- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2000

Civil rights panel in cahoots with the Democrats

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has become a taxpayer funded arm of the Democratic Party and an official branch office of the Gore presidential campaign, from which it wages political warfare against Republicans ("Rights agency to attack Giuliani," April 11).

The panel is launching a series of dishonest and harshly strident partisan attacks against Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Gov. George W. Bush and New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani designed to mislead voters and boost the campaigns of Vice President Al Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Is this fair? Is it legal for the commission to go after one political party and highjack a federal tax-supported government agency and exploit it for partisan campaign purposes?

Why has Rep. Charles T. Canady, Florida Republican and chairman of a House Judiciary subcommittee with oversight duties, issued only letters of protest but otherwise seems prepared to acquiesce to a partisan misappropriation of taxpayer funds?

Why does Mr. Canady not insist that the commission must refrain from partisan politics and serve all the people with honesty and integrity?

Mr. Canady should insist that, if the commission persists in its blatantly partisan activities, it will forfeit part, most or all of its funding and will have to pack up and move into the campaign headquarters of Mr. Gore and Mrs. Clinton and be funded by them.

NATHANIEL DAVIS

Elk Grove, Calif.

'Paleoconservatism is sometimes its own worst enemy'

Robert DiStefano's "Stop the unlimited, unreciprocated flow of Chinese goods into this country" (Letters, March 13) is one of the most brilliantly succinct paleoconservative indictments of the absurdity of "free trade" I have ever read. It is so well-written that one is tempted to suspect Mr. DiStefano is a speech writer for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan.

Yet one sentence illustrates why paleoconservativism is sometimes its own worst enemy: "Trade unions, although once a necessity … have priced the American worker out of the job market." Paleoconservatives cannot reasonably make this assertion when corporate profits, wealth accumulation and stock prices are at all-time highs. Labor-union wage demands are predicated on the idea this wealth should be shared more equitably.

Union workers make up one-fifth of the work force. While unions will make tenuous, single-issue coalitions with paleoconservatives over free trade, attitudes such as this virtually preclude the kind of permanent coalition these two groups will need to forge if they ultimately are to overcome the globalist, capitalist juggernaut. If they fail to unite, this juggernaut will crush them both.

DINO DRUDI

Washington

Turkey has been a willing water provider

The thoughtful March 29 Op-Ed column by Paul Michael Wihbey and Ilan Berman, "Geopolitics of water," may be construed as suggesting that Turkey uses or should use its water resources for political leverage in its relations with Syria and Israel. This runs counter to Turkish policy, which scrupulously eschews wielding its water resources for political advantage. Turkey is releasing an average of 700 cubic meters per second of Euphrates water to Syria, far more than the 500 that is guaranteed under a 1987 protocol.

Even in times when Turkish-Syrian relations were at the brink of dangerous conflict, right after Turkey asked Syria to expel its public enemy No. 1, PKK chieftain Abdullah Ocalan, Turkey did not place the water issue in the equation.

Contrary to widespread assumptions, Turkey does not enjoy water abundance. Yet Turkey always has striven to share the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers equitably with Syria and Iraq. In fact, Turkey uses the least amount of water of the riparian states from the Tigris and Euphrates. Disputes over water needs and rights have arisen, in which Turkey negotiated in good faith and with a spirit of cooperation to achieve an amicable resolution. Turkey is not using the water issue as a political tool in its relations in the region. This is a fact that should be taken into account by all sides involved in the peace process.

Special consideration also should be given to various water-sharing projects proposed by Turkey, such as the regional commercial use of the waters of Manavgat River as well as the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers in Turkey through projects such as the "peace pipeline." Finally, Turkey consistently has been promoting rational, effective and equitable use of water resources through a regional approach that is based on scientific studies. A climate of such regional cooperation would be naturally enhanced through the consolidation of lasting peace and stability in the Middle East.

GULER KOKNAR

Executive director

Assembly of Turkish American Associations

Washington

Editor in chief called a Francophobe for column

No doubt Wesley Pruden and others of his ilk have finally stopped laughing uncontrollably over his Francophobe column, "Here's the good word (and it's in English)" (Pruden on Politics, April 7). One assumes he thanks God nightly that Napoleon sold the United States the Louisiana Territory. Otherwise, Mr. Pruden and fellow Arkansan, President Clinton, would both be speaking French. Even half-truths sound better in the language of diplomats.

Mr. Pruden pooh-poohs the legitimate complaint of Paris that European Union documents aren't translated into French. This from a man who would be the first to complain loudly to the maitre d' if the menu in a Parisian restaurant wasn't available in English. So weak is his case that he digresses into an attack on French wines. When Virginia wines are compared with those from Napa Valley rather than the Loire Valley, that will be news (but don't hold your breath).

As part of his detour into matters culinary, he suggests Italian pasta (is that redundant or just English argot?) is more popular than French cuisine. Perhaps someone from The Times' Weekend section can explain to the boss why they keep running stories about French cinema, art, patisseries and restaurants while ignoring pasta.

One suspects Mr. Pruden prefers his pasta from a can probably Chef Boyardee since he wouldn't be caught dead eating Franco-American. The next time I join the crowds at one of the many La Madeleine French Bakery and Cafe's I will wonder why I didn't follow his advice. It's strange that for such an Anglophile, Mr. Pruden didn't suggest a good English restaurant to his readers. But then English restaurants are hard to find. Even the Brits have enough sense to vacation in France, where they can always get a decent meal.

Mr. Pruden forgets that America owes her independence to France, the only significant European power we haven't fought a war with. Or that it was the former French citizens of Louisiana who helped Gen. Andrew Jackson score the Army's victory over the Brits at New Orleans in 1814-15.

Mr. Pruden applauds a German state's decision to teach two hours of English each week. Will it be Oxford or Cockney? At least the German kids will be able to learn French easier because the Brits have retained all the French spellings (e.g., honour, colour, theatre, centre) introduced along with the fork in 1066 by the conquering Normans. And since when has Mr. Pruden started feeling sorry for Labor Party hacks like Neil Kinnock, who can't learn French?

Mr. Pruden concludes with the traditional canard about rude Parisians and contrasts them with supposedly folksy Londoners; the same people who still call us Yanks, even if we are from the South, and think of Americans as colonists. Mr. Pruden probably knows more French than I, yet on my many visits to France I somehow missed all the rude French. Maybe they were on holiday, across the Channel.

MICHAEL SHUMAKER

Burke

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