- The Washington Times - Monday, March 17, 2003

No insanity plea for Smart kidnapper

The creep who engineered the dastardly kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart has been caught, ("Prayers for missing girl answered with a 'miracle,' " Page 1, Thursday). Now, surely the wheels are turning in the minds of criminal defense attorneys who might represent him as to how to enable him to evade responsibility for carrying out an enormous criminal act which derailed and stained indelibly the life of this beautiful young woman. She and her family were put through a nine-month ordeal in hell, which no human being should have to suffer.
Those who would represent the defendant have a head start in their efforts to seek to demonstrate a diminished capacity. Individuals who have been following this gripping story see that this false prophet is a crackpot. He used religion fanatically and twisted it like a pretzel, using it for his evil scheme to bring Miss Smart into his sick world for whatever purpose he wished. He controlled her to the extent that even when she had the opportunity to escape her captors, she elected not to do so.
The kidnapper and tormentor of Elizabeth Smart must not be able to hide behind an insanity defense. Society and our justice system must recognize that despite his obvious lunacy, the defendant is the embodiment of evil. He must be held accountable for the incalculable damage he has done to the Smart family, which will never be the same through his wickedness.
Whether he would be justifiably sentenced to death or to life in prison, we must do everything in our power to ensure that he never again sees the light of day.

OREN M. SPIEGLER
Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

U.S. does not have a U.N. mandate

I would like to respond to Friday's editorial "Before it's too late," which asserted that an American invasion of Iraq would be legal under international law and that the United States "already has a U.N.-sanctioned legal right to commence war on Iraq."
To the contrary, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 is not self-executing, and does not authorize the United States or any other country to launch a war against Iraq. Resolution 1441 gave Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations."
But, it did not say anything about other countries using force against Iraq. The only mention Resolution 1441 made of other countries ("member states" in U.N. lingo), was to request that member states help the inspectors by telling them what we know. As to what would happen if Iraq failed to take advantage of this "final opportunity," the resolution said only that the Security Council would convene immediately upon receipt of the inspectors' reports, "in order to consider the situation." This resolution shows the Security Council's intent to meet again to decide what to do. It is explicitly not self-executing, and does not authorize the use of military force.
The Security Council knows how to authorize force when it wants to. Resolution 678, issued on Nov. 29, 1990, included the following language: "authorizes member states" … "to use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660" (which required Iraq to leave Kuwait) "unless Iraq on or before 15 January 1991 fully implements" previous resolutions requiring it to withdraw from Kuwait.
Resolution 678 was an authorization to go to war. Resolution 1441 is no such thing.
Neither is it correct to say that this country may legally invade Iraq in the exercise of our right of self-defense. Yes, there is a right to preempt an attack, but this right only applies when an attack is so imminent there is no time to get the Security Council to act first. Iraq is not about to attack us. The only reasons we have to view Iraq as a threat are that Iraq invaded Kuwait 12 years ago and that Iraq has dangerous weapons. If this was enough to open the door to starting a war, virtually every country in the world could attack any other country and call it self-defense.
An attack on another country that is not on behalf of the Security Council and is not in self-defense is a violation of the U.N. Charter, a document this country took the lead in creating and that we are legally bound to follow. Attacking Iraq without a Security Council decision authorizing such an attack would put us in the same category as Iraq when it invaded Kuwait. That would be a sad day for America, and a sad day for the world.

STEVEN BEEN
Tallahassee, Fla.

Anti-drug crop eradication

The article "Leader prods U.S. to resume anti-drug flights" (World, Friday) was insightful, but it did not tell the whole story regarding anti-drug crop eradication efforts in the Andean region. The standard critique of crop eradication, often termed the "balloon effect," holds that successful eradication in one country is just compensated for by increased cultivation in adjacent countries. Up until 2001, that critique might have had merit.
The most recent assessment of coca crop cultivation for 2002 shows an overall decline throughout the Andean region of eight percent in one year. That reduction translates into the removal of more than 45,000 acres from coca production and the elimination of about 115 metric tons of pure cocaine.
We are right to be concerned about the potential for future expansion of coca cultivation, particularly in Peru and Bolivia, but at the same time we should acknowledge the genuine progress made by the United States and our allies against the drug trade in the Andes.

BARRY CRANE
Deputy director for supply reduction
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Washington

The military's environmental challenges

We appreciate The Washington Times bringing to the attention of the public the environmental challenges to military training and readiness ("Military seeks exemptions from laws," Nation, Thursday).
In further clarification of the Bush administration's position, the Department of Defense (DOD) seeks narrow adjustments to five environmental laws. These narrow adjustments are designed to codify longstanding bipartisan regulatory policies and practices of this and previous administrations as well as those of virtually every state. These policies and practices are now under attack in lawsuits brought by various private organizations. Such lawsuits threaten military training that is essential to ensure that our servicemen are fully prepared before they enter combat. They also threaten sensible, science-based environmental policies largely put in place under the Clinton administration to ensure that our training does not jeopardize environmental stewardship.
DOD remains fully committed to high-quality environmental stewardship and the protection of natural resources. However, without legislative clarification, DOD will be increasingly forced to restrict or relocate tests and training without corresponding environmental benefit. With legislative clarification, our military will receive more realistic, potentially life-saving training without sacrificing environmental values. It is time for common sense to prevail.

RAYMOND F. DUBOIS
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense
(Installations and Environment)
The Pentagon

Turkeys are dummies

Bruce Friedrich from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) says that turkeys are as intelligent as dogs ("Inside the Beltway," Nation, Tuesday). This is another example of how animal rights activists use the ridiculous strategy of putting human emotions on animals to appeal to the kindness of the public.
A wild turkey is a crafty survivalist. However, a domestic turkey is really a very stupid bird. It does not even have the athleticism to perch on top of the bale of hay that PETA says a turkey in a zoo needs. Domesticated turkeys usually do not live more than six months in a sanctuary because they have not been bred for longevity and die naturally from listlessness.
Oddly, PETA insists that a lone turkey be given chickens for company. As a poultry farmer, I can tell you that different species of fowl should not be kept together. Turkeys carry poultry diseases that they are immune to, but could spread to chickens, which are not immune. The same holds true the other way around.
The fate of presidentially pardoned turkeys, I pray, is not on the list of President Bush's concerns.

DAVID INGERSOLL
Los Fresnos, Texas

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