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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Baltimore Sun

Rising population strains food supply

The Sun's recent editorial urging that America take the lead in addressing the world food crisis ("Feeding the world," April 16) cited numerous reasons for the growing problem of world hunger, including rapid economic growth in China and India, the diversion of cropland to production of biofuels and the rising costs for fertilizer and farm fuels.

But it didn't mention the biggest reason of all: overpopulation.

Humanity is adding 70 million people to its numbers every year, virtually all of them in the world's poorest nations.

We are currently at a world population of 6.5 billion, and if fertility rates remain at the same level they are today, we will be at 9 billion or 10 billion by mid-century.

If we can't adequately feed 800 million people today, what will the situation be like by then?

And even if the United States and other advanced nations are able to meet the present food emergency, that will do nothing to address the long-term problem, which will only worsen as ever more people become dependent on the Earth's dwindling resources.

That will mean not only more unrest in the poorest nations but also geopolitical conflict even among the richest nations.

We must finally face the fact that Mother Earth's resources are finite, and cannot be expected to sustain an ever-growing population.

The present food crisis must be seen as a wake-up call.

If we do nothing to address the fundamental problem of overpopulation, which is driving every other problem from climate change to global terrorism, it is no exaggeration to say that civilization as we know it will be at risk.

Howard Bluth, Baltimore

U.S. can't afford to feed the world

The Sun's editorial "Feeding the world" (April 16) recommended that the United States provide at least $600 million in food aid to avoid mass starvation in the world.

That is a kind, considerate thought. But whatever our country may do for hungry people will provide only temporary relief.

The world's population is increasing faster than food supplies can keep up. Food prices are extremely high because demand is greater than supply.

Unless population can be stabilized, eventual starvation is inevitable. What a cruel way to bring supply even with demand that would be.

Yet we have a president who has withheld funds from the United Nations Fund for Population Activities year after year. He has also reinstated the "gag rule" that prohibits family planning agencies that receive U.S. government funds from referring to abortion.

And as if the difficulties mentioned above were not enough, the United States is now the greatest debtor nation in the world.

We can no longer afford to feed most of the hungry people of the world.

Carleton W. Brown, Elkton

Pollution is real foe for the blue crabs

The Sun's editorial "Today's catch: Fewer crabs" (April 17) accurately states that Chesapeake Bay blue crabs have been declining and that shoring up the fishery's long-term stability is what's needed.

However, the editorial incorrectly attributes the decline to excessive crabbing, which is only partially responsible for the problem, and improperly prescribes harvest quotas.

Water pollution is the principal reason for the decline of crabs.

Any effective long-term remedy for saving crabs must include dramatic increases in water quality.

Carl Tobias, Richmond, Va.

The writer is a professor of law at the University of Richmond.

Why wasn't McCain also pictured?

The photographs of Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama that ran underneath the headline "Brown meets with presidential hopefuls" (April 18) belie the fact there are three, not two, major candidates running for president.

The article clearly states that Sen. John McCain also met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. But The Sun apparently did not see fit to include a photo of Mr. McCain meeting with Mr. Brown alongside those of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama, both of whom are Democrats.

I guess that this is just more proof that The Sun is incapable of reporting the news in a nonpartisan, equitable fashion.

Gail Householder, Marriottsville

Clinton's pandering reaches new lows

Sen. Hillary Clinton's recent pandering to gun owners and the shot-and-a-beer crowd and her about-faces regarding NAFTA and the war in Iraq ("Campaigns in Pa. shed party blood," April 20) remind me of H.L. Mencken's deathless observation: "If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner."

Lynne Heneson, Washington

U.S. role extends the violence in Iraq

Our continued presence is the catalyst for the continuing suicide attacks in Iraq ("Bomber kills 50, wounds dozens at Iraq funeral," April 18).

Beyond sectarian, ethnic and intra-religious divisions, there lies the hatred of our occupation of an Arab Muslim country as a cause of the violence.

Surge or no surge, our presence in Iraq will only continue the carnage.

The surge was supposed to promote political reconciliation among the various factions in Iraq. It has not.

Radical jihadist terrorists were not in Iraq prior to our invasion. Once we have left the country, Iraq's neighbors will help the Iraqis get rid of this scourge

The Bush administration's intransigence in continuing to prosecute this ugly war and prop up the quisling government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (whose very existence continues only by virtue of our occupation) are a testament to its arrogance and complete misuse of U.S. power.

As in the case of the war in Vietnam, another failed attempt to exercise American hyper-power, only our complete departure from Iraq will make possible the eventual reconciliation of that country.

Dave Lefcourt, Ellicott City

Abuse scandal focus unfair to the church

Why have The Sun and other news outlets been so fixated on bashing the Catholic Church concerning the long-ago-resolved sex abuse issue - at the expense of missing countless other stories concerning the mission of the Holy Father in our country ("Pontiff vows vigilance on clergy abuse," April 16)?

And if we must read a story on this heinous topic, why don't we receive information concerning the fact that the church has made immense efforts over the past five years to protect children as well as to counsel and compensate victims and their families?

Also, why does The Sun not mention that most child abuse is not committed by clergy?

More than 90 percent of child abuse occurs in the home, and an extensive study conducted by the Associated Press in 2007 revealed that 2,570 public school educators were sanctioned over a five-year period following allegations of sexual misconduct, with young people being victimized in at least 1,801 of the cases.

Despite these numbers, The Sun focuses on bashing the Catholic Church.

Terry Maxwell, Towson

McNair put team before himself

In some circles, the idea of a black quarterback is still anathema. Steve McNair should have buried that notion forever ("McNair retires from Ravens," April 18).

Few men who played that position have given more of their bodies, left more of their blood on the field or had more fans sucking in their breath over that player's audacious bravery.

On Thursday, Mr. McNair retired.

At his press conference, he put the interests not only of his teammates but also of the entire Ravens organization before his own.

With the NFL draft a week away and his salary a significant issue, Mr. McNair did the right thing, as usual.

So let's salute Steve McNair, a future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Not a black quarterback - just a quarterback, period.

Jim Clark, Towson

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