Raising the bar on baseball
As an avid baseball fan, I was surprised by the sheer scope of the names mentioned for possible steroid use in the report by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell ("MLB probe cites decade of drug use," Page 1, Friday).
Releasing the report and the names was the right thing to do, as the game needs a wake-up call, and it is my hope that the report will serve such a purpose.
The baseball fan, whether a veteran who has seen a lot of games or a child who is watching his first, needs to know that everyone is on a level playing field. That needs to be the standard in America's great pastime, and hopefully the report will be a good start on that front.
STEVEN M. CLAYTON
Should the Chappaquiddick case be reopened?
Mildred M. Fisher has it right regarding Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and the cover-up of Mary Jo Kopechne's death ("Kennedy, Chappaquiddick and cover-up," Letters, Saturday). It seems that the magical Kennedy mystique has permitted Mr. Kennedy to remain free to bloviate about anything, from pushing for amnesty for illegal aliens to ranting about CIA cover-ups.
Mark Furhman's investigation of the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley ensured that a Kennedy in-law (Michael Skakel) went to prison for that crime in 2002, 27 years after the fact. Because there exists no statute of limitations on murder, I wonder if Mr. Furhman would be willing to reopen the investigation into the death of Miss Kopechne.
KEVIN M. VALENTINI
Faith and politics
Mike Huckabee is a Christian fundamentalist ("Who Is Huckabee?" Commentary, Friday). Most Americans want their president to be a person of faith but not necessarily a fundamentalist. It would be a big mistake to elect a president who is a fundamentalist, whatever religion the person practices.
Mr. Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister, is a product of the Southern Baptist Convention's divisiveness of the 1980s and '90s, which resulted in a split. One would think the Rev. Pat Robertson, the fundamentalist Baptist preacher who once ran for the Republican nomination for president, would have endorsed Mr. Huckabee instead of Rudolph W. Giuliani.
PAUL L. WHITELEY SR.
No, Rudy, no
Rudolph W. Giuliani has said: "Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do." This statement demonstrates that Mr. Giuliani is unqualified to serve as president ("Rudy Giuliani," Editorial, yesterday).
In order to take office, the president must swear to uphold the Constitution. A man who believes in this statement cannot possibly uphold the principles of individual liberty that the founding document seeks to protect. I would suggest that Mr. Giuliani follow Rep. Ron Paul's campaign to learn a few things about the proper role of government.
Farmington Hills, Mich.
The tax question
Though I agree with much of what Donald Lambro said in his column "A sting from Huckabee" (Commentary, Dec. 3), he is way off base in his opposition to the Fair Tax.
He posits that it would be a disaster for the low- and middle-income Americans who in many cases spend all of their earnings on the necessities of life. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Each family unit would receive a so-called prebate each month for the tax that would be paid if the family spent the entire amount of earnings up to the poverty level. So those Americans who spend all of their earnings on necessities actually would get a tax cut.
They pay no income taxes now, but they do pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. The Fair Tax would eliminate Social Security and Medicare taxes, leaving those at the bottom of the economic ladder in better financial condition than they are now.
Before Mr. Lambro takes such a negative view on a proposal, it would behoove him to better study the proposal.
KENNETH P. CHRISTENSEN
Standing on humanity and principles
William Hawkins' belief that our enemies are not our equals is lethally flawed ("Treating enemies as equals," Commentary, yesterday).
First, waging war against terrorists ensures that many innocent people will be killed. Such collateral damage is accepted by Mr. Hawkins because he and others like him believe American lives are worth more than the lives of foreigners and that rights do not come with being human but instead derive from government generosity.
Perhaps Mr. Hawkins should review the premise of our nation's founding document, the Declaration of Independence. Any rational reading will find that rights are not a blessing from government but are inalienable gifts of God (natural rights) that belong to all people regardless of race, religion, age, sexual orientation, nationality or political belief. The primary function of any legitimate government is to protect those rights with due process and not sacrifice the lives of those who may not be seen as worthy of such rights.
For Mr. Hawkins, it doesn't seem to be a problem that somewhere between 60,000 and 600,000 innocent Iraqis have been killed as a direct result of the Bush administration's decision to invade and occupy Iraq. Most Americans rightfully feel horrified by the loss of nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers but demonstrate little compassion or concern for the dead Iraqis. I'm fairly certain that is not how the loved ones of the Iraqi dead, wounded or displaced feel. If they had seen early on that American soldiers were willing to die to protect innocent Iraqis instead of intimidating them with "shock and awe" warfare, we might have ended up with far more friends and far fewer enemies and U.S. casualties in the long run.
Only by demonstrating far greater concern for the well-being of those who may look like our enemies will we be able to mobilize the hearts and minds and the intelligence sources needed to defeat our true enemies those who show no regard for the loss of innocent lives.
Though techniques such as "waterboarding" provided intelligence that "probably saved lives," there is little doubt in my mind that conducting and justifying such torture to protect American lives will only end up costing far more American lives on the battlefield and at home in the long run.
Either we stand for the basic principle that all people are created equal or we are only slightly better than the mass murderers against whom we wage war. Standing on such noble principles may cost some lives upfront, but such is the price of real freedom and remaining a truly great nation.
Any ideology that favors the survival of one people over another is not only un-American, unethical and un-Christian; it is the clearest prescription for our ultimate defeat.