- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 5, 2000

'Land for peace' will only make war in Middle East

Now that it appears rocks and bullets have shattered any hope for peace in the Middle East, perhaps we ought to step back from the crisis and critically analyze why the forgone conclusion to exchange land for peace will guarantee the destruction of Israel.

David Wurmser ("Middle East war: How did it get to this?", Nov. 1) affords Americans a peek into how U.S. and Israeli pacifism has contributed to the escalation of tensions in that region. He adroitly lays out why this enduring crisis is exacerbated by idealists who continuously acquiesce to Arab demands for land. These same pacifists sincerely believe, although history suggests otherwise, Arabs will peacefully coexist alongside their Israeli neighbors if their demands for land are met. This naivete will have a devastating effect on viability of the state of Israel for two reasons.

First, Muslims will not rest until the destruction of Israel is realized. Destroying Israel was a familiar refrain from Muslims until they began to realize the negative impact such rhetoric would have on a land-grab peace agreement. Their silence does not imply a change of heart it simply means they are smart enough to let Israeli pacifists unwittingly do their bidding for them.

Second, from a national security perspective, handing over land to the Arabs will simply accelerate Israel's demise. Adversaries occupying the Golan and West Bank would control the battlefield and maintain a significant strategic advantage. Sitting atop the Golan, the Syrians would have the ability to control the Jordan River and destroy the Hula Valley. The Jordan is Israel's primary source of water, and it irrigates the Hula Valley, a fertile agricultural area producing much of Israel's fruits and vegetables. Controlling the Golan and the expansive West Bank would allow Arab forces to accurately hit major urban areas like Haifa and Tel Aviv and would make the state of Israel only nine miles wide at its narrowest. Dividing one's enemy is a basic military strategy that dates back to pre-modern times and is the penultimate step to ultimate victory.

Moreover, internal Israeli discord is a help to the Arabs, and with increasing numbers of Israelis recognizing the folly of giving up hard-fought-for land, they are becoming less willing to leave their homes in areas claimed by the Palestinians. The consequence is Israeli-on-Israeli violence as soldiers forcibly move Israelis out of their homes in the West Bank. An Israeli general officer once told me that once Israelis started fighting amongst themselves, it would not be long before Israel began to implode.

Israel must step away from the "peace" process and see it for what it is: the Palestinians trying to destroy her.

KEITH HUTCHESON

Vienna

Right to bear arms is for ordinary people

Vickie King's letter to the editor "Second Amendment protects state militias, not personal ownership" (Nov. 2) beautifully put into words the stance of Handgun Control Inc. In response, I did a little research of my own into relevant Supreme Court decisions. The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action is a wonderful source that provided me with this gem:

"In United States vs. Verdugo-Urquirdez, a Fourth Amendment case, the Supreme Court interpreted the meaning of the term the people in the Bill of Rights. The court stated that the term "the people" in the Second Amendment had the same meaning as in the Preamble to the Constitution and in the First, Fourth, and Ninth amendments. In other words, the term "the people" means at least all citizens and legal aliens in the United States. This case thus makes clear that the Second Amendment is an individual right that applies to individual law-abiding Americans."

All constitutional arguments aside, it needs to be pointed out that though those of Ms. King's ilk claimed conceal and carry permits would result in the OK Corral all over again, in every place the permits have been made available to the general public, crime has gone down.

CHARLES PHILLIPS

Dumfries

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It has been said that people who know and understand the facts vote Republican. After reading Vicki King's letter to the editor, I can understand why she is not voting for Texas Gov. George W. Bush ("Second Amendment protects state militias, not personal ownership," Nov. 2). Being fairly well-read on the subject, I immediately noticed several serious errors in her letter.

When the Constitution was written, the militia was made up of ordinary citizens. Thus, the right to keep and bear arms was meant for we the people. As time went on, the National Guard became a separate entity controlled by the government. The word "militia" is still defined today as consisting of ordinary, law-abiding citizens. The militia is defined similarly under federal law (10 USC, Section 311; 32 USC, Section 313).

Further, in the Supreme Court ruling Perpich vs. the Department of Defense, 1990, the National Guard is described as the "organized element" of the militia. It is under absolute federal control. The intent of the Bill of Rights was to limit the power of the government. Thus, giving the federally controlled National Guard the power to bear arms certainly was not the founders' intent. Two good sources on this subject are "The Second Amendment Primer" by Les Adams and the NRA Fact Card.

Concerning children being killed with guns: This is a myth. Most of these deaths are murders resulting from drug and gang activity. The press de-emphasizes this important fact. Gun laws do not affect murderers. Such laws only have an impact on law-abiding citizens. Instead of outlawing guns, we must enforce existing criminal laws.

Concerning trigger locks and similar measures intended to reduce accidents, it still takes a responsible person to activate such devices. Can we legislate this responsibility? I don't think so. The fact is, accidental gun deaths occur less frequently than deaths due to drowning, choking on food and falling. The National Safety Council provides further data supporting this. We can reduce gun accidents through education, coupled with responsibility, not more laws.

People around the world flock to America because of our freedom and prosperity. Our prosperity, however, would not exist without our freedom. History proves that freedom is in danger without an armed citizenry.

The Constitution protects the right to bear arms. It is our patriotic duty to learn the facts and prevent the systematic erosion of our founding document.

FRED SEBLY

Mt. Airy, Md.

Space should be frontier for private industry as well as government

Most recent press coverage of the historic occupancy of the International Space Station fails to address a relevant elections issue: how the government's operation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has hurt capitalism.

The federally funded space station is costing tens of billions of dollars more than NASA initially promised, and its annual operating costs will be at least 30 times higher than that of the essentially privatized international space station Mir. The latter is actually superior in many respects, even though it does not directly drain away American tax dollars and thereby add to our $5.6 trillion national debt. Ironically, though, Mir must now struggle to attract capital while competing against a bloated and self-perpetuating U.S. federal government bureaucracy that hypocritically pretends to be a benign friend of private industry.

The space stations issue may be somewhat debatable, perhaps, but there are many other examples that are not. Indeed, space entrepreneurs (especially Andrew Beal) would likely jump at the chance to secretively confirm that NASA regularly and opportunistically competes against the more economical private sector, from which it could instead outsource. As a former NASA headquarters employee who disapprovingly resigned months ago, I increasingly look forward to voting this Nov. 7 every time I discover yet another NASA crime against capitalism.

RICH ROBINS

Washington

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