- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 27, 2003

'Partisans for tyranny'

It is a sad day when 10 prominent U.S. senators, such as Max Baucus (Montana Democrat) and Pat Roberts (Kansas Republican) brush aside worldwide condemnation of Fidel Castro's crackdown on human rights activists, independent journalists and pro-democracy activists in Cuba ("Bipartisan Senate group says end sanctions," World, Saturday). In effect, they are sending Cuba's dictatorship a clear message: "No matter what you do, you can count on us to seek an end to sanctions."
The Roman Catholic Church, former President Jimmy Carter, a number of Latin American nations and even the French have condemned Mr. Castro's Stalinist move against Cuba's civic movement, but not these 10 senators and their "bipartisan" working group. They may be Democrats and Republicans, but in their silence before this crime against humanity they are partisans for tyranny. Shame on them.

JOHN J. SUAREZ
Miami

U.S. is not a Mideast top 40 pick

Donald Lambro's puff piece on the Broadcasting Board of Governors/International Broadcasting Bureau's (BBG/IBB) Radio Sawa project unfortunately paints an all-too-rosy picture ("Beaming up for Iraq's future," Commentary, March 20).
No government radio that we know of makes its foreign or domestic policy statements on the basis of Top 40 music, and we believe that this experiment should be closely studied and its effectiveness evaluated before it is replicated. Even if the pop-music format of Radio Sawa is wildly popular among Arab youth, as the BBG claims, can pop music really help to illuminate U.S. policy in the Middle East and affect how that policy sits with the Arabic population in the region? It also factors out that most Arab governments are not pluralistic, and that power is in the hands of a very few who are certainly not a part of the aggregate of Arabic youth.
Looking at things from a different perspective, if al Qaeda had a radio station broadcasting Top 40 music to American youth, would that change our view of its actions in the events of September 11, 2001?
Radio Sawa is a poor substitute for a clear voice articulating U.S. policy in the Middle East. There is little substantive programming in the Radio Sawa format, just headline news and a handful of token feature programs. Most importantly, although Radio Sawa has been broadcasting for a year, there has been no significant shift among the Middle East population to a more favorable view of the United States and its policies.
The question is, should the U.S. taxpayer be funding entertainment programs of dubious value while the area seethes with anti-American diatribes in its local media and neglect to try to counteract the mistaken perceptions of the target audience, as the Voice of America has always done? (Radio Sawa is little more than free entertainment provided by the U.S. government at taxpayer expense.) Believing that a pop music station is going to remold the political landscape in the Middle East is pure fantasy.
As to the television plans of BBG/IBB television, $30 million designated for setting up U.S. government TV broadcasts is easily eclipsed by $300 million being invested in the Middle East by local Arab broadcasters. In short, we would be barely a blip on the radar screen of Middle Eastern television, constituting a continual drain on U.S. taxpayers with little gain.
Ironically, one of the most popular songs in the Middle East these days is "The Attack on Iraq," in which an Arab singer rails against U.S. policy regarding Arab and Islamic states. It's not likely to be something heard on Radio Sawa, but it may be closer to the real and raw emotions in the Arabic world.
And therein lies the heart of the Radio Sawa fiasco.

GARY MARCO
President
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Local 1418
Alexandria

TIM SHAMBLE
President
American Federation of Government Employees
Local 1812
Sterling

A real concern about Pakistan's nuclear weapons

Pakistani spokesman Asad Hayauddin's latest riposte ("Pakistan's arsenal," Letters, yesterday) follows the pattern of his previous responses, in that he skillfully bypasses the main issues.
Indeed, Arnaud de Borchgrave's column "Islamist nuke in an uncertain arsenal?" (Commentary, Monday) raises a legitimate scenario: namely, of Pakistan's nuclear weapons falling into the hands of hard-line Islamists. It is known that retired Gen. Hamid Gul, who is reputed to be the chief adviser to Pakistan's Islamist right, wields enormous influence among the pro-Taliban elements within Pakistan, as well as the religious parties that control half of the country today.
Even a cursory scan of Pakistan's media reveals the pathological hatred these elements display toward the Judeo-Christian West and their tendency to see a Jewish conspiracy behind every shadow. In that light, the notion of Pakistan's nuclear weapons being solely India-centric does not hold water.
Mr. Hayauddin's assertions notwithstanding, the concern about the dangers posed by Pakistan's nuclear weapons to the rest of the world, especially Israel and the United States, is truly legitimate.

KAUSHIK KAPISTHALAM
Atlanta

DNA and God

In "DNA pioneers lash out at religion" (World, Monday), British DNA co-discoverer Francis Crick reflects on his landmark work in human genetics and asserts immodestly, "The God hypothesis is rather discredited." Mr. Crick's partner and fellow atheist James Watson, an American, then declares, "Only with the discovery of the double helix and the ensuing genetic revolution have we had grounds for thinking that the powers held traditionally to be the exclusive property of the gods might one day be ours." How odd that one scientist discredits God while his partner claims to be God.
Both scientists seem to have inherited a mutant gene for vanity. Having witnessed firsthand the divine mystery and majesty within our genes, they have missed altogether the author of the evidence. They might as well maintain that reading the works of Shakespeare proves that Shakespeare never existed.
How much wiser is the humble approach of Dr. Francis Collins, a Christian who replaced Mr. Watson to head the Human Genome Project. Dr. Collins describes the human genetic code as a "very large book written in a language that we don't yet understand very well. The interesting and challenging part is figuring out what it all means." Understanding that fallible human beings are far from gods, Dr. Collins has emphasized protecting patients from potential abuses of genetic medicine while advancing toward its disease-conquering potential.
Mr. Watson, who is 74, and Mr. Crick, who is 86, may soon have an opportunity to test their hypotheses about who is God. Hopefully, each will exchange arrogance for grace before his helix of hubris unravels.

JONATHAN IMBODY
Senior policy analyst
Christian Medical Association, Washington Bureau
Springfield



The very nature of DNA is powerful evidence for the existence of God because DNA cannot come into existence by chance. True, the individual nucleic acids that make up DNA can come into existence by chance, but what cannot happen by chance is for those individual nucleic acids to come together in a precise sequence, just like the letters in a sentence, to form the genetic code of a particular species. Imagine a monkey typing a dictionary by randomly pressing the keys on a computer keyboard and you'll get some idea of the probability of DNA coming into being by chance.
The mere laws of physics and chemistry left to themselves can never produce DNA. It takes an already existing DNA code to harness and direct the laws of physics and chemistry to form additional DNA. It's not by chance, folks. That's why they call the artificial manipulation of DNA "genetic engineering."

BABU G. RANGANATHAN
Farmington, Conn.

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