- The Washington Times - Monday, July 5, 2004

Protecting the wrong people

In the war against terrorism, Israel and the United States have a similar problem, namely their respective supreme courts (“Supreme Court orders move of West Bank wall,” World, Thursday; “War by Queensbury rules?” Commentary, Thursday).

Instead of protecting the victims, both courts have aligned themselves with the perpetrators in efforts to administer evenhanded justice. It is of no concern to either court that its decisions not only will endanger the lives of its citizens, but also may cause irreparable damage. The protection of the murderers of citizens of both nations gives these terrorists the means to continue their wars of attrition.

Israel’s Supreme Court, by modifying the route of the security fence, will leave more than 50,000 Israeli citizens at the mercy of Palestinian terrorist groups — seemingly inviting incursions into unprotected cities and the subsequent slaughter of Israeli civilians, including women and children. The U.S. Supreme Court has rendered our intelligence services impotent.

The blood of innocent citizens of both nations, massacred as a result of these actions by their supreme courts, will be upon these same courts. I hope their justices will be able to sleep at night.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring

Immigration ire

Since when does fulfilling the promise of America include rewarding those who mock our immigration laws?(“Amnesty eyed for illegal aliens,” Nation, Wednesday).

I remember as a small boy hearing that Democrats were for “the working man.”Has this come to mean only those workers who are foreign-born and in the country illegally?

Here’s a thought: How about this country keeping its promise to our own working poor and the lower middle class, whose wages and working conditions continue to decline while the business community gorges itself at the cheap-labor buffet table?

DAVE GORAK

Executive director

Midwest Coalition to Reduce

Immigration

Lombard, Ill.

Maintaining Tennessee’s infrastructure

Friday’s Inside Politics column contained an item (“Pet projects”) about the water and energy bill recently passed by the House, and noted some items of “pork.” Listed as pork was $14 million for the Chickamauga Lock in the district of Rep. Zach Wamp, Tennessee Republican.

The current lock is undersized, deteriorating and in need of replacement. Should the lock fail, transportation on the Tennessee River would come to a halt.

This is hardly pork. It is, instead, a wise use of federal funds to maintain critical infrastructure.

JAMES GRIFFIN

Chattanooga, Tenn.

A smokescreen

One picture is not necessarily worth 1,000 words. Your opinion piece(“Economicissue squeeze,” Commentary, June 28) paints a rosy picture of our nation’s so-called economic recovery. You point to the increase in manufacturing and the Federal Reserve’s quarter-point raise of the interest rate. Don’t be fooled.

In truth, the U.S. debt rose by billions of dollars, mostly because of the cost of the war in Iraq, and it is questionable whether either country is in a positive recovery. In addition, along with other indicators, the jobless rate in America continues to increase. The auto industry still is showing a weak market, and thousands have lost their homes in foreclosures. While most Americans are suffering economically, special interests are raking in huge profits.

Americans must not be blinded by the political smokescreens courtesy of the Bush administration. How can a platform of war spending and tax cuts succeed for any nation? In four years, the current administration has failed the American people and left our children with a legacy of awar initiated on lies.

PETER STERN

Driftwood, Texas

A frayed alliance

Thursday’s editorial “Pakistani conundrums” minces words when it comes to Pakistan’s appalling record on democracy and nuclear proliferation and the shameful way the United States is handling both issues.

The recent forcing out of Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali by President Pervez Musharraf makes a mockery of his claim of bringing democracy back to his nation. InterimPrimeMinister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain told the media that as far as prime-minister-in-waiting Shaukat Aziz goes, he will “get” Mr. Aziz elected, which does not sound like democracy to anyone.

What is appalling is the head-in-the-sand attitude of the U.S. government. In a hearing before the House International Relations Committee on June 22, Christina Rocca, assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, averred that Pakistan was “more democratic” than before — a claim that flies in the face of the facts.

On the nuclear-proliferation issue, the less said the better. After denying the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency access to archproliferator A.Q. Khan, Gen. Musharraf has begun to issue belligerent statements about his country’s nuclear program. While one could understand it if the general had stuck with mere statements, it is alarming to note that he followed it up with tests of long-range nuclear-capable missiles, including the Ghauri, which was bought from North Korea in what many analysts conclude was a barter deal in exchange for Pakistan’s nuclear technology.

It is as if Pakistan is thumbing its nose at the rest of the world by flaunting a North Korean missile when there is a crisis unfolding on the Korean Peninsula. Just last week, Gen. Musharraf boasted of another upcoming “huge” nuclear-capable missile test that supposedly will shock the world. Experts have noted that this could be the Ghauri III missile, also of North Korean origin, which has the range to strike Israel from Pakistan and would put into question Pakistan’s claims of having a minimum nuclear deterrent directed solely against India.

This does not mean that the United States should disengage with Pakistan or try to isolate that troubled nation. Given its geography and instability, an amount of cooperation with Pakistan in the war on terrorism is perhaps inevitable, just as various Cold War alliances with anti-communist dictatorships were sometimes necessary. However, these sorts of alliances should not go beyond the realpolitik-based give-and-take partnership on limited objectives.

America’s mistakes with Pakistan were presuming that a dictator such as Gen. Musharraf could turn into a reformer like Turkey’s Kemal Ataturk and framing policies based on that presumption. Five years of Gen. Musharraf’s rule have shown that despite his tall claims, he is just an opportunist who will promise anything to anyone to keep himself in power.

The United States has to realize that any long-term gains it makes in its efforts to bring liberty and freedom to the Middle East and South Asia by fostering democracy in Iraq are likely to be sucked into the black hole that its flawed alliances, such as the one with Pakistan, have become. It is time for an honest reappraisal.

KAUSHIK KAPISTHALAM

Atlanta

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