- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Questions for Pakistan

I commend Arnaud de Borchgrave (“Real terror culprit,” Commentary, Monday) for talking about the pink elephant in the room with the September 11 commission, namely, the role Pakistan’s spooks played in facilitating the September 11 attacks.

Even if one were to discount the secret report from Pakistan that Mr. Borchgrave quotes, the September 11 commission report itself reads like an indictment of Pakistan’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). To be specific, the September 11 panel report says that Pakistan was the nation that held the key to Osama bin Laden’s ability to use Afghanistan as a base to revive his ambitious enterprise for war against the United States.

It is unlikely that bin Laden could have returned to Afghanistan from Sudan had Pakistan disapproved. The ISI had advance knowledge of his coming, and its officers may have facilitated his travel.

Pakistani intelligence officers reportedly introduced bin Laden to Taliban leaders. CIA Director George Tenet concluded that the 1998 cruise missile strikes missed bin Laden by a few hours. Officials in Washington speculated that a Pakistani official might have sent a warning to bin Laden. Bin Laden relied on the established hawala networks operating in Pakistan.

The September 11 report noted that even radical regimes such as Khartoum and the Taliban sporadically attempted to rein in bin Laden when placed under international pressure, while Pakistan did not make any efforts to impede al Qaeda.

Indeed, if one reads the report dispassionately and sees page after page laying out ISI’s ties to al Qaeda, the question “What did the ISI know about September 11 and when did it know it?” would not seem unreasonable.

It is also worthwhile to note that the commission report said that Pakistan is the first country named by American and foreign government officials when asked: “If you were a terrorist leader today, where would you locate your base?” Recent arrests of top al Qaeda figures from large Pakistani cities confirm that the country still remains a refuge for terrorists.

It is strange to see the American media and lawmakers trip over themselves to look for morsels of evidence linking Iran and Iraq to September 11, but are silent on the role of Pakistan.

One would hope that a full accounting of ISI’s role in the attacks would happen someday. The truth is still out there.

KAUSHIK KAPISTHALAM

Atlanta

Calling all Bush supporters

Regarding your article “White evangelicals flocking to GOP” by Ralph Z. Hallow (Nation, July 27), and noting that Christians make up the biggest percentage of Bush supporters, I have found some information from the Federal Election Commission showing why these Bush supporters must not assume a win and stay away from the polls on election day.

In the 2000 presidential election, of the 30 states won by Mr. Bush, 16 had above the national average turnout of “all qualified” voters, 14 below (53.3 percent). Only eight out of his 30 states had turnout of “registered” voters above the national average of registered voters (26 percent).

The 21 states that went for Al Gore had 15 with above average turnout of “all qualified” voters, only 6 below (71.4 percent). Eleven out of the 21 Gore states had turnout of “registered” voters above the national average of registered voters (52.3 percent).

In addition, Mr. Bush’s highest turnout in a “similarly populated” state (Missouri) was 11.3 percent less than Mr. Gore’s (Minnesota, with the highest turnout in the nation).

Because of these statistics, I believe there were far too many Bush supporters that did not vote in 2000 for one reason or another. Because of the closeness of the 2000 election, this must not happen again.

CHARLES BAUMGARDNER

Franklin, Ind.

What’s the Sudan solution?

Nat Hentoff’s article, “Pure evil in Sudan” (Op-Ed, Monday), points out the humanitarian crisis faced by black Africans in the Darfur region of Sudan.

On the one hand, international diplomatic pressure on the government of Sudan may not be enough to solve this crisis. On the other hand, U.N. sanctions, as shown by previous cases such as Iraq, have mixed results, and it may be difficult to get all permanent Security Council members to agree on imposing sanctions.

I propose a different solution. The United Nations should take responsibility for collecting and disbursing all oil revenues, and a significant portion of the costs of humanitarian relief, and security for Darfur refugees provided by international peacekeepers should be deducted from the oil revenues of the Sudanese government.

According to the agreement between the government of Sudan (representing the largely Arab Muslim north) and the largely animist and Christian southern Sudan, each is entitled to 50 percent of oil revenues.

It is in the self-interest of all directly and indirectly related parties in Sudan to support U.N. control of the disbursement of oil revenues. The government would have the monetary incentive to rein in the Janjaweed militia.

The animist and Christian south would also have reliable access to its share of the oil revenues.

Darfur refugees would have greater access to humanitarian aid, and the Sudanese government would have monetary incentives to resettle them.

When the Sudanese government can provide international observers reliable evidence that the Janjaweed militia has beendisbanded,Darfur refugees resettled, and a regional police force controlled by the Darfur region established, then U.N. control of oil-revenue disbursement can end.

ARUN KHANNA

Visiting professor

College of Business Administration

Butler University

Indianapolis

Nat Hentoff’s condemnation of global inaction on the genocide taking place in Sudan raises the question of why Sen. John Kerry has been strangely silent about the failure of the multilateralism he espouses to deal with the slaughter of innocents by the Arab Islamist dictatorship in Khartoum.

He pandered to the NAACP last month, saying, “[T]he people of Darfur must understand that America stands prepared to act in concert with our allies and the U.N. to prevent the loss of innocent lives.” Prepared to act? Mr. Kerry wants us to do nothing without U.N. involvement but does not say what we should do if the United Nations does nothing. In this case, people die. The United Nations is literally talking people to death.

And just what, pray tell, is the United Nations doing? Why, it’s electing Sudan, an Islamist state specializing in slavery and the ethnic cleansing of African blacks, to a seat on the Commission on Human Rights.

Where are the African members of the United Nations? According to The Washington Post, the Security Council’s three African members — Angola, Algeria and Benin — opposed action against Sudan as interference in a sovereign state’s internal affairs.

Once again, the United Nations disgraces itself, as it did in 1994 when it failed to act to stop the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans and in running the corrupt Oil for Food Program, which allowed Saddam Hussein to build palaces while filling mass graves with innocent Iraqis.

Two Security Council members with veto power, Russia and China, have financial interests to protect. A Russian company has a $200 million deal to sell fighter jets to Sudan, and China holds the concession to the oil fields in Darfur. Blood for oil, anyone?

Should we act pre-emptively and unilaterally, as we are charged with doing in Iraq? Where are the grandstanding politicians such as Mr. Kerry who demand U.N. involvement in Iraq but ignore its silence on the genocide in Sudan?

DANIEL SOBIESKI

Chicago

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