmas.

This is an obvious public relations ploy designed not to begin winding down this disaster but to pacify the American public with an emotional Christmas-time return of a token number of troops.

Mr. Warner also jumps on the "it's al-Maliki's fault" bandwagon.

By scapegoating Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the disaster in Iraq, which is clearly President Bush's responsibility, Mr. Warner joins the chorus of those who may give Mr. Bush an opportunity to indefinitely continue this madness - by dumping Mr. al-Maliki and then arguing that we must give his replacement a reasonable opportunity to fix things.

Why can't the mainstream media see through this nonsense?

Sheldon Laskin

Baltimore

Population poses threat to planet

For right-to-life groups to use the political process to try to limit or block methods of contraception is immoral and dangerous to those of us who are already here on Earth ("The quiet campaign against birth control," Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 21).

No problem will be greater for the human race in the 21st century than the issue of overpopulation.

Efforts to control climate change will be negated if the reduction in pollution per person is offset by a greater increase in the number of people.

And it is in the world's poorest areas that the greatest increases in populations are occurring.

The quality of human life has to be more important than the quantity of human life.

J. Martin

Baltimore

Last names not key to the council race

I understand that it's tempting to collapse the story of the race for City Council president into merely a clash between two prominent families ("City primary a clash of famous last names," Aug. 23).

However, I believe the public would be well-served if The Sun focused more on the substantive differences between the candidates than on their family legacies.

Baltimore faces significant challenges - ones too critical to allow our attention to be diverted from a thorough discussion of each candidate's vision for the city and his or her concrete plan for improving the community we share.

Karen Proudford

Towson

The writer is a volunteer for City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's campaign.

Waverly woman is right to take stand

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

So I applaud the woman who has taken a stand to defend her Waverly home ("A community feels fear," Aug. 24).

But it frightens me to think that the larger consensus of her neighborhood apparently holds that, as her neighborhood block captain put it: "Not just me, but other active people on the block told her, 'Sweeten it up the way you talk to those kids ... one day something's going to happen to you.'"

"Sweeten it up"?

It's unfathomable to me how - or, better yet, why - someone would sweetly request to a group of hoodlum drug dealers, who are both a cause and a symptom of the failures of a town once known as Charm City, to please go sell their drugs in front of someone else's house.

However, the fear of retribution, coupled with the failure of the city's leadership and agencies responsible for public safety to effectively curb violence and crime, gives power to those who plague our streets and creates this kind of attitude.

Let's call this localized terrorism.

Natalie Semon

Baltimore

Shrinking puzzles frustrate seniors

One of my favorite weekend pastimes since I retired has been the puzzles in the Sunday Sun. But they have gradually been reduced in size to the point that it is now extremely difficult for me to work them.

Has it ever occurred to whoever lays out the pages of The Sun that a large number of the paper's subscribers are seniors whose vision just isn't what it was at age 35?

Jo Magrogan

Catonsville

Shining bright light on people in need

The Sun's article "Elkton's homeless fight back" (Aug. 20) was especially poignant to me as I had just spent the previous Sunday delivering lunches to numerous homeless and needy people along the Route 40 corridor from Edgewood to Aberdeen.

Once a month on Sunday mornings, a cadre of people from the Bel Air Knights of Columbus' ladies auxiliary and St. Margaret Catholic Church assemble lunches that are delivered to homeless people in this area.

On the other Sundays, people from St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church of Hydes and St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church of Abingdon do the same thing.

Our focus is to bring a little glimmer of hope to people who find themselves in need.

I applaud the efforts of Carla Reeves, the American Civil Liberties Union and reporter Jennifer Skalka to shine a light on the issue of homelessness.

Jim Antal

Fallston

The writer is chairman of God's Bounty for All, a group that helps homeless and needy people in Harford County.

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