- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2000

State Dept. official equates departures with Cole tragedy

I could not have been more upset by an article than I was after reading "Laptop scandal costs State 2 key officials," on the loss of two employees at the State Department (Dec. 6).

Let me get this straight. State Department aide Donal Keyser was removed from his job at the "public trough" after he "lost" a laptop computer that contained top-secret information, an act that could seriously damage the security of the United States. Then, we are told, his bureau chief, Assistant Secretary of State J. Stapleton Roy, removed himself out of a sense of honor because the national security breach occurred during his watch. Then a State Department official described the loss of these two bureaucrats as "worse … than the bomb that hit the Cole."

To equate, to any degree, these employees losing their jobs because they imperiled our national security and the horrible murder of American servicemen and women by terrorists, speaks volumes about how our military is regarded by the Clinton-Gore regime. For almost eight years, the contempt of this administration toward the military has been evident. In fact, it was their policies and lack of understanding of foreign affairs that put the USS Cole and her crew in harm's way in the first place.

The buck should stop where it rightfully belongs. Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore also should do the honorable thing and take responsibility for actions that occurred on their watch.

DON TRESHMAN

Baltimore

Election as a 'civil war'

The court battles and political aggression that have erupted from the 2000 presidential election have engaged Gore Democrats and Bush Republicans in what amounts to a "Civil War."

Driven by the mass media, a regiment of reporters and a battalion of pundits, hostilities broke out using ballots instead of bullets, lawyers instead of bayonets and a cavalry of black-robed judges.

Indeed, it's difficult to find a particle of patriotism or a shred of statesmanship amid the partisan power plays, legal lances and electoral guerrillas.

Such selfish, shallow interests can only damage our nation, already steeped in political alchemy, deepening division and the atrophy of democracy. May America not be remembered for the "dimpled chad heard around the world."

DANIEL B. JEFFS

Founder

Direct Democracy Center

Apple Valley, Calif.

GSA clarifies transition details

I would like to clarify a few points about the presidential transition office space reported in the Dec. 5 edition of The Washington Times, "Congress attempts to speed transition."

The General Services Administration (GSA) has prepared 90,000 square feet of office space, large enough to house 540 persons, for the president-elect's transition team. GSA often rents space in private buildings for federal tenants. Previous tenants in the transition space included a federal agency and employees working on potential year-2000 problems. When the transition is completed, other federal agencies will occupy the space.

Under the terms of GSA's 10-year lease, GSA pays $29 per square foot for the space, less than the market rate, which is $30, according to a commercial real estate research firm.

Many numbers were flung around at the Dec. 4 transition hearing before the House Government Reform subcommittee. With so much confusion circulating these days, I thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight.

HAP CONNORS

Deputy associate administrator

GSA Communications

Washington

Universal suffrage and voter responsibility

The only thing Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison omitted in her cogent article on the Electoral College was the "politically incorrect" expectation that our forefathers had: that only those who were contributing members (i.e. taxpayers) of this republic would have the privilege of voting ("'System' works," Dec. 5).

In those predominantly agrarian days, that meant owners of property (one not-so-good reason women weren't able to vote back then). Obviously, in today's non-agrarian and very mobile economy, and under a taxation system based primarily on income (and the redistribution thereof), we all acknowledge that ownership of property alone cannot be the basis of suffrage.

But and a this is a major but we have created a "universal" suffrage that increasingly places power in the hands of those who will "buy" the votes from those unwilling to contribute to our national well-being through their labor at the expense of those of us who accept and, indeed, prize our responsibilities to take care of ourselves and our families and those in our communities who may be in need.

It is no coincidence that when one looks at the now well-publicized map of county-by-county voting in the "lower 48 states," it is evident that Texas Gov. George W. Bush has won the votes of all of Middle America the huge number of us who represent the "old-fashioned" ideals of self-reliance and responsibility for our neighbors and resent having government intervene in every aspect of our lives while it pickpockets our hard-earned dollars to support those it has enslaved.

MARCIA SPIEGEL

Arapahoe, N.C.

Indian rights bill only the start of necessary Mexican reforms

In the article on Zapatista leaders' support for an Indian rights bill introduced by Mexican President Vicente Fox ("Zapatista's leader to push rights bill," World, Dec. 4), your reporter wrote that although "peace moves were a quick triumph for Mr. Fox, profound complications remain." It is not enough that the Indian rights bill would be approved, or that the peace talks have been initiated. To accomplish a real peace throughout Mexico, we need improvements in economic, social, political and security conditions as well.

Mexicans have more problems than were outlined in the article. For example, a complicated situation exists in the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, where people have long suffered from social and political injustices. In Guerrero in the 1970s, Gen. Acosta Chaparro fought against the guerrillas but never addressed the causes of unrest. (For example: In Oaxaca, 42 percent of the population has no clean water to drink in their homes). The government forces didn't realize that if you kill one guerrilla fighter, one or two will emerge to replace him if bad conditions continue. Further, if the military kills an innocent person, that will inspire more than 10 people to become guerrilla fighters.

Now, the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) is operating in Oaxaca and Guerrero. It is more dangerous than the Zapatista movement. For example, the EPR splinter guerrilla group called People's Armed Revolutionary Forces just appeared five days ago in a little town near Oaxaca, before Mr. Fox arrived. It made a point of neutralizing Mr. Fox's appearance by talking about injustices and poverty and against the central government.

LEONARDO HERNANDEZ

Research Assistant

National Defense Council Foundation

Alexandria

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