- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Stem-cell notes

Your July 24 story "Pope implores Bush to ban stem-cell use" is misleading. Nowhere in the article is the crucial distinction drawn between embryonic and adult stem cells. The pope and the Catholic Church only oppose the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research; they fully support research using adult cells. As a Catholic, I urge you to accurately portray the church's position in the future.

TOM KOPET
Colorado Springs



Must stem cells for research come from aborted fetuses? How about the thousands of placentas that are discarded every day from normal, full-term births? If someone had offered to freeze and save half of my son's placental blood (for his use) in exchange for the other half to be used in research, I would have been more than willing to agree.

BARRY FIZER
Ravenna, Ky.

India shouldn't be faulted for legacy of British Empire

Sol Sanders' Commentary column on India reflected a deep sense of loss the loss of the jewel in the British Empire's crown, as India was known before independence ("Bumper-sticker policy shift?" July 22). One gets the feeling that the real reason for his column was to announce that India would have done much better under the rule of the tyrannical British Empire. He suggests that the "simple benefits of drinking water and basic amenities" would have been easier to get had the people of India not demanded freedom. His efforts to undermine the importance of leaders such as Mohandas Gandhi are downright insulting.
The 50-year-old issue of Kashmir, and many other issues Mr. Sanders brings up, are the legacy of his British masters. Religious intolerance and India's relations with neighboring states are direct results of border disputes dating to the day the Britishers left India. None of Mr. Sanders' criticisms are reason for the United States to forgo the relationship it is developing with India.

AMBRISH VARMA
Raleigh, N.C.

Questioning Sinn Fein's goodwill

Your attack on Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams in the July 22 editorial "Ulster's virtual peace partner" is unjustified. No one has worked harder for the peace process. Further, Mr. Adams and Sinn Fein have lived up to every commitment made in the Good Friday Agreement and since.
The agreement requires Sinn Fein and all other political parties to work in good faith for the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons. Sinn Fein has done so. As of three years ago, the position of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was that there would be no decommissioning. Since then, the IRA has agreed to meet with the decommissioning commission, has done so on several occasions and continues to engage with it. Indeed, the IRA even has allowed inspections of arms dumps, unthinkable three years ago.
In May 2000, the IRA publicly agreed that decommissioning must be part of the overall peace process and agreed to put its weapons verifiably beyond use in the context of the overall implementation of the agreement. However, the agreement has not been implemented, most especially in the areas of policing and demilitarization by the British Army. Nevertheless, Sinn Fein is determined to work in good faith to implement the agreement in full, including decommissioning.
Your editorial expresses the notion that David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, has made some significant concession by allowing the Protestant-dominated police force to become bipartisan. This only further reveals an editorial bias when it comes to the Irish peace process. A fair and balanced police force is the right of all in our society and not the concession of a political party.

RITA O'HARE
Sinn Fein representative to the United States
Washington

Who watches The Hague's watchmen?

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's reign may have been unsavory and unsuccessful, but I question whether he should be tried before the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal.
First, the tribunal is nothing if not political. A majority of the judges are from countries who were Mr. Milosevic's enemies during NATO's assault on Kosovo. The tribunal notoriously refused to indict former Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, whose war crimes were far worse than those of Mr. Milosevic but who was needed as a bulwark against him and was thus too useful to indict. And when Mr. Milosevic was indicted, the chief prosecutor who secured his indictment was promptly given her dream job the only seat on the Supreme Court of Canada open to an Ontario resident that was likely to be available during her professional lifetime.
Second, the tribunal has little of what we would term due process. There are no juries, merely judges who have asked to serve in The Hague and are thus predisposed to the prosecution. An acquittal may be reversed on appeal. There are no plea bargains, no bail no mean consideration in cases in which the trial may not begin for a year or more after arrest. Hearsay evidence is permitted, and prosecution witnesses may testify anonymously, depriving the defendant of the right of confrontation fundamental to our own system.
Rather than support such an unfair system, we should have left Mr. Milosevic to be prosecuted by his own people. That would have been far more just, especially considering that any conviction in The Hague will be subject to claims of "victor's justice."

GARY M. GREENBAUM
Fairfax

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