- The Washington Times - Monday, July 2, 2001

Some remedies are too costly

My family and I are unlikely opponents of stem cell research involving human embryos. My father was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia in 1998 at the age of 56. No one wants to find a cure more than we do. It would be wrong, however, to kill human embryos to give Dad a better chance at life. God will not bless our country if we take innocent human life.

Dad is doing very well on a trial drug called Gleevec, and we are hopeful about his prognosis. But if we had to choose to save Dad's life by killing a human embryo, our family would have to say no. We would not do something immoral even to save someone we love so much. Let's use all the medical technology we have to cure diseases, without taking the life of unborn humans who cannot give consent.


LORI VIARS

Lebanon, Ohio

When did protecting the flag become un-American?

In his June 25 Op-Ed article "Freedom to burn shows freedom to live," Nat Hentoff asks "do we really want" to "emulate countries" such as Iran, China or Cuba by legally prohibiting the desecration of the American flag? But let us consider for a moment that in 1988, during the administration of President Ronald Reagan, 49 states and the federal government had laws on the books prohibiting flag desecration. These laws were declared unconstitutional in 1989 in a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned 200 years of common law (and common sense) jurisprudence. Does anyone believe that America before 1989 Ronald Reagan's America, Jimmy Carter's America or Gerald Ford's America was comparable to nations such as Iran, China or Cuba, nations lacking freedom of speech, simply because the legal definition of "free speech" at that time (and, indeed, throughout all of American history prior to 1989) did not extend to the burning of our flag?


JOHN FONTE

Senior Fellow

Hudson Institute

Washington

Columnist wrongly convicts prosecutors

In his June 28 Commentary column "Fixing what ails the FBI," Paul Craig Roberts states that "Today, the criminal justice system is driven by career and budget needs. Closing cases and gaining convictions have become more important than getting the right man, and it is often easier to frame the innocent than to find and convict the guilty."

As a prosecuting attorney, I find this statement to be outrageous, irresponsible and libelous to the many thousands of hard-working state and local prosecutors and district attorneys, as well as the United States attorneys and their assistants throughout the country. Mr. Roberts cites examples of problems at the FBI, but proceeds, in an incredible leap of logic, to paint a picture of the entire criminal justice system as corrupt, ineffective or both.

In practically every jurisdiction, there is an ethical consideration for prosecutors similar to the one to which we abide in Ohio, which states: "The responsibility of a public prosecutor differs from that of the usual advocate; his duty is to seek justice, not merely to convict." Mr. Roberts' suggestion to the contrary is an insult to those of us in the profession who seek to maintain the highest ethical standards.

The U.S. Supreme Court adopted the "harmless error" rule in order to prevent the miscarriage of justice if a guilty verdict is correct but some error occurred during the trial which could have been committed by the prosecution, defense or the trial judge. Mr. Roberts' conclusion that "wrongful convictions are on the rise" is his mere assertion, and no more valid than an assertion that "wrongful acquittals are on the rise."

Whatever problems exist within the FBI, they cannot be solved in the manner Mr. Roberts suggests.


DAVID L. LANDEFELD

Lancaster, Ohio

Making the world safe from the United Nations

Declaring one's town a U.N.-free zone or a nuclear-free zone is about as effective as swallowing anti-earthquake pills ("Two Utah towns consider 'U.N.-free zones,'" Nation, June 27).

Yet the good citizens of Utah have a point. Several U.N. agencies have indeed attempted "to get involved in too much of our lives." The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was an example. When its bloated Paris office started to promote anti-American assaults under the guise of spreading culture, the Reagan administration was right to pull out.

More recently, several U.N.-sponsored conferences have advocated ideas and policies that conflict with democratic and Judeo-Christian values.

At the same time, it must be said that both extreme opponents and extreme supporters of controversial U.N. activities make the same mistake they take the United Nations too seriously.

At best and at worst, the political United Nations, i.e., the Security Council and General Assembly, is a marginal factor in world politics. The great issues of war, peace and tyranny are determined by the behavior of sovereign states. The United Nations, for example, had nothing to do with preventing a nuclear confrontation during the Cold War, nor with ending it. These achievements flowed largely from wise U.S. policies that induced restraint on the Soviet side.

Likewise, the nonpolitical United Nations that cluster of U.N. social and environmental agencies with their mixed records have had only a marginal impact in world affairs. Their words lack authority. At best and at worst, the United Nations is little more than a shaky conference of states with diverse interests and visions of their responsibilities.

But, as the mayor of La Verkin, Utah, has reminded us, we should be attentive to the arrogance of U.N. bureaucrats who feel compelled to meddle in our internal affairs.


ERNEST W. LEFEVER

Chevy Chase




As world leaders leave the special U.N. session on HIV-AIDS, they should consider diverting at least some of recently pledged monies to support the citizens in two remote Utah towns who are working to pass "U.N.-free zones" ("Two Utah towns consider 'U.N.-free zones'," Nation, June 27). The majority of people in these towns firmly believe that the United Nations only brings them harm. The proposed law would also mandate the marking of homes of any pro-U.N. locals. The town of Virgin has even passed a law "requiring" that each head of household own a gun. While there are obvious constitutional issues related to such independent actions, it is important to focus on the benefits of supporting their campaign.

First, the vast majority of Americans clearly understand the benefits of successful U.N. efforts to control the global spread of infectious diseases, weapons of mass destruction, international crime, toxic pollutants and the problematic consequences of genocide and war. By assisting these remote towns in clearly identifying their anti-U.N. sentiment, future U.N. efforts could save both money and lives. Why should Americans and others who freely chose to work for the United Nations be forced into serving these heavily armed, thought-free zones? The lives of American tourists would also be protected by clearly alerting the occasional unwary driver who may try to pass through La Verkin or Virgin while sporting a pro-U.N. bumper sticker.

In the long run, U.N. disease control and eradication efforts could consistently bypass these towns and greatly assist Mother Nature in the unpleasant job of thinning the human gene pool. It will be far better for all Americans and the rest of humanity if the laws of nature are allowed to rapidly sentence those who are incapable or unwilling to think and act intelligently and responsibly.


CHUCK WOOLERY

Rockville

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