- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 24, 2000

Should an apology be made for slavery?

Regarding current efforts in Congress to have the government apologize to blacks in America for slavery: If an apology will help heal the scars of slavery that apparently linger in the minds of our black countrymen, and consequently improve the racial climate, I feel such a gesture is well worth it.

However, I strongly oppose any other form of reparation which has been proposed in the past and probably will be again. Whatever the obligation incurred by America for the institution of slavery, it was discharged in full with the blood of our youth, shed on the battlefields of the Civil War.

T.J. TURPIN

Falls Church

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Here we go again with another feel-good proposal that will accomplish nothing. I refer to "Democrat to renew slavery apology call" (June 19), in which Rep. Tony P. Hall, an Ohio Democrat, calls on Congress to apologize to black Americans for slavery. Mr. Hall should know the only appropriate person to make an apology for acts committed is the person who committed the acts. If your next-door neighbor does something against you, how meaningful is it for the neighbor six houses away to apologize for the acts of your next-door neighbor?

No matter how terrible I think slavery was, an apology from me is meaningless because I was not there and did not participate in slavery. How much longer are the race and vote hustlers going to keep perpetuating an issue that I think most people, blacks included, would prefer to see put behind us? I find it difficult to imagine that black Americans would gain any comfort from an apology for slavery from people not involved in slavery, and I disagree with Mr. Hall's assertion that this resolution "will move the United States closer to racial understanding." To how many other groups are we going to be asked to apologize for misdeeds of the past?

If Mr. Hall wants Congress to make a meaningful apology, how about having all those involved apologize to the American people for keeping in power what has to be the most corrupt, incompetent, arrogant and embarrassing administration in the history of our great country? The opportunity existed to do the right thing for the country, but not enough members of Congress had the integrity to do it. As usual, politics interfered with what was right.

BILL SQUIRES

Gambrills, Md.

Clinton's 'guidance' helps the Chinese

The June 21 article "China news office to overlook Pentagon," sadly depicts, once again, the extensiveness of the Communist Chinese infiltration of America's national security complexes during the Clinton administration.

Unfortunately, during roughly the past eight years, the United States, under the guidance of President Clinton, has undone numerous safeguards and security clearances that protected vital American military and technological secrets.

With a lack of judgment and foresight, Mr. Clinton signed in 1996 an executive order stripping the departments of state and defense of their authority to review export licensing of advanced technology, leaving the final approval of possible weapons and satellite sales to a nonsecurity-oriented Department of Commerce.

Therefore, the recent military/ dual-use technology sold by U.S. defense contractors such as Loral Space & Communications, Motorola and Hughes Electronics are a norm for the current administration.

Mr. Clinton even personally arranged for the chief executive officer of Loral and Gen. Shen Rong-Jun, deputy chief of China's Commission on Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND) to meet regarding high-tech transactions.

Gen. Shen and COSTIND, China's CIA counterpart, have historically been known to infiltrate major U.S. defense contractors and obtain U.S. secrets through Chinese scientists/agents.

The recent occurrences of China spying on U.S. agencies such as the Department of Energy, and now the apparent infiltration of the Pentagon through a Chinese Communist proxy news bureau while the administration sits by, are a mere continuation of a Clinton administration that is soft on China while jeopardizing the national security and future welfare of the United States.

STEVEN KATZ

Senior research assistant

National Defense Council Foundation

Alexandria

Pro and con concerning 'Taxation' license plate

The June 15 editorial "The tyranny of tags" notes only some of the irony of the District's desire to put "Taxation Without Representation" on its license plates.

The city thought of the license plate motto because it lacks the power to impose taxation without representation on nonresidents in the form of a commuter tax. The city happily imposes other taxes aimed primarily at those incapable of voting on how moneys are raised or spent. Washington has a high hotel occupancy tax, paid primarily by nonresidents. Those owning but not living in residential property in the District are taxed at a higher rate than "homesteaders," whose votes might affect such matters.

When it comes to persons ineligible to vote in the District, the city wants to tax them as much as possible while crying taxation without representation.

Part of the problem, of course, is that our Founding Fathers' cry is universally ignored, and not just by the District.

Other cities and states have commuter taxes, higher property taxes for nonresidents, exorbitant hotel taxes and so on. Indeed, if a state, city or county tried to allow nonresident property taxpayers to vote to allow them representation in exchange for their taxation the effort probably would be successfully challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, as, of course, would be any effort to deny voting/ representation rights to nontaxpayers.

Tying representation to taxation is unconstitutional. So, that leaders and residents of the District prefer to tax most heavily those denied representation on the D.C. Council does not set them apart from other Americans.

The District, however, is even threatening court action to get a commuter tax. So, if we ever see "Taxation Without Representation" on D.C. license plates, we should view this as the District's goal, not a cry of protest.

PATRICK G. HALPERIN

Alexandria

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I am amazed at how those who live elsewhere cavalierly dismiss the rights of D.C. residents with a flip of the hand, as if we are an irritating nuisance that crops up now and then. But your smug editorial "The tyranny of tags," regarding the proposed license plate, was beyond the pale. I found its condescending and threatening tone revolting.

I am one of those "garden variety rabble-rousers" who "whine frequently that D.C. citizens pay federal taxes without political representation." I'm "in cahoots with [those] diehards." I have lived in the District for more than half a century, and I have never had the civil rights of voting for a senator or congressman.

When I first came to the District, I couldn't even vote for president. I am not part of a federal enclave; I am not a government official or military person temporarily posted in the District, free to vote in my home state; I am not a tourist. I live here, work here and raised my family here. It is home. It is where I want to live.

I would proudly display on my car the "silly" license plate with "Taxation Without Representation" on it. It is not "political gimmickry" to me.

When I was 6-years-old, I learned that a revolution had been fought over those words. I have a feeling my thousands of fellow D.C. residents share my feelings.

Let the message go forth all across America. Let it sink in. It took a long time for blacks and women to get the vote. It would certainly be nice if Washingtonians could vote like other Americans, too.

MAE SCANLAN

Washington

Borderline support

Sen. Judd Gregg is right on target in proposing that we provide more support for the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Border Patrol to stop illegal aliens and drugs from coming across the border ("Protect the U.S. border," Op-Ed, June 22).

Bounties of up to $10,000 for killing Border Patrol agents are offered by Mexican activits, and the agents are outgunned by the criminals. We have no right to shortchange these brave men who put their lives on the line every day.

BYRON SLATER

San Diego

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