- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 25, 2000

Peace process favors Israel


Julian Schvindlerman's Nov. 21 Op-Ed column, "Oslo's collapse," is an exercise in sheer fantasy disguised as fact. To state that Yasser Arafat started the violence in September is nothing but fanciful conjecture. The violence followed the visit of Likud leader Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount, or Haram Ash Sharif, after 10 years of a stagnant peace process that delivered little to an embittered Palestinian people.
The peace process has been dealt numerous wounds over the years by Israel's continued settlement-building, confiscation of Palestinian land and strangulation of the Palestinian economy. The Palestinians' hopes for a better future have been dashed. There has been a 30 percent reduction in their earning power since 1993. Mr. Schvindlerman's column seems to ignore Palestinian suffering. To quote Israeli casualties without quoting Palestinian figures is an astonishing piece of irresponsible journalism especially because many more Palestinians have died and been wounded.
What Mr. Clinton offered Mr. Arafat at Camp David was not a magnanimous Israeli offer but a repackaging of occupation. To state that Mr. Arafat should have made a counteroffer at Camp David is absurd given the numerous positions and proposals Palestinians said they could accept.
Many of the Israeli peace advocates are the same people who participated in governments that used torture, detained people without trial, used collective punishments and imposed curfews on Palestinians after an Israeli settler massacre in 1994 in Hebron. There are Israelis who struggle for justice and fair treatment of the Palestinians, true members of the peace camp, people who would be outraged by the sentiments expressed by Mr. Schvindlerman.
CHRIS DOYLE
Senior press officer
Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding
London
www.caabu.org

Clinton Vietnam display a disgrace


In response to Wesley Pruden's "The useful loathing of America's sons," (Nov. 21): three times in 1966, 1968 and 1972 my military duties required me to leave my wife and kids behind and follow the flag to Southeast Asia. Three times, I was absent during my children's formative years. Three times, I was not there to share their pains or joys. Three times, my dear wife was called upon to be both mother and father to our six children. Three times, by God's mercy, I came safely home to find my family well.
Three times, friends and comrades in arms poured out their lives' blood on the battlegrounds of Southeast Asia. Some of my dearest friends died far from home in a strange land, fighting in a war that was not our own.
More than 58,000 American men and women died in that undeclared war. Only God knows how many others endured hardships and suffering unimaginable to any who were not there. Millions of American families were touched by that war and many still bear the scars of their anguish of some many years past.
While Americans were enduring the hardships and sufferings of war and separation, William Jefferson Clinton was enjoying the good life in the United Kingdom and giving aid and comfort to the very forces our brave fighting men were battling in the jungles and swamps of Southeast Asia.
It is an understatement to say that Mr. Clinton is undeserving of the title Commander-in-Chief.
Thank you, Mr. Pruden, for your timely reminder of just who is running America and the price Americans pay as a consequence.
RON LOEFFLER
San Antonio, Texas

The other side of Pennsylvania Avenue


Despite the fuss over the Florida ballots, which is much ado about nothing, the real decision about who will live in the big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue was made last spring or even earlier when the power brokers and big-money men anointed Al Gore and George W. Bush as the nominees of the two major parties. We were given a choice of one from column A, one from column B or no dinner at the White House.
The "alternative" candidates were shut out of the debates and ignored by the press (except to be called "spoilers"). They had little chance to get their messages before the public because they were drowned out by the shrill electronic voices of the omnipresent ads for our two fortunate sons, Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush. We had little chance to hear the alternative party nominees or the issues for which they stand.
Whatever you may think of their views, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, Libertarian Harry Browne, Reform Party nominee Pat Buchanan, Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin, Taxpayer Party nominee Howard Phillips and perennial candidate Lyndon LaRouche are men of principle. They have important issues to bring to the table. They have the right to run for president, a right to be heard. And you have the right to know their views, and to discuss and debate the issues facing our nation.
How often and how deeply did Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush discuss our precious freedoms, the national debt, the loss of jobs to foreign countries, urban gang violence and crack sales, the trade deficit, peace with justice, the death penalty, AIDS, drug-money laundering, deregulation of federal agencies, equal rights for all citizens, the inflated cost of pharmaceuticals, universal health care, tax reform or marijuana legalization? There are a host of other issues on which both major parties agree or which they choose to ignore.
We may have differing opinions on these issues, but they need to be part of our national dialogue. We deserve to know where our next president stands on these issues and why.
Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush are both nice gentlemen. It would be pleasant to know them socially. However, I doubt that I'll be strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue to attend White House cocktail parties anytime soon.
What are truly important are the candidates' views on issues that affect us and their honesty and competence in administering the laws.
Modern political campaigns are being run by media consultants, lawyers and fund-raisers. The high cost of these professional campaigns especially TV advertising has raised the ante so high that only millionaires can get in the game. There is a growing chasm between the candidates of the two major parties and the average citizen. Many folks rightly feel they are being left out of the process, except to be manipulated by slick advertising.
On Nov. 5, as I drove up to our nation's capital city from Raleigh, N.C., to attend the big Ralph Nader rally, I was rear-ended by a hit-and-run driver. I was shaken and sore, and my Camry was mangled, so I stayed a few extra days to rest and wait for the verdict on car repairs.
On Election Day, I walked past the White House and talked to a lady on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue a lady who has been protesting for peace for 20 years in Lafayette Park. I wonder if Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush understand why someone would devote 20 years to witnessing for peace? Maybe our next president should trade places with this dedicated woman for a while to see what life is like on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue.
GARY J. MINTER
Raleigh, N.C.

Florida sham


After the Florida Supreme Court made its decision Tuesday night to allow manual recounts in the presidential election, the chief justice stated "the real interests here are the voters."
Then how can he allow these subjective hand recounts to continue in these three Democrat-dominated counties? Is his interest in all the voters, or just those in these predominantly Democratic counties where Vice President Al Gore most assuredly will pick up more votes than Texas Gov. George W. Bush?
Partisan politics in the Florida Supreme Court. How embarrassing, and yet completely expected.
GLEN SMITH
Dallas

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