- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 8, 2003

Misfired eulogy of Israeli astronaut

It was oddly disjointed how Mona Charen's column, "One nation … hails Columbia" (Commentary, Thursday), went from praising and honoring American nationhood for encompassing "a continent of different ethnic, religious and racial groups" right into fully sympathizing with Israel, which is a place where the non-Jewish segment of the population has been fiercely discriminated against for generations.

We simply do not know what was in Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon's heart in outer space when he gazed at the drawing "Moon Landscape," which was made by a young boy whose life and promise were cruelly usurped by the Nazis, who imprisoned so many innocent men, women and children in concentration camps.

Yet, Holocaust relics and stories have been used for pro-Israel propaganda for years, as Israel is ever eager to hijack the sick brutality of Adolf Hitler and his henchmen to justify and expand Israel's racist war on the Palestinians.

There is always the chance that Israel's "war hero" abandoned his country's racist notions as he lifted off from Earth and broke free from our atmosphere. Perhaps he found his recent years of study in the United States where full and equal rights and opportunities for all are assured by just laws rewarding and enlightening. Perhaps Holocaust victim Petr Ginz's drawing "Moon Landscape" reminded him of all the rubble and ruin wrought by Israel's racist war and of all the Palestinian children trapped in impoverished ghettos in the Holy Land.

Perhaps, as he gazed down at the fragile orb called Earth, he fully understood that no child anywhere should be discriminated against because of his race or religion, and that every child deserves a future full of possibility … and peace.


ANNE SELDEN ANNAB

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Who's afraid of dolls?

We don't know whether to be amused or angry at your article, "Fetus dolls outrage Senate Democrats" (Metropolitan, Thursday). In this scientific age of 3-D ultrasounds and Web sites that clearly depict the marvels of the development of a human baby, it is hard to believe that Virginia lawmakers such as Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw of Fairfax County and Sen. Leslie L. Byrne, Fairfax County Democrat, are so uninformed as to be repulsed by a fetal model. What is even more disturbing is their apparent intent to remain uninformed and spread their ignorance.

The fetal model is an accurate representation of a fetus at 10 weeks to 12 weeks of gestation. At that age, all of the vital organs and body parts are fully developed. The fetal model is shown in books, videos and scientific and medical materials, including materials used to educate pregnant women about their pregnancies provided by the Virginia Health Department. There is nothing repulsive or shocking about it.

Perhaps their outrage is not directed at the scientific fetal model, but at the fact that the model represents the very age at which most abortions are performed. Perhaps hiding behind the pro-choice rhetoric of "fetal tissue," "blob of tissue" or "nonviable" life has enabled them to escape taking a hard look at what abortion really is.

Or is it a willful ignorance that keeps our society from seeing the obvious that abortion is the killing of small human beings? Even small children in strollers seeing these fetal models displayed at pregnancy help center tables at county fairs instinctively say "baby" and reach for it. They are charmed, not repulsed. Perhaps, like the little boy who could tell the emperor had no clothes, children can see the truth that confounds adults.

It's time these outraged Democrats and their fellow pro-abortion advocates came out of their oh-so-sensitive closets and learned the facts. Not only have 44 million small babies been sacrificed in this country for the political "right" to abortion, but abortion has not been a good "choice" for the thousands of women who suffer physical, emotional and spiritual damage as a result of their abortions.

A recent study of the effects of abortion, whose target audience is obstetricians/gynecologists and family physicians, concluded that induced abortion increased the risk of subsequent preterm delivery (premature birth or low birth weight), depression and even maternal suicide. (Source: "Long-Term Physical and Psychological Health Consequences of Induced Abortion: Review of the Evidence" by Dr. John M. Thorpe Jr. and Dr. Katherine E. Hartmann of the University of North Carolina, and Dr. Elizabeth Shadigan of the University of Michigan. Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey, Vol. 58, No. 1.)

Mr. Saslaw and Miss Byrne will be voting on such vital issues as partial-birth abortion and parental notification when a minor is seeking an abortion. This is not a time for squeamishness, but a time to face the facts and ensure that every woman who seeks an abortion and the parents of every minor who seeks an abortion are fully informed. Choice without knowledge is no choice at all.


LINDA PERRY

Annandale

CARRIE CLAYTON

Alexandria

A shuttle is not a car

The analogy that Paul Craig Roberts attempts to draw in "A drastic need to improve" (Commentary, yesterday) between driving a 22-year-old car across country and flying a space shuttle of the same age into orbit is flawed from the beginning.

The Space Shuttle Columbia, before this week's disaster, had completed barely a quarter of the 100 flights it was designed to endure. Furthermore, with consideration given to a host of improvements made over the past two decades including external tank upgrades, solid rocket redesign, landing gear reinforcement, updating of flight-control computers and navigational equipment, as well as several safety advancements the Columbia that lifted off on Jan. 16 was hardly the same vehicle that had made its maiden voyage April 12, 1981.

On another point, with regard to AIDS funding in Africa, Mr. Roberts' comments were limited to the treatment aspect of the program. He chose to ignore what might be considered the most important aspects of dealing with this disease: education of the uninfected and the care of the millions of innocent children bystanders affected by the epidemic.

Mr. Roberts stated, "It is insanity to make U.S. taxpayers responsible for other people's sexual behavior." If we are to follow this line of thinking, there should be no funding for the treatment of heart disease or lung cancer. After all, why should U.S. taxpayers be responsible for the results of other people's bad eating habits or nicotine addictions?


RYAN S. GERASIMOWICZ

Fairfax

For reader, this Perle doesn't shine

Richard Perle's ridiculous statement that France is no longer an ally of the United States is part of a larger pattern of irresponsible behavior on his part ("Top Pentagon adviser says France no longer U.S. ally," Nation, Wednesday).

Previously, Mr. Perle brought in Laurent Murawiec of the Rand Corp. to brief the Pentagon's Policy Advisory Board on relations with Saudi Arabia. Mr. Murawiec proposed declaring Saudi Arabia an enemy and suggested that our government invade Saudi Arabia and occupy its oil fields.

Mr. Perle must be removed from his position as chairman of the Policy Advisory Board. He was not elected by the American people, nor does he reflect the views of a majority of us.

Furthermore, Mr. Perle's behavior poses a threat to America's image and interests abroad. He should be left to express his ridiculous views as an individual without any affiliation with the Bush administration.


ARIF RAFIQ

Greenvale, N.Y.

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