- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2003

GOP ignores inconvenient facts

Paul Craig Roberts' column noting that the Republican Party is headed for political obscurity because of its support for mass immigration is not new ("GOP's last hurrah?" Sunday, Commentary), but it bears repeating because the GOP leadership continues to ignore the warning signs of its own demise.
At every level of the party faithful there is self-denial. During a September speaking engagement before a luncheon hosted by a group of Republican women formed to support Rep. Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican, I saw a lot of disbelieving faces when I mentioned that the GOP's decline is one of the casualties of our porous borders policy. In response, I heard such out-of-touch remarks as, "I don't care how many immigrants come here as long as they learn to speak English," and, "Immigrants share the same values we do: a strong family unit and a willingness to work hard."
Evidently, nobody in that room seemed to appreciate that the majority of today's immigrants come from Third World nations and bring with them, in most cases, a genuine dislike for Western culture.
These women were not pleased when I told them that during a "town meeting" in 2000 called to discuss environmental issues, Mr. Kirk's hypocrisy was apparent when he said he would not support reduced immigration levels. The glare from many in my audience reflected the tone of several phone calls I received prior to the luncheon asking that I refrain from being "too critical" of Mr. Kirk's sorry voting record on immigration.

DAVE GORAK
Executive director
Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration
Lombard, Ill.

On the space shuttle disaster

On Saturday, seven people were tragically killed. I'm not talking about the shuttle's re-entry accident, but of the teenaged skiers who were killed in an avalanche in western Canada. Clearly, skiing is dangerous, but far more people benefit from the enjoyment than are killed in avalanches.
So too, the benefits of manned space flight far outweigh the risks. To be human is to engage in danger. Of all the species on Earth, only humans explore, and the astronauts are our modern-day explorers. But those astronauts who died in the re-entry accident all likely shared one extremely dangerous activity with the news commentators, the politicians, the pundits and the talking heads who've eulogized them: each morning they got in their cars and drove to work.
There are few things that humans do that are more dangerous than driving automobiles, yet we do it without recriminations, without hype, without demanding that cars not be driven. No one would think of not using automobiles because of the risk. And the reason for this is that one weighs risks against benefits. The risk of driving is clearly outweighed by the benefit.
Yet, there is a far greater tragedy abroad in the land today than the deaths of the astronauts. That tragedy concerns those pundits and politicians who are starting the drumbeat to ground the shuttle and stop manned space flight. In their timidity, they pose a threat to the adventurous spirit of man.

JOHN STEELE
Miami



The article "It was a week of anniversaries for two other NASA disasters" (Nation, Sunday) states: "Before the Challenger accident, the only U.S. space-related deaths occurred on Jan. 27, 1967 … during a rehearsal launch for the Apollo 1 mission." Actually, this is not the case.
Over twenty years ago, another fatal accident occurred aboard a spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center before the Challenger and after Apollo I: the March 19, 1981 asphyxiation of four workers in a space shuttle compartment, two of whom died as a result.
Thus, the article should have read: "Before the Challenger accident, the only U.S. space-related "astronaut" deaths occurred on Jan. 27, …"

KERRY TATLOW
Rockford, Ill.

Saddam's Iraq is not Nazi Germany

I'm a big fan of Thomas Sowell, but his latest column ("Disarmament ditherers," Saturday, Commentary) is not up to snuff. When he equates failing to invade Iraq with appeasing Adolf Hitler, he's right on the facts, but wrong on the comparison. It was wrong to appease Hitler. But the mistake was made by the Europeans. Hitler was their neighbor, not ours. Iraq, located 8,000 miles away, should not be our responsibility, either.
Furthermore, Mr. Sowell ignores important differences between 2003 Iraq and World War II-era Germany. In the 1930s, America was not the most powerful nation in the world, able to project its force at will. Germany, on the other hand, was an economic-military powerhouse. By contrast, Iraq has been split into three zones for a dozen years, two of which American and British fighters patrol ceaselessly, and its military is one-third its 1991 strength. Iraq is an economic basket case zipped up in a military straitjacket. Unlike Germany, whose U-boats were sinking ships within sight of America's coastline, Iraq cannot project force. Maybe that is why none of its neighbors wants war.
Concerning weapons of mass destruction (WMD), it's time we faced facts. If the United States wants to protect nations, there are only two ways to do it. We could sell them arms so they can deter their enemies from attacking them, just like we and every other possessor of nuclear arms have done. Or the United States can station troops around the world and fight foreign wars. The first way is the free-trading, prudent, peaceful path that would have been supported by the Founding Fathers. The second is called imperialism. Sadly, America long ago turned toward the latter. Invading Iraq because we're smarting from a terrorist attack and need a country to destroy will only speed our transformation to a far-flung empire with a police-state "homeland."
This strategy didn't work for the Greeks, Romans, British or Germans, and it won't work for us. With all due respect to Mr. Sowell, that's the history we should be learning from.

THOMAS H. DESABLA
Silver Spring

'Playing loose' with Gulf War-related death stats

In his Saturday Commentary column, "Soldiers beware," David Hackworth rightly admonishes the Justice Department and the Bush administration for the broken promise of lifetime medical care for veterans of World War II and Korea. As evidence of further government duplicity, he states that almost 10,000 Gulf war veterans have died from Desert Storm-related illnesses, although the government denies the link between their service and their illnesses.
While I am sympathetic to the plight of my fellow Gulf war veterans, I think it strains credulity for Mr. Hackworth to state unequivocally that there is an accurate number of deceased vets whose deaths are undeniably attributable to any or all of the factors he describes as a combination of Iraqi chemicals and "killer cocktails."
Mr. Hackworth is a highly decorated combat veteran. As such, he should not play so fast and loose with the facts, especially when he uses the bully pulpit of his column to address the serious issue of medical benefits for America's war veterans.

MAJ. BROOKS D. TUCKER
U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)
Annapolis

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide