- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2000

'O, Canada' brief is oh, so wrong

The June 5 Inside Politics item "O, Canada," is a complete misrepresentation of what the ambassador said.

In his remarks to Canadian government executives in Ottawa on May 31, Raymond Chretien, Canadian ambassador to the United States, expressed no preference for any presidential candidate. What he was doing, as every diplomat does, was to interpret the impact of U.S. political events on Canadian interests.

In the course of doing so, Mr. Chretien pointed out areas in which each candidate's platform coincided with or differed from Canadian objectives, but he concluded these remarks with a clear statement that Canada would have no difficulty working with either candidate.

RODNEY MOORE

Press counselor and spokesman

Canadian Embassy

Washington

Mall is the perfect place for World War II memorial

As youths, they endured the hardships of the Great Depression. As young men and women, their lives were forever altered by a war that threatened to change the course of human history. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers spilled their blood on foreign lands in World War II for the cause of democracy. And now when it comes time to honor the World War II soldier and every other individual who contributed to the war effort, a movement is afoot to deny them their rightful place for a memorial.

I cannot think of a place more appropriate for perpetuating the legacy of the World War II generation than next to memorials for presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. There will never be another battle like World War II. It was a defining moment for America when an entire nation was engaged in the pursuit of victory. While men were sacrificing their lives on the field of battle, the rest of the nation was working around-the-clock to assemble a powerful war machine.

Without question, the Mall is sacred ground. It pays tribute to the individuals and events that have profoundly shaped the course of our nation. (It also is the site of many softball games, marches, rallies and concerts.)

A World War II monument located in direct line with the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument would, in essence, create a visual for the three most important time periods in our nation's history.

BILL WEBB

Vienna

Leave the Social Security fund alone

I disagree with Donald Lambro's column "Social Security scare tactics" (Commentary, June 1). In my career, I have put about $50,000 into Social Security. At age 62, I started receiving $1,139 per month. I will receive this amount, plus increases, for the rest of my life. The interest on my money will be determined by the length of my life, not by Mr. Lambro's 2 percent formula.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush is telling folks that they would be able to choose which stocks they would be "allowed" to bet. Mr. Lambro is telling them they can choose from the 500 most successful companies on which to bet. What Mr. Bush and Mr. Lambro both are saying is that business people and politicians, the know-it-alls, will decide where the money should be placed.

Has Mr. Lambro looked to see how the blue-chip stocks have been failing during the past year? Has he seen how many know-it-alls have lost other people's money on Internet stocks? Remember the savings and loan ventures? How about the day traders; the people who are eager to bet their Social Security money?

It was people in the business community who first told folks that federal bonds were a poor investment. Does Mr. Lambro understand that the federal government has to collect more taxes each times it acquires more debt?

Yes, when we buy federal bonds the federal government acquires more debt. Who does Mr. Lambro think pays the taxes on the interest earned from the loan to the government? Like reading, it is "fundamental." U.S. bonds are a shell game that give politicians more money to waste.

Vice President Al Gore is right: Leave the Social Security fund alone. It has worked for 65 years, and even the critics say it is safe for another 37 years.

If Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore were serious about retirement for the American people, they would fight to increase the Roth individual retirement account annual contribution to $10,000 per year or fight to get rid of taxes on those who are 65 and older. City, county, state and federal taxes are what are destroying the buying power of those of us on a fixed income.

LOUIS A. DEFREITAS SR.

Mitchelville, Md.

Redeeming slaves will continue until peace or the West shows interest

The May 25 article about redeeming slaves in Sudan is a poorly researched and botched slam that may tragically deter people from rescuing women and children in dire, brutal circumstances ("Anti-slavery drive in war-torn Sudan provokes response," World). The Washington Times says the truth behind slavery in Sudan is "hard to pin down," yet your reporter interviewed only the critics of slave redemption and, The Washington Times claims, female slaves who said they "willingly married their captors." The Times spoke to none of the slaves who have been redeemed who express quite a different view of forced "marriage." Their testimonies are found at www.anti-slavery.com.

The debate on redemption is complex, but one needs at least to get the basic facts right. The Times made several factual errors:

• The campaign against slavery in Sudan did not begin with the Baltimore Sun in 1996, but in 1994, when Macram Max Gassis, the bishop of the areas raided by slaves, came to New York City to appeal for help in buying the freedom of women and children from his dioceses.

• The Baltimore Sun did not get a Pulitzer Prize for its 1996 report, though it should have.

• Money raised by the schoolchildren in Colorado was given to Christian Solidarity International (CSI), the only group that 40 village elders and the bishop authorize to redeem slaves. The money was not given to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a group that has done mischief. The Times uses the problems caused by CSW to tarnish the entire redemption effort led by CSI.

• U.S. sanctions were not applied to Sudan because children wrote to the president about slavery but because Sudan supports terrorism against the West.

• The American Anti-Slavery Group does not and never has raised funds for CSW.

• Jim Jacobson broke from CSI, not CSW.

• CSW did not say, "What is intolerable is to leave these women and children in the hands of captors." CSI's chief redeemer, John Eibner, did.

• The American Anti-Slavery Group does not maintain that the present government started the slave problem, only that it employs slave raids on a massive scale to further what it calls its "holy war."

Had The Times researched the issue, you would know that when enslaved African boys reach late puberty, they often have their throats slit lest they become dangerous adult males. Freeing enslaved boys, therefore, can be a matter of life and death. Though none of the "slaves" The Times interviewed had been branded, there are several photos of branded child slaves on our Web site, which you are welcome to view. Finally, for The Times to repeat Khartoum's propaganda that slavery exists today because Arabs and Africans traditionally enslaved each other is beneath contempt. Let The Times show the world an Arab slave owned by an African in Sudan.

Redeeming slaves is not the solution to slavery in Sudan. It has, however, taken more than 30,000 women and children out of the hands of monsters. Slavery will end when peace comes to Sudan or when the West ceases to ignore the genocide there, which has taken 2 million lives, and decides to help protect African villages from pogroms. Until that time, we will not leave women and children to suffer in bondage.

CHARLES JACOBS

President

American Anti-Slavery Group

Boston

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