- The Washington Times - Friday, May 12, 2000

Readers float opposition to women on submarines

The advocates of coed crews aboard submarines have no idea of the hardships that already exist for the families of submariners. Family separations are long, and there is little communication while the submarine is deployed. Submariners may spend more time at sea than at home. Now the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) advises further increasing the pressure on Navy families by adding women to submarine crews.

Navy wives are advised to keep their mouths shut so they do not damage their husbands' careers, and the men are ordered not to protest. That is why little is heard from those who will suffer most from this policy.

DACOWITS points to the successful integration of women on surface ships as a model for submarines. It is easy to appear successful when anything other than total approval for the policy has been suppressed. Coed ships have plenty of problems, but no one is allowed to talk about them.

Sen. Olympia J. Snowe should speak to the wives of men who serve on coed crews before she decides this is a policy that benefits all women ("Senator to fight ban on women in subs," May 8). Isn't it time to listen to the voices that have been suppressed for so long, or is no one in Washington interested in the truth?

BONNIE GARRISON

Salem, Mo.

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Regarding the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) recommendation to assign female officers on ballistic-missile submarines, I hope the Navy will just say no.

This committee apparently thinks nothing of impairing the operational capability of our missile boats, all in the name of gender equality. I pray enough naval officers are in place who are willing to resign if necessary to halt the further erosion of the Navy's war-fighting capabilities.

Subs are no place to pursue social experimentation to appease feminists. Some of these feminists are the same people calling for a reduction in the defense budget despite the fact that retrofitting the submarines to which women would be assigned would cost millions of dollars. DACOWITS my foot; seems more like NITWITS.

JOSEPH C. FENRICK JR.

Capitol Heights

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I read in America's Newspaper that the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) has recommended that the submarine career field be opened to women. DACOWITS has 36 members, 31 of whom are women. The probability of 31 out of 36 people chosen at random being women is minuscule. In other words, you can be almost certain that a committee for which gender is a qualification is recommending that gender not be a qualification for submariners. Help me figure out whether that is simply political correctness or flat-out hypocrisy.

KEITH HOWARD

Albuquerque, N.M.

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In light of its recommendation to assign female officers to ballistic-missile submarines, I suggest that the name of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) be changed to Ladies Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (LAC-O-WITS). This name would be more in keeping with the reduced military capability and increased cost that would result from the adoption of this recommendation.

WILLIAM H. HOLDEN

Falls Church

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The Defense Department has done it again. Now it is going to kowtow to the feminists and put women on submarines. Feminists should be made to sit through the movie "Das Boot" and then decide if our ladies are ready for sexual integration on subs. Will there ever again be a time when the country is thought of first?

BILL ROUCHELL

River Ridge, La.

Environmental assessment the path to a continued Hawaiian paradise

Hawaii's attractive environment is the foundation of its tourism economy, making the environmental assessment process an essential state policy. Readers would be challenged to draw that conclusion from your article describing the Sierra Club's legal efforts to disclose the impacts of mass tourism in Hawaii ("Environmentalists sue, saying tourist influx may be harmful," May 2),

In Hawaii, industrial tourism growth is not as benign as it may seem. Seven million visitors descend on Hawaii annually, straining the state's limited freshwater supplies, producing trash and waste water, trampling the islands coral reefs and natural areas and inducing pressure to develop the remaining unspoiled areas of the state. All of these conditions will only worsen with more visitors. There may be ways for the state to lessen these impacts, but ignorance-based planning is not one of them.

Visitors come to Hawaii seeking undeveloped coastlines, wild rain forests and pristine beaches. Too much growth jeopardizes these natural resources, and, therefore the long-term health of the tourism industry. How much is too much? That is what an environmental assessment will help determine. A proper environmental review, which should take months, not years as Jim Santini suggests in the article, will also clarify where expansion should and should not occur, as well as how to mitigate some impacts of growth.

Tourism will always be part of Hawaii's economic portfolio. An environmental assessment, as the law requires, will ensure that Hawaii chooses what is the best for the long-term economic and environmental health of paradise.

JEFFREY MIKULINA

Director, Hawaii chapter

Sierra Club

Honolulu

Fighting drought the highest priority in Ethiopia

I was appalled to read "Drought response a study in contrast on Horn of Africa" (World, May 4), which contains misleading information and erroneous conclusions about drought and war in our region.

The drought and the welfare of our people are my government's highest priority. The Ethiopian government is working closely with the donor countries and nongovernmental organizations in an effort to save lives. Thus far, the results of this joint effort are encouraging. We will continue to do our best to help our people.

It is a matter of public record and common sense that the drought that is ravaging the entire region is caused by a lack of sufficient rainfall over the past three years. This situation has resulted in the current drought that affects the entire Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea. Ethiopia's situation is particularly dire because of its size and the severity of the drought in certain parts of the country. To compare Ethiopia's experience with Eritrea's is misleading. In terms of magnitude, there is no comparison. Eritrea's size (approximately that of Pennsylvania) and population (3.5 million) is not comparable to that of Ethiopia, which is nearly twice the size of Texas and has almost 60 million people.

Moreover, the charges you aimed at the international community, notably the U.N. special envoy, are astonishing. The article quotes unnamed sources that criticize international efforts to feed starving children because that "could aid the war effort." These same unnamed sources attempt to link the drought with politics. This is simply inhumane. As Ronald Reagan said, "A hungry child knows no politics."

Finally, your article fails to mention all of Eritrea's cynical actions with regard to drought relief. In 1998, Eritrea stole 73,000 metric tons of food assistance destined for Ethiopia from its ports in Assab and Massawa (45,000 metric tons of this assistance was U.S. government property.). This humanitarian assistance was never returned to the Ethiopian people, its rightful recipient.

Since its independence seven years ago, Eritrea has invaded all of its neighbors: Ethiopia is only the latest victim. Although Ethiopia has demonstrated its willingness to resolve its conflict with Eritrea peacefully, Eritrea's continued intransigence has thus far made peace elusive.

BERHANE GEBRE-CHRISTOS

Ambassador

Embassy of Ethiopia

Washington

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