- The Washington Times - Monday, February 28, 2000

Let me see if I've got this straight. Rip Andrews would have us fight intolerance by refusing to tolerate different opinions ("Is 'hate speech' editorial irresponsible or sound analysis?" Letters, Feb. 23). Is this a case of infantile logic or is this a case of disingenuousness?

He states, "Every display of prejudice, intolerance or hate must be confronted every time, all the time and with no exceptions." But what of his own glaring intolerances? What of his own hatred of intolerance and hate? What of his own prejudices, exemplified by his use of the term, "even one with a conservative orientation"? Should these be confronted as well? If not, why not?

We need to ask ourselves, quite seriously, who is to be the supreme arbiter of prejudice, intolerance and hate? Should we elect a censor with absolute power to accuse and punish? As a quasi-free people, we should walk this path with a great deal of trepidation.

TIMOTHY C. MCNAIR

Huntingtown, Md.

m

I just read Rip Andrew's letter, and I guess my thoughts on it are quite simple. I can't comprehend a student at such a good school who does not understand what freedom really is, and I feel real fear for the liberty of my children.

The society that Mr. Andrews desires is totalitarian. What else is a society that represses any opinion but the politically correct one, the one chosen by its leaders? Mr. Andrews should selfishly fear that society because he may not always agree with its leaders.

RICHARD E. THORPE

Manassas

m

I write in response to the letter by Rip Andrews. Again, we see the point being completely overlooked; that thought, or one's heart, can be controlled by an institution.

He states that Georgetown University has the right "to work toward the elimination of hate and prejudice." One may be able to work toward eliminating hateful actions, but it is unconstitutional and, beyond that, immoral to think that one human can change another's heart. That is possible only by the grace of God.

JEFFREY HICKS

Fairfax

Presidential contender forgets which party still runs Congress

Sen. John McCain says in "Bush and McCain slug it out to finish" (Feb. 22), "My party has … lost the last two congressional elections." This is something we have been hearing from Democrats for a while.

For Democrats, it is evidence of a mandate in support of their policies and against holding President Clinton accountable for his actions. For Mr. McCain, it is evidence that his party has "lost its way."

Both Mr. McCain and the Democrats ignore one minor detail: In the last two elections, a majority of the congressional districts in this country elected Republicans to represent them. Granted, not the overwhelming majority the Republicans hoped for and the Democrats feared, but a majority nonetheless.

The Republicans did not deliver knockout blows to the Democrats in those elections, but these were still clearly victories, not losses.

When your team scores more points than the other team, your team wins. Democrats need to accept that; more significantly, so do Republicans.

MARK HETTLER

Ambler, Pa.

Conservative Christians unfairly attacked in column

I was sorry to see the usually thoughtful and astute Cal Thomas descend to smug, self-righteous condemnation of those conservative Christian activists who use "the tools of the world in an attempt to impose a moral code and world view that many non-Christians and even some Christians do not share" ("A political resurrection," Commentary, Feb. 23).

I did not realize that, in his efforts to refocus Christians' energies on the work of the Spirit instead of the work of men, he had gone so far as to condemn Christian political activists (might they "be unwittingly in the employ of the wrong kingdom?") who believe it is actually our mandate from God to speak the truth in love, to redeem creation and to resist cultural decay as much as we can. (Including fighting for the lives of the unborn, one of the primary reasons many conservatives are concerned about a John McCain presidency. And can Mr. Thomas think of a more serious issue on which to judge a man's character and his respect for humanity?)

Indeed, Mr. Thomas has no problem speaking what he perceives is the truth about culture and combating those who offend his enlightened sense of authentic Christianity with a sharp-tongued rebuke that crosses the line… . 'with civility and a decent regard for the other guy.' "

Mr. Thomas refers to conservative groups drawing attention to Mr. McCain's marital unfaithfulness, foul language and apparent lack of concern over homosexuality as "smear" tactics. If this is the standard for "smearing," then Mr. Thomas himself is guilty of the worst sort of character assassination against our current president.

As far as the "misguided" conservatives "impos[ing] a moral code and world view that many non-Christians and even some Christians do not share," are we to infer that we should take a poll to determine what is the most popular dominant world view and only work toward the goals that are more "shared" by secular mainstream America?

ANNEMARIE MARTIN WATERS

Alexandria

Coast Guard needs new cutters, equipment to stay afloat

Christopher M. Lehman's "Stranded at sea" (Op-Ed, Feb. 24) did an excellent job of highlighting the Coast Guard's dilemma in its role as protector, enforcer and war fighter. The Coast Guard finds itself increasingly involved in missions that have implications for the national security.

For example, the cutter Hamilton detected on Aug. 2 a Russian vessel fishing in the U.S. exclusive economic zone between Alaska and Russia, an act which violated international law.

A U.S. boarding crew seized the vessel with the intention of bringing it into a U.S. port. The confrontation, however, took an ominous turn as the Hamilton found itself being swarmed by Russian vessels, prompting the Hamilton's captain to man his guns and withdraw the boarding party out of concerns for its safety. Ultimately, the Russian ship was handed over to a newly arrived Russian Border Service patrol boat.

This tense incident underscores one of the Coast Guard's most vital, if least visible, missions: the protection of the nation's and the world's fisheries.

It probably is a harbinger of more confrontations to come, as the worldwide demand for fish increases at the same time that fisheries are being depleted. The Coast Guard, however, will be hard pressed to respond to every such violation with today's fleet of cutters and aircraft.

The Coast Guard faces similar challenges in the drug-enforcement area.

The Coast Guard is responsible for about 25 percent of all U.S. drug seizures, but the service estimates it is able to seize only about 11 percent of all illegal drugs crossing American borders. Part of the reason for such a low seizure rate is the Coast Guard's aging inventory of craft and equipment.

The Coast Guard's predicament of being "stretched to the limit" didn't develop overnight. Years of piecemeal purchases in which the service was forced to buy what it could afford, not necessarily what it needed have left the Coast Guard with a mixed bag of ships, aircraft and other equipment.

Besides that, the equipment faces a "capability gap" the nearly 30-year-old cutters are rapidly becoming obsolete.

Mr. Lehman was right to say that the Coast Guard is losing its edge. Perhaps Congress realizes that fact, too. It is taking a look at the Coast Guard's acquisition programs, and this could prove to be a decisive year for the future of the service.

PHILLIP THOMPSON

Senior fellow

Lexington Institute

Arlington

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide