- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 21, 2000

Protected lands not taken from public

Michelle Malkin is thoroughly confused ("How the West was seized," Commentary, Oct. 17). First, during the second presidential debate, when Texas Gov. George W. Bush accused the Clinton-Gore administration of grabbing land, he used the figure "40 million acres out West." Contrary to what Miss Malkin suggests, that figure does not refer to land set aside as national monuments. Rather, it refers to the remaining parts of our national forests without roads, which the U.S. Forest Service has proposed be kept that way. Because our public forests already contain some 400,000 miles of roads, enough to circle the globe 16 times, and because taxpayers pay for the building of such roads, there is some real logic to the effort to preserve them.

Second, Miss Malkin suggests that lands that become national monuments cannot be used by citizens and states. This simply is not true. These lands already belong to the American people as our national public lands, and most are cared for by the Bureau of Land Management. Making these special places national monuments simply means that all Americans in the future will have the opportunity to enjoy them in their natural condition, much as they are today. What is prohibited on the monument grounds are mining, logging, road building and commercial development. We live in a world where these landscapes are disappearing every day, even in Idaho.

Finally, despite the article's implication, plans to expand Craters of the Moon National Monument have been around for many decades. Idaho's governors, members of past congressional delegations, the state legislature and many local residents and business owners spent the 1980s trying to expand the monument and change its status to a national park. This administration should be applauded for the numerous hours it spent in Idaho talking to every stakeholder and working out countless details to finish protecting this unique landscape.

Our national monuments are the pride of America. Imagine what we might have lost without the foresight of presidents who protected places like the Grand Canyon, the Grand Tetons or Zion National Parks.

LAHSHA JOHNSTON

Idaho Regional Associate

The Wilderness Society

Boise, Idaho

Decent conditions for lab animals is not too much to ask

Debra Saunders' Oct. 13 Commentary article, "Rat-huggers are inhumane to people," criticizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent decision to include rats and mice in the only federal law that offers protection to laboratory animals, was sadly lopsided.

For years, experimenters have sworn up and down that very strict laws protect animals in labs, never bothering to mention that 90 percent of the animals used (rats and mice) were entirely excluded from legal protection. Now that the USDA has finally agreed to do its job as Congress intended when it passed the Animal Welfare Act, mice and rats won't exactly have stretch limos. What does "protected by law" mean when you're an animal in a laboratory? It means your cage must be a certain size, that it must be cleaned according to certain standards, and that experimenters must report the numbers of your species they infect, inject, poison, and kill. The law does not prohibit experimenters from carrying out repetitive, wasteful, or frivolous experiments such as the seemingly never ending cigarette smoking tests still going on at laboratories throughout the country.

Being concerned about the treatment of animals in laboratories does not preclude anyone from being concerned about humans. Some people have hearts big enough to care about all beings who suffer. Ms. Saunders complains that rats in laboratories will now have better treatment than the homeless (not that I've ever read an article by Ms. Saunders about the rights of the homeless). But I'll bet Ms. Saunders would not find many homeless people willing to swap places with a rat in a laboratory.

KATHY GUILLERMO

Writer

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Norfolk, Va.

President's past has bearing on first lady's New York bid

Thank you for having the integrity to publish an editorial regarding Juanita Broaddrick's allegations against President Clinton and her letter to first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton ("Did he rape that woman, Juanita Broaddrick?" Oct. 18). I know this is all unpleasant business, but, given what we know about the president's past behavior toward women, there remain legitimate questions about the veracity of these allegations.

Because Mrs. Clinton is the one running for office, however, her role warrants more probing by the press. Everyone avoids the topic of her husband's failings because they view Mrs. Clinton as one of the victims and don't want to be insensitive. Consider, though, the following facts.

In her Talk magazine interview, Mrs. Clinton admitted she was aware for decades of her husband's cheating. Aware of his exploits with other women, she consistently has chosen to defend him against all charges, even though she knew that many of them likely were true. She has been complicit with efforts to ruin the reputations of his accusers. It is not clear whether she actively planned these attacks, but at a minimum, she has remained silent while the attacks have occurred.

Mrs. Clinton's response to her husband's treatment of women is relevant to her candidacy for the Senate. Yes, she has been victimized by her husband, and yes, couples should remain committed to their marriage and work for a lasting reconciliation. We all feel a mixture of sympathy for her as a victim and confusion regarding the Clintons' marriage.

However, because we know Mrs. Clinton was aware of her husband's cheating, we can legitimately question her credibility as a feminist. Why was her reaction to the accusations by Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, etc. to assume automatically that her husband was innocent and to allow the president's attack dogs to trash these women? Why was she not empathetic to these other victims? Why was she not actively involved in preventing the public trashing of these women?

While Mrs. Clinton likely protects her husband first and foremost because he is her husband, it is not far-fetched to read other motives into her behavior. Given that we know she has political ambitions and that she would have no grounds to run for the Senate without her husband's political power, it is logical that she would try to protect his political position.

When Mr. Clinton was accused by Mrs. Jones, his team publicly attacked her credibility and her dignity. James Carville proclaimed, "That's what you get when you drag a $100 bill through a trailer park." If, as Mrs. Clinton stated in Talk magazine, she was aware of Mr. Clinton's infidelity for many years, why did she allow these types of attacks on a fellow woman who it was certainly possible had been victimized? Mrs. Clinton must explain why people should not question her commitment to civil rights and justice based on her response to these accusations.

BOB TURNER

Seattle

Whose economy?

Allan Ryskind's Oct. 18 Commentary column, "Unearned bragging rights for prosperity," said something I have been trying to articulate for the past five years: The Clinton-Gore administration is not responsible for our booming economy.

President Clinton and his apologists shamelessly snatch credit for the good times at every opportunity. However, whenever I challenge Clinton supporters to tell me how he did it to name just one of Mr. Clinton's policies that helped bring about our economic good times they are unable to reply. That, I think, is far more telling than all the claims the Democratic party can conjure.

TIMOTHY M. SIGGIA

East Hartford, Conn.

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