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Letters to the Editor

December 23, 1997

Letters to the Editor

Reese lacks facts

To the editor:

In his column about the "facts" of the US conflict with Iraq, Charley Reese asserts that the United Nations does not actually believe that Iraq has any weapons of mass destruction and that it has cooperated with the inspectors.

Has must not have read the many convincing stories published over the last few weeks about Iraq's continued efforts in this area?

Reese refers to Iraq as "a small country run by a quite ordinary dictator." Saddam Hussein is not an ordinary dictator. For all their misdeeds, most of those "100 other dictators we do business with" have not acted as Iraq has. Iraq has invaded its neighbors, Iran and Kuwait, come very close to controlling 20 percent of the world's known oil reserves and actually used chemical weapons on its own civilians and Iranian soldiers.

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Reese notes that "even Kuwait has told the United States not to use military force against Iraq." If Kuwait is once again calling for appeasement of Iraq, it's because it does not believe that the Clinton administration will rescue Kuwait the next time Iraq invades the way the Bush administration did when it's policy of appeasing Iraq proved a failure.

Reese accuses the sanctions against Iraq of "murdering half a million Iraqi children." I've never seen that figure before, but granting it to him, it's fair to say that Iraq, which rejected the oil for food program for years and which has continued to poor money better spent elsewhere into programs to develop weapons of mass destruction shares a more than bit of the blame.

Reese is simply wrong about the facts.

Michael E. Field

Hagerstown

A road not wanted

To the editor:

I would like to lend my voice to the increasingly large chorus of opposition concerning the proposed four-lane highway through the Robinwood area. I feel that if a few bureaucrats and politicians get their way irreparable harm will be done to the affected area for a number of reasons.

The first area of harm would be to desecrate a small Presbyterian Church, turning the quiet and tranquil setting into a nightmare of autos and trucks churning past its sanctuary less than 50 feet away from the church door.

The exit and entrance of this proposed road would feed into Md. 64 with no clear visibility of the oncoming traffic from either the Hagerstown or Smithsburg direction.

I only hope that before an environmental impact study is demanded by the local church and neighbors, the commissioners would take a long review of this proposal and dismiss it outright.

If this road needs to be built, there are far better options. To the east of Robinwood Drive is open farmland with little or no disruption to the public; a corridor could be built from the Eastern Boulevard to Hagerstown Junior College from the west. All options should be thoroughly explored and their environmental impact studied before the politicians begin tearing up a church parking lot and people's back yards for a superhighway.

Douglas E. Ridenour

Hagerstown

Drug plan on track

To the editor:

Your "Thumbs up, thumbs down" editorial (Dec. 6) asked three basic questions about the Glendening/Townsend Administration's plan to "Break the Cycle" of drug addiction and crime by increasing drug testing for up to 25,000 offenders on probation: "Who'll run this, how much will it cost and what will happen to those who fail?"

The answers, in order, are: Teams of criminal justice and treatment officials; not much, and a lot, including jail.

"Break the Cycle" essentially expands the success of Washington County's nationally-recognized Jail Substance Abuse Program. It says that if a judge puts you on probation and orders you to stay off drugs and participate in drug treatment, we're going to enforce it - by drug-testing you up to twice per week, and by imposing a series of increasingly severe and automatic penalties if you fail. A handful of pilot programs elsewhere have demonstrated remarkable results.

Each county will decide on its own what the penalties are, so they can match local resources and sensibilities. But the bottom line is: Get into treatment and stay clean, or go to jail and get treatment there.

The initiative will be run by teams of criminal justice and health officials in each county, led by county parole and probation supervisors and county addictions administrators. And while there will be an initial expense of a couple of million dollars, Break the Cycle, just like our existing Correctional Options Program, will save many millions more down the line - in reduced costs of criminal victimization, court processing, health care, sexually transmitted diseases and other ills that addiction breeds. It will also permit us to provide more prison space for offenders who have committed crimes of violence.

U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffery said "Break the Cycle" is "unerringly on the right track." Governor Glendening and I could not agree more.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Lt. Governor

See a show

To the editor:

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