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Letters to the editor

January 22, 2004

Curious ruling


To the editor:

I want to thank The Herald-Mail opinion page editor for giving the Hancock Ethics Commission a "Thumbs up" for ruling correctly "that Town Manager Larry Logan violated a policy against using the prestige of his office to influence the election" in 2003.

But I wonder if they would have been so kind if they had realized that the ethics commission didn't find him guilty of the wrong that he admitted to in his letter? Among other things Logan wrote, "I recognize that my writing this letter may result in Mr. Mills trying to sue me because the town manager is not supposed to take sides in a political campaign."

In this one sentence, Logan admitted to knowingly putting himself and possibly the town at risk of legal action, of improperly involving himself as town manager in a political campaign and of improperly taking sides in that campaign. And yet the ethics commission didn't find him guilty of any of it.

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And what they did find him guilty of, Logan claimed he didn't do. In his unsworn testimony to the ethics commission, Logan said, "I have carefully read the Hancock Ethics Ordinance, (in which the prohibition against using the prestige of his office is encoded) and I find nothing that would restrict my rights to write a letter-to-the-editor and voice my opinion as a citizen."

So, the Hancock Ethics Commission found Logan not guilty of the wrong he admitted to and guilty of something he says he didn't do. So, thumbs up, Hancock Ethics Commission. Good job!

Edward L. James
Hancock




A failed policy


To the editor:

President George W. Bush and his foreign policy advisors are trying desperately to legitimize a foreign policy doctrine that is positively indefensible.

The Bush policy of preemptive strikes against all perceived or imagined enemies has generated a great deal of hate toward the U.S. Surprisingly, many Americans seem to have warmed up to this pernicious proposition.

A hasty review of several modern-period cases of preemptive strikes in the name of national interest will serve to show why right-thinking people with a knowledge of history find the Bush doctrine repulsive. Several dictators who brought their countries to ruin perpetrated this glory-inspired delusion.

In 1935, Italy, under the leadership of Benito Mussolini, made a preemptive strike against Ethiopia and quickly subdued that small African nation.

Germany, well aware of a reluctance of other major power to stop aggression, made preemptive strikes against the Rhineland, Austria, the Sudeten region and Poland. Japan then made preemptive strikes in the South Pacific and Pearl Harbor.

All of these aggressive acts were made in the name of national interest. An unprepared America and a coalition of free societies combined to bring all of these aggressive powers to their knees. Three streamlined dictatorships who lived by the sword of preemptive strikes died by the sword.

Now we have an American president who has committed a preemptive strike in the Middle East - again, in the name of national interest. Can American citizens be seduced into acceptance of a doctrine that history, reason and morality have judged to be repulsive?

The best way to show that such an idea is unacceptable is to reject those who have proposed an idea so alien to our values. It is not reasonable for Americans to reject the idea of preemptive strikes when practiced by other nations and suppose that the idea is legitimate when we use it in our national interest.

Allan Powell
Hagerstown

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