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Letters to the editor

July 28, 2007

A war we can't afford to lose

To the editor:

Do you want us to lose the war on terror? Here is a quote that may help you decide this question. "Perception is reality." It means that all people act or behave based on what they believe is true, not on what really is true.

Let's look not at we Americans, but at two other groups that are closely watching what is happening in Iraq. The first is a group of more than 100 countries around the world not part of the jihadist movement, but not firmly allied to us either.

All of them may not love us, but they see us as a safety net to defend them if they are attacked by terrorists or by some other outside aggressor.


The second group is the Jihadists and their supporters operating overtly in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and in other countries and covertly in cells around the world. They hate us with undying passion. They want to destroy us and our friends who do not accept their perverted views of Islam.

They will attack us and our friends anywhere in the world when they can. They will pursue their goals for as long as they must.

What will the perceptions of these two groups be if we pull out of Iraq before we have decisively defeated the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Will the first group believe that we will really live up to any agreements or alliances we have with them if they are threatened by terrorists? Will they still have confidence in our words if we are not willing to stay the course in the fight against terrorism in Iraq? Will so-called moderate Muslim nations continue to help us with intelligence about al Queda and other terrorist groups around the world?

With us gone from a major role in the Middle East, who will restrain Iran from dominating the Arabs of the area? What will Israel do to survive without friends reliably committed to their security?

Suppose al Queda and its allies in Iran and Syria overrun Iraq and take control of the oil reserves of that country. How will that affect oil deliveries in Europe, Asia and the United States? Do we dare hope that the Jihadists will continue to do business as usual just to make money and not use oil as a weapon against the West?

How many of the rich Middle East oil producers will try to save themselves by trying to buy off the terrorists? Without Middle East oil, how much will a gallon of gas cost us - if we can find it elsewhere in the world?

What will be the perceptions of the jihadists and the rest of the terrorist groups dedicated to our demise and the establishment of a Caliphate over the entire Middle East? Obviously the number one perception is that they have defeated the Great Satan on the field of battle.

They see us as weak and unwilling to take casualties or to defend ourselves anywhere beyond our shores. They see the impact that such perceptions will have on the rest of the world. Basically they see militant Islam on the march and unstoppable!

Let me again stress that "Perception is reality." Are these perceptions and the effects they will have on the world something we can live with? If not, you better start calling your senators and representatives and tell them to support our troops. And thank the good Lord we have such men and women who are willing to fight the fight we now face so that we won't have a worse fight later.

Donald Currier


Cardin: Some progress on our energy needs

To the editor:

The U.S. Senate recently passed an energy package that included my goal of achieving U.S. independence from foreign energy by mandating that we get the vast majority of our energy from domestic sources.

In passing the CLEAN Energy Act, the Senate understood that to achieve energy independence we need an Apollo-like mission similar to the effort that it took to put a man on the moon in the 1960s. We need to achieve energy independence, which is defined as having 90 percent of our energy needs met by domestic sources. Today, only about 70 percent of our energy comes from domestic sources.

I am particularly pleased that the recently passed Senate bill includes my proposal of a bipartisan National Commission on Energy Independence that would create a framework in which we can continue to monitor and adjust our nation's energy policy to ensure that we achieve energy independence as soon as possible. That's an important commitment because our continued dependence on foreign energy threatens our economy, endangers our national security, harms our environment, and contributes to global warming.

Petroleum accounts for 84 percent of our nation's imported energy. Transportation accounts for approximately 28 percent of all energy used in the United States. An important provision in the Senate bill is a significant increase in CAF standards from 25 mpg to 35 mpg by 2020. This increase will help reduce American gasoline consumption by more than 1 million gallons a day.

The Senate bill also calls for research and development of renewable fuels. Maryland companies are at the forefront of biodiesel development, solar technology, wind power and cellulosic energy. This legislation will ensure that more Americans have access to renewable fuel.

I was disappointed that the Senate-passed energy bill failed to include a package of tax changes cutting oil and gas subsidies and using those resources to create incentives for renewable energy. I also was disappointed that the bill did not include a Renewable Portfolio Standard, which would have required utilities to get a percentage of their power from renewable energy sources.

We have more important work to do, but the Senate bill moves us in the right direction as we chart a course that will bring us to energy independence. This legislation now moves over to the House for consideration.

U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin

Washington, D.C.

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