Silent on Dec. 7

As a veteran of World War II, I was shocked, disappointed and angry to find the Dec. 7 edition of your paper devoid of any mention of Pearl Harbor Day on the front page and in the editorials. Rather, the reader is exposed to the non-news of GOP debates, D.C. landlords and even Watergate.

Have we forgotten the significance of that day? How it changed world history? How it changed the course of our great nation? How it solidified all Americans in fighting for the freedoms and prosperity that we now enjoy? I can assure you that millions of vets have not forgotten.

--David W. Johnston

Deserving Recognition

I was saddened by the recent deaths of six Worcester, Mass., firefighters who lost their lives trying to rescue homeless people from a raging warehouse fire. As a retired chief officer from the Prince George's County Fire Department, I am well aware of the dangerous occupation of firefighting and the risk of serious injury or death that is a part of the job.

For that reason I was disheartened that the only mention of their tragic deaths on the day after was relegated to a small article on Page A26 of your Dec. 5 edition, with the remainder of the page containing advertisements.

This human tragedy deserved to be on the front part of the national news section. This was reported to be the highest loss of life of firefighters in a single fire incident in the United States in the last 20 years, and one that left a number of widows and fatherless children.

--Ward W. Caddington

Comprising a Problem

In the Nov. 30 front-page story "Northern Ireland Blocs Form Government," T. R. Reid writes: "The cabinet . . . comprises six Protestants and six Catholics." But later, in the same story, he writes about "a territorial claim over the six northern counties that comprise Northern Ireland."

According to your 1989 Deskbook on Style, "comprise" means: "contain or consist of. The whole comprises the parts, not vice versa."

As evidenced by 20th century Ireland, trying to have it both ways is troublesome.

--John W. Breen

The Price for Security

Calling for the Europeans to spend more on defense [op-ed, Dec. 6], Secretary of Defense William Cohen notes that some countries can unlock money for modernization by reforming their procurement practices, reducing the size of their forces and eliminating excess infrastructure.

Secretary, heal thyself.

Recent General Accounting Office reports have found that the Pentagon has lost billions of dollars through its slipshod procurement practices. As for force size, the United States continues to maintain Cold War-era stores of nuclear weapons. Reducing that number to a still-insane level of 1,000 warheads would save $15 billion each year. As for excess infrastructure, we won World War II with just one admiral for every 130 ships. We now have two admirals for every three ships.

The Europeans, who are much closer to the line of fire, learned at the end of the Cold War that they could maintain national security and still spend half what we do per capita on defense using the savings to build better schools and provide health care for every one of their children. Imagine what we could accomplish if the secretary took his own advice.

--Jack Shanahan

The writer is a former military adviser to the U.S. ambassador to NATO.

Regional Smog

A Dec. 2 news story by Tom Kenworthy and D'Vera Cohn regarding measures to reduce urban smog in the Northeast wrongly states that power plants and other sources in the Midwest send smog-forming chemicals into East Coast states. Modeling conducted by northeastern, midwestern and southern states and the Environmental Protection Agency shows that emissions from sources in the Midwest and South do not contribute significantly to ozone problems in urban Northeast cities.

To perpetuate this myth is a disservice to the millions of Americans who live in these cities who rely on effective policies--based upon sound science as opposed to political rhetoric--to protect the environment and improve human health.

--Stephen L. Miller

The writer is president of the Center

for Energy & Economic Development.