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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dishonest leaders betray lost soldiers

Why are politicians so cruel? Why is it so difficult for them to tell the truth? Why do they continue to insist that the 4,000 soldiers who have lost their lives in Iraq have not died in vain ("U.S. hits a grim mark in Iraq," March 24)?

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Why? Because to do so, they would have to admit that they ordered American soldiers into battle on false pretenses; that, rather than sending young men and women into harm's way as a last resort, they chose war as a first resort; that they planned poorly for the battle, if at all; and that they continue with this folly rather than lose face.

The 4,000 men and women who have lost their lives in Iraq gave the last full measure of their lives; they died honorably fighting for their country and their fellow soldiers.

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Unfortunately, they have been led by dishonorable leaders who continue to dishonor America's soldiers and their families by insisting that we must remain in Iraq to honor those who have already lost their lives there.

Peter Levy

Towson

The writer is chairman of the department of political science and history at York College.

EPA right to balance health and growth

Taking exception to the editorial "Maryland's dirty air" (March 20), I believe the Environmental Protection Agency's recent ruling on ozone standards properly balanced environmental progress with economic realities.

Lowering the ozone standard by about 10 percent to 75 units of ozone for every 1 billion units of air is very significant and will continue the tremendous progress that this nation has made since the 1970s in reducing pollutants from tailpipes and smokestacks.

Further improvements can and will be made over time, and in a manner that will not overly exacerbate the costs involved - including higher auto and gasoline prices, higher utility costs, job losses and other problems.

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I, for one, am thankful that the EPA administrator is using common sense in balancing health and economic concerns.

Richard E. Hug

Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of Hug Enterprises Inc.

Warming bill aids Earth and economy

Despite the best efforts of the bill's opponents to convince us otherwise, the Global Warming Solutions Act currently being debated in Annapolis would benefit both Maryland's economy and our environment ("Global warming legislation amended," March 21).

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This bill would create new "green-collar" jobs for Maryland workers. Indeed, the International Center for Sustainable Development has found that clean energy industries could generate between 144,000 to 326,000 jobs in Maryland over 20 years, contributing $5.7 billion in wages and salaries to Maryland and boosting state and local tax revenues by $973 million.

These would be good-paying jobs supporting innovation, clean energy, green buildings and energy efficiency.

The Global Warming Solutions Act would also protect Maryland workers by including a provision that allows the governor to change the bill's pollution reduction deadline if it would negatively impact jobs in our state.

Indeed, the Maryland Department of the Environment has stated publicly that it does not foresee the bill causing the kind of damage to the Sparrows Point steel mill that some lobbyists are suggesting it would do in an effort to scare people ("The Russians are coming," editorial, March 25).

Because the Bush administration has ignored the scientific consensus that global warming is a clear danger and has prevented federal action, states like Maryland that are on the front lines in feeling global warming's detrimental effects must act now.

Cindy Schwartz

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Annapolis

The writer is executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

City has its own vexing crime woes

Before a newspaper from Baltimore (which for many years has had almost 300 murders annually) presumes to instruct the officials of Annapolis (which has about 10 murders annually) on how to handle its crime problems, one would assume that the city had cured its own civic problems ("Beyond curfews," editorial, March 24).

In other words, if The Sun is such an authority, why isn't the situation in its own city better?

John Vickerman

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Millersville

Ideology distorts AIDS funding bills

Without pitting HIV prevention budgets against research budgets for vaccines and microbicides, it is important to recognize that effective interventions for combating global AIDS exist now ("Enough is enough," Opinion

Commentary, March 25). However, the lack of political will to initiate such interventions could prove fatal to those efforts.

Legislation to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has been introduced in both the House and Senate. But public response to both bills has largely ignored dangerous, ideologically driven funding restrictions within these bills.

In their current form, both bills include directives that would require organizations receiving U.S. HIV-prevention assistance to give a disproportionate share of money to programs that stress abstinence and fidelity rather than condom use as a way to fight AIDS.

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The Senate bill fails to recognize family planning as a key component in the prevention of HIV.

The House bill would limit funding for programs that integrate family planning services with HIV testing, counseling and education to organizations that currently receive U.S. family planning funding.

Those organizations must comply with the "global gag rule" that denies any U.S. assistance to organizations that use their own funds to practice or provide counseling about abortion.

U.S. taxpayer dollars should be used to promote sound, effective, evidence-based strategies for HIV prevention rather than ideological approaches that curry favor with a particular political base.

Our senators and representatives should go back to the drawing board and make urgently needed corrections to the proposed legislation that would save more lives.

Serra Sippel

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Takoma Park

The writer is executive director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity.

BMA picked artists of superior stature

I've been following the opinions on A. Aubrey Bodine being overlooked in the Baltimore Museum of Art's current photography exhibit ("Bodine's photos belong in BMA show," letters, March 22).

As a professional photographer and student of photography's history, I must say that Mr. Bodine was indeed a very good photographer.

However, I would not include him in the pantheon of photographers who were influential, groundbreaking or visionary.

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Although I respect and enjoy Mr. Bodine's work, in general, I agree with the selections of the curator of the exhibit at BMA.

I dare say that the fact that Mr. Bodine was a good photographer and maintains a local following does not put him in the class of the photographers included in the BMA exhibit.

I thank the BMA's curators and board for having the insight, discretion and courage to make the tough choice.

Dan Magus

Baltimore

Fencing off a park struck quite a chord

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I would suggest that Lee B. Freeman's golden venture in art was a great success ("Artist undergoes trial by ire," March 23). It was not ignored. Art that does not arouse an emotional response is rather empty.

Yes, the response he got may not have been what he had hoped for. And he may have encountered more angst than approbation.

His endeavor, however, was not ignored. It might even be that a small group of people appreciated his effort for no other reason than that it was unique.

More power to you, Mr. Freeman.

Allen Patterson

Baltimore


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