- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 3, 2001

Disabled vets deserve Mall memorial

As national adjutant of the Disabled American Veterans, I speak for our million-plus members when I say that we are outraged by the attitude of those opposed to a national memorial honoring the service and sacrifice of disabled veterans being placed on the Mall ("Mall memorial for disabled veterans denied," Jan. 17). How can the National Capital Memorial Commission claim that this memorial would not have "pre-eminent historic and national significance" or highlight cornerstones of democracy?

The long-overdue memorial will honor the men and women who, through their sacrifices, have guaranteed our rights as a free and democratic society. It will honor those who have given America so much more than was ever asked of their fellow citizens when they answered our country's call.

Throughout our nation's history, America's men and women have paid a dear price for freedom: limbs lost on far-off battlefields, shattered lives, life-long disabilities. Are we now to believe that they did not alter the course of history?

Today, there are 13 American veterans still living who were disabled in the 1916 war on the Mexican border..

There are 779 living disabled veterans who suffered from the gas attacks and barrages of World War I.

Nearly 798,000 veterans who were disabled during World War II continue their service to America as part of what NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw has called "America's greatest generation."

Nearly 273,000 Americans disabled during the Korean War are commemorating the 50th anniversary of that conflict.

Contributing to making our nation great are 815,000 disabled veterans who served during the Vietnam War.

Another 231,000 veterans disabled during the Persian Gulf war will be part of the American landscape far into the 21st century, as well the 39 men and women maimed in the attack on the USS Cole.

The disabled veterans memorial will be symbolic of the soul and spirit of America. It will stand in reverence of the millions of men and women who continue to suffer the hardships and sacrifices of war. It will inspire future generations of Americans to recognize the power and virtue of sacrifice and to remember those who have defended our land in war and peace.

Burned deep within the memories of disabled veterans are the horrors and brutality of war. They pay the price of freedom every day for a lifetime.

If the service and sacrifice of disabled veterans have not guaranteed and protected the precious freedoms that are the very cornerstones of our great nation, I don't know what has.

If what these men and women have accomplished during time of war and suffered long after the guns have fallen silent cannot be considered of pre-eminent historical and national significance, I shake my head in dismay and shame.

ARTHUR H. WILSON

National Adjutant

Disabled American Veterans

Washington

Hillary story stoops too low

In regards to your front-page story "Hillary reverses Cinderella story" (Feb. 2), I have spent way too much energy despising Hillary Clinton, a person whose acquaintance I've never made, and I must confess I am tempted to snicker at every little thing she does wrong. However, I noticed that your paper and other conservative publications were quick to point out the double standard of feminists who vilified Linda Tripp, Kathleen Harris, and other high-profile Republican women because of their appearance. I don't think Mrs. Clinton's return to her former "frumpy" facade is worthy of front page attention from a paper which aspires to world-wide credibility, unless you are vying for a spot in the supermarket check out lanes. Your dislike for the Clintons is understandable, but keep a perspective on things, please.

KATHLEEN REITZ

Rockville, Md.

Tax cuts better way to help faith-based charities

To those who voted for President Bush thinking he would make government smaller in size and scope, think again. His religious-based charity plan will incorporate billions of tax dollars into myriad new social programs. These social programs are doing quite well without any government assistance now. However, soon they will become the battleground for liberals and conservatives to bicker about which organizations help controversial groups such as gays, unwed mothers and homeless people.

Mr. Bush should revert to doing what he does best. He should return the billions of tax dollars he plans to earmark for charities to the people via tax cuts. Let the people in the communities decide which charities, religious or nonreligious, they think are in the best interests of their community.

The people of America are charitable. The government, however, should get out of the charity business and allow the American people to act on their generosity.

MICHAEL DOBAK

Edgewater, Md.

Farming with sewage sludge safer than organic methods

I agree with Bonner R. Cohen that the Environmental Protection Agency is a regulatory agency out of control ("Blinded by science," Jan. 26). Mr. Cohen is wrong on one key point, however. The use of Class B sewage sludge as fertilizer on crops is actually far safer for consumers (and neighbors) than organic farming.

Far from being pathogen-laden,the Class B sludge is treated far more intensively than organic compost, and then tested, lot-by-lot, to ensure no pathogens live. In addition, a farmer must wait 12 months to 36 months after applying it before he can harvest a food crop.

Organic farmers, by contrast, shift piles of compost around with a tractor loader for a few weeks and then spread it on food crops. Often, the compost includes cattle manure, the major reservoir of the deadly new bacterium E. coli O157:H7; 0157 can kill even healthy people, and it leaves many of its survivors with permanent damage to internal organs.

The Agriculture Department's new organic food standards only recommend that the organic growers voluntarily use raw manure on food crops no closer than 120 days to harvest.

Both sewage sludge and cattle manure are important assets if handled appropriately and would be huge disposal problems if we refuse to use them constructively.

Carol Browner, who ran the EPA in the Clinton administration, seemed to think that manure was safe because it was natural. Deadly bacteria, however, are natural as well.

If EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman moves the safety requirements for organic farmers' use of manure closer to the requirements for Class B sewage sludge, public health will be better served.

DR. RICHARD HALPERN

Center for Global Food Issues

Churchville, Va.

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