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Letters to the editor

March 13, 2005

Iraqis glad we're there


To the editor:

I would like to respond to the letter submitted by Faisal al-Husseini published Feb. 17. In that letter, Husseini stated that two cartoons were offensive to Muslims and poorly represented the Iraqi people. He also stated that those who are terrorizing the Iraqi people are fellow Iraqis, who resist any foreign occupation and feel democracy is a promoter of alcohol, gambling, fornication and homosexuality. I take serious issue with some of these comments and will explain why.

Political cartoons are meant to make light and fun of political issues, not to be politically correct. You must look at them in the light in which they were intended. What bothers me is that he is more concerned about two cartoons than he is about the lives of innocent people in Iraq. He openly supports the violence in Iraq, yet he gets offended when a cartoon shows an Iraqi to be violent. How does that make sense?

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I am currently stationed here in Iraq and I can assure you that those who are causing the violence here are despised by the Iraqi people. I work with several Iraqis who cannot even go home to their families for fear of being killed by extremists along the way. What the Iraqis tell me they hate even more is that these extremists say they are doing this for Allah. As one Iraqi said, the Quran teaches that all life is sacred, and therefore killing innocent people is a complete contradiction to the teachings of the Quran.

Also, if the violence is being committed by Iraqis as a resistance to foreign occupation, why do they target fellow Iraqis? Again, how does that make sense? For the record, our troops won't leave until the violence stops. Extremists are merely prolonging our stay.

Why is it that Husseini feels democracy should be resisted, but a dictator who slaughters hundreds of thousands of his own people and impoverishes a nation, should be left alone? Saddam tortured and killed many people here in Iraq and yet no one, other than the Iraqis, seems to remember what this coalition force has delivered them from.

All the Iraqi people I have spoken with thus far are very happy to be rid of Saddam and thrilled with the prospects of a free and united Iraq.

Democracy is simply a type of government that allows people to govern and rule themselves. It doesn't teach anything. Alcohol, gambling, fornication and homosexuality are choices made by people, not governments, and all four were already here in Iraq even before we removed Saddam from power. So don't try to peg that on "western secular democracy." Iraq is a great place with great people and a very bright future. The people of Iraq are very happy with the progress that is being made here and are very appreciative of the coalition forces for all they have done to help Iraq.

Jonathan Bish
An Nasiriyah, Iraq




Time for cleaner cars

To the editor:

With partisan politics increasingly dividing the General Assembly neatly along party lines, it is refreshing to see that some elected officials still have the courage to do what is right for their constituents.

In the next few weeks the General Assembly will hold hearings regarding the Maryland Clean Cars Act of 2005. This legislation would require auto manufacturers to sell more hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles in Maryland.

It would also require manufacturers to sell clean conventional vehicles that produce 90 percent less pollution than the average car on the road. Passage of this legislation is a crucial first step to improving our state's abysmal air quality.

A recent survey found that Maryland had the fifth worst smog problem in the country and the rate of asthma among children in Maryland has increased 160 percent in the last 20 years. In Maryland alone, 150,000 children now suffer from asthma.

With these daunting statistics in mind, it is refreshing that Republican Dels. Michael Smigiel, Mary Roe Walkup and Jean Cryor see this not as a Republican or Democratic issue, but as a public health issue and one that needs to be remedied in spite of partisan bickering.

We applaud their leadership in co-sponsoring the Clean Cars Act, and hope that all members of the General Assembly put away partisanship when considering legislation involving the health of all Marylanders - regardless if they are a Republican or Democrat.

Chris Fick
MaryPIRG, a state-wide, non-partisan environmental group

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