- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 26, 2000

Bush appointments made on qualifications, not 'diversity'

I am amazed at the cynicism coming from Democrats and Republicans in response to President-elect George W. Bush's recent Cabinet appointments ("Diversity lauded in selections," Dec. 21). One would expect the Democrats to deride Mr. Bush for some of the individuals he has chosen for high positions, but apparently the Democrats have so well cowed the Republicans that they also are questioning his choices.

The Democrats often have insisted that public institutions "reflect America" in its diversity, and made their appointments accordingly. They have gone so far as to suggest that those who disagree may be racist or sexist.

Now certain leaders in the Republican Party, who control all three branches of government for the first time in 50 years, accuse Mr. Bush of bowing to this pressure and picking appointees by race or gender.

Where were these Republican leaders during the Republican National Convention when Mr. Bush spoke of choosing the best and the brightest? At no time did he commit to picking people in his administration on any other basis than their excellence, capability and character, and the people he has chosen reflect just those qualities.

American Civil Rights Institute Chairman Ward Connerly is understandably cautious about Mr. Bush's initial appointments, which have been primarily black, female or Hispanic. But I believe if he and others check the credentials of each nominee, they will find he has chosen some of the most qualified candidates for their respective jobs.

My congratulations to Mr. Bush for being his own man and for choosing men and women who can help to take this country into the next millennium.

JERRY WILHOITE

Huntsville, Ala.

Clinton feels Gore's pain, but not Elian's

According to the article "Clinton: Elian case may have cost Gore" (Dec. 21), President Clinton had said in an interview with the CBS news show "60 Minutes II" that "his administration's seizure of Elian Gonzalez might have cost the vice president 'a lot of votes' in Florida. 'And if it did, I feel very badly about it, … ' "

Mr. Clinton's priorities are interesting. He feels "very badly" about costing Vice President Al Gore votes in the election, but feels just fine about:

• The Justice Department sending a SWAT team to break down the door of the home of Elian's relatives in the middle of the night and seize him at gunpoint.

• Returning 6-year-old Elian to communist Cuba the country from which his mother died escaping so she and her child would be free knowing he would be put into a government brainwashing program.

As I said, these are interesting priorities.

DAVID A. LESSNAU

Bristow, Va.

UNICEF efforts hampered by corporate tax dodgers

U.S. Fund for UNICEF President Charles J. Lyons went soft in his letter to the editor ("Column mischaracterizes UNICEF AIDS efforts in Africa," Dec. 21) criticizing Michelle Malkin's Dec. 16 Commentary column "Risky milk mindset."

If Miss Malkin were really concerned about saving the lives and protecting the health of infants and children, she would make an appeal for clean water, safe sanitation and basic education, and demand that more corporations do what they can to ensure universal access to these basic needs.

U.S.-based corporations avoid paying more than $270 billion a year in U.S. taxes by using offshore accounts to hide their earnings. It would take less than one third of this loot to fund universal access to nutrition, education, basic health services, water, sanitation and the means needed to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and dozens of other diseases related to the conditions of poverty, for all the world's people.

But Miss Malkin seems to be more interested in bashing UNICEF for its affiliation with the United Nations and family planning than she is in the lives of these infants and children or the control of disease. While there are many reasons to question the motives of some who chose to push family planning as a population control measure, it is absurd to accuse UNICEF of such folly.

For UNICEF, family planning is an extremely effective health measure targeted at improving the lives of both women and children, not a population control measure.

The United Nations may be an easy target, but undermining support for UNICEF puts children's lives at risk.

CHUCK WOOLERY

Rockville

Vocal minority do not represent majority of Muslims

Approaching the high holy days of the three prominent monotheistic faiths, I would like to extend the greeting of Muslims the world over as salamu alaykum peace be unto you.

I am writing to express my gratitude for the Dec. 17 Commentary column, "Misjudged Muslims," by Mustafa Elhussein. While I have never met Mr. Elhussein, I can state with certainty that he represents a majority Muslim view in his assessment of Muslim leadership in the the United States.

As an American who converted to Islam in 1975, I have had the distinct honor of studying my chosen faith, as well as addressing diverse audiences about Islam, women in Islam and Islamic spirituality. Many Americans have come to me seeking guidance and to embrace this universal faith. They are both relieved and surprised to learn that Muslims are so similar to themselves, upholding the same family values and promoting social responsibility.

It is worth mentioning that I have experienced 25 good years in my chosen faith, in large part by avoiding politicking, shouting, angry, undereducated, bigoted Muslim leaders and organizations those who would ostracize me for exercising a fundamental right, such as opposing their agendas or writing this letter.

They do not represent Islam or mainstream Muslims; they are simply the loudest, and they are supported by those whose interests they represent.

I shudder to think of anyone endorsing an act of terrorism. For a quarter century, I have been outraged by the rhetoric Muslim leaders espouse, which categorically challenges Islamic teachings of the Koran and the majority of scholarly rulings. They make my life more difficult, and have, at times, thrust my Islamic identity into peril.

As a Muslim feminist, activist and academic, I have more freedom in the the United States to practice my faith than in most Muslim societies. I am less likely to be harassed by other Americans than by ignorant, power-seeking, immigrant Muslims whose interpretation of the faith is, at best, corrupted.

I am part of a broad network of "moderate Muslims" who cherish this great nation and what it represents. Again, I thank you for your column.

HAJJAH TALIBAH JILANI

Dean of Administration

AMIR University

Flint, Mich.

No media, no spin

Adam Wolfson is correct in his assessment that Americans have never before been subjected to incessant propaganda such as was employed by operatives of the Clinton-Gore administration ("The politics of spin," Dec. 20).

He failed to point out, however, that without a compliant news media, all the spin in the world would have fallen on deaf ears.

JILL BERNETT

Tucson, Ariz.

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