- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2004

Absurd assertions

Dwight Sunada’s Monday letter, “Taiwan and Beijing,” echoes the propaganda Beijing has disseminated around the world for years against Taiwan. His assertion that retired Taiwanese military officers are willing to betray their country to Beijing overlooks the fact that outside of a few isolated cases, the vast majority do not reveal Taiwan’s military secrets to China. Those who do are prosecuted.

Mr. Sunada’s claim that Taiwan doesn’t do enough to defend itself against the 500-plus missiles pointed at it from across the strait ignores the fact that this year the Taiwanese government has earmarked $18.25 billion in additional funds to buy advanced defensive weapons from the United States to counter this threat.

Mr. Sunada continues with the absurd assertion that U.S.-Taiwanese economic ties come at the expense of the increased trade between Taiwan and China. In the first quarter of this year, U.S.-Taiwanese trade increased by 14.7 percent to a total of $12.9 billion, making Taiwan America’s eighth-largest trading partner. Taiwan businessmen who venture across the Taiwan Strait do so for their own personal gain, not to aid China. In fact, these businessmen act as a shield for Taiwan by making Beijing think twice about biting the hand that feeds it.

Finally, Mr. Sunada calls on the United States to rescind the Taiwan Relations Act and terminate all relations with Taiwan. Such actions would be extremely counterproductive to U.S. interests in East Asia. In addition to close economic relations and a valuable partnership in the war against terror, the United States and Taiwan share a common strategic interest in helping democratic values flourish in an area that sees some of the world’s most horrific human rights abuses. Taiwan is a valuable friend, and we would do well to continue supporting its struggle to safeguard its democratic values.

ANDREW KERSLAKE

Seattle

D.C. enrollment figures

Thursday’s Page One article “Head counts at D.C. schools differ by 3,446” incorrectly stated that there is a discrepancy of 3,446 students between the District of Columbia Public Schools’ reported enrollment and the audited enrollment figure.

The numbers used to arrive at this figure are not comparable. In fact, the independent audit, which was conducted by Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio and Associates, verified the enrollment of 99 percent of the students reported by the public school system.

The reporter consulted with the State Education Office about the general audit procedures, but he did not consult with us about how these figures are interpreted. The public school system’s reported enrollment of 65,099 is not comparable with the audited figure of 61,653 because the latter does not include special-needs students who are enrolled outside of the school system but whose tuition is paid by the system. When these students are included, the audited figure is 64,248 students.

The number of discrepancies between the reported and audited enrollments has decreased each year since the 2001-02 school year. This decrease is a result of a high degree of collaboration among the State Education Office, the public school system and chartering authorities to plan and implement the audit. The decrease shows that the audit is working and that the public school system is constantly improving its methods for counting students and maintaining accurate records.

DEBORAH GIST

Interim director

State Education Office

Washington

Kerry’s heresy

The filing of a heresy charge against Sen. John Kerry based on his long-standing and obstinate support of abortion (“Kerry cited in Catholic heresy case,” Nation, Thursday), has provided Archbishop Sean O’Malley with an opportunity to revise his archdiocese’s policy to comport with canon law and show that neither Mr. Kerry’s political status nor his wife’s vast wealth put them above canon law.

The catechism of the Catholic Church defines heresy as “the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith.” That surely includes the truth that abortion must be opposed with maximum determination. As Pope John Paul II explained in his 1988 Apostolic Exhortation: “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and condition to all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

Mr. Kerry — baptized Catholic, former altar boy and presumptive Democrat presidential candidate — is supporting even partial-birth abortion, calling abortion a woman’s right instead of a wrong and vowing to keep abortion legal. At the dinner hosted by NARAL Pro-Choice America (formerly, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, Mr. Kerry proudly and passionately proclaimed, “We are not going to turn back the clock. There is no overturning of Roe v. Wade. There is no packing of courts with judges who will be hostile to choice.”

Of course, Mr. Kerry shamelessly wants to have it both ways: to be NARAL’s champion and a practicing Catholic presenting himself to receive Communion as though he is in a state of grace and in full communion with the church and therefore fit to receive. He should be declared a heretic and refused Communion until he repents.

MICHAEL J. GAYNOR

Greenlawn, N.Y. This bill would allow states to include FAST lanes on interstate highways. These lanes would charge their own tolls for admission, would finance new road construction controlled by the states, and would die once their road-building mission is completed. We also have supported HR 3113, the Transportation Empowerment Act by Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican. This bill would allow individual states to assume collection of the federal gas taxes and spend those revenues on transportation priorities of their own choosing. Finally, we have recommended that the president veto any transportation authorization bill that exceeds his spending limit.

Taken together, the FAST Act and the Transportation Empowerment Act would give states the flexibility they need to improve and modernize transportation. It also would save billions of dollars for taxpayers and shield road money from loony projects such as bike paths and transportation museums.

GROVER NORQUIST

President

Americans for Tax Reform

Washington

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