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Letters to the editor 2/12

February 12, 2003

We're not the bad guy



To the editor:


I read with dismay the eloquent letter from Dr. Laszlo Madaras published on Feb. 9 commenting on his family's wonderful experiences in participating in the January anti-war demonstration.

I respect his right to demonstrate against - in his words - the "big bully who steals the other children's lunch money simply because there is no one else larger to stop him." The connotation is that America is the bully, the "Evil Empire" and I resent that.

Never in the history of civilization has there been a country more caring, more peaceful than the United States. The Marshal Plan, the Berlin Airlift, relief to countless of refugees all over the world, the opening of its borders to all comers, the return of all territories occupied in previous wars, the proposed fight against the AIDS epidemic, etc., are certainly not the acts of an "Evil Empire."

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His concern for the Iraqi parents elicit these questions: Aren't these the same parents who celebrated in the streets with their children when images of the collapsing World Trade Center towers were shown on Arab television? Aren't these the same parents who, with their children, have demonstrated against the U.N. inspectors (the very people who are in their country trying to help preserve the peace) by burning U.N. and American flags and celebrating such events by firing AK-47s in the air?

I wonder if the parents of the Kurd and Shiite children living in the northern and southern sectors of Iraq don't welcome the sound of American airplanes keeping them safe from their own air force aircraft which have been known to spray poison gas and drop bombs on them because they wanted their freedom.

Like many others everywhere, I would welcome a peaceful way to get rid of Iraq's weapons and belligerence. But, I don't believe that Saddam Hussein is inclined to clean up his act, free his people, quit threatening his neighbors and rejoin the world community without some persuasion.

C. A. Belella

Smithsburg




PenMar failing in its mission



To the editor:


On Feb. 4, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued an opinion that could have major implications for the Cascade community and Washington County. This is our position on the court ruling:

Although the suit did not involve the PenMar Development Corp., we believe the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals validates the view of many in the Cascade community that PMDC has failed to conduct its business in good faith, with fairness, and in accordance with government regulations and guidelines. The PMDC board has failed to meet its public responsibility, and the organization must be restructured to make openness and community participation its central principle.

We believe now is the time for the Washington County Board of Commissioners to appoint local community leaders to the PMDC board from Cascade, the community most heavily affected by the closure of Fort Ritchie. Those appointees, and all other PMDC board members, should be required to fully comply with all applicable government regulations and closely adhere to the guidelines contained in the Defense Department's "Community Guide to Base Re-use," including that of "keeping the public informed and soliciting its input in all phases" of the Fort Ritchie redevelopment program.

Community-oriented PMDC board members and compliance with DOD regulations and guidelines will help prevent future quagmires at Fort Ritchie like the one which we now face.

Karl Weissenbach

Director Cascade Committee Steering Committee

Cascade




Homeless people deserve some warmth



To the editor:


I am an eighth-grade student at Western Heights Middle School. I recently read an article in the newspaper called "Trying to Stay Warm." This item really hit home because I myself volunteer at Trinity Lutheran Church.

How can people complain about the homeless taking up space in the library? They have just as many rights as any other citizen in the United States.

First, I think that the homeless are just ordinary people in the library, reading. They might not be as well-off as some people, but they can be just as scared as you and me. I think the REACH program is extraordinary.

Let me explain what the REACH program is all about. It is a volunteer organization with a planned schedule that rotates its location through different churches. But the homeless can only stay in the churches until 7 a.m., and then they have to leave the premises.

Most of these unfortunate people do have jobs; just some of them do not. OK, so some of them go to the library. I do not think that it is a reason to complain. Think of it this way - at least they are doing something constructive and not out breaking the law or doing something illegal.

Shane M. Cruce

Hagerstown




Different students, different school needs



To the editor:


This is a letter to the parents of Washington County children.

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