- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Stop developing WMD

Frank Gaffney Jr.’s column “Empty words” (Commentary, Tuesday) supported funding research (but not deployment) of a new nuclear weapon designed as a super “bunker buster.” Regardless of your posture regarding pre-emption or the war on terrorism, there is no scenario in which an American president would choose to drop a nuclear weapon in a non-nuclear exchange.

The concept of mutual assured destruction is not applicable (or palatable) in the war on terror. Why waste the money on research, suffer the public-relations opprobrium and risk proliferation of yet another weapon of mass destruction for no strategic advantage? I don’t get it.

JONATHAN REESE

Hingham, Mass.

Bush and Reagan, defenders of freedom

To Diana West’s assertion that “Ronald Reagan believed the United States could transform communism through freedom’s triumph” (“Defying fanaticism,” Op-Ed, Friday), one must add that President Bush’s doctrine of pre-emption in defense of freedom is as much a virtue.

Many parallels are being drawn between the Reagan and Bush policies, but what seem to be largely ignored are the salient similarities of mutual trust in God, love of country and an unshakable belief that whenever — and wherever — evil exists, it must be destroyed to safeguard America’s freedom.

As Mr. Bush reminded us in his eulogy of Ronald Reagan, “When he saw evil camped across the horizon, he called that evil by name” — an obvious reference to Mr. Reagan’s bold definition of the Soviet Union as the “evil empire,” the root of communism. Similarly, Mr. Bush defined America’s enemies as the “axis of evil,” the root from which tyranny grows.

“He was optimistic that liberty would thrive wherever it was planted, and he acted to defend liberty wherever it was threatened,” Mr. Bush also told us in his eulogy. Reared in this same belief himself, he, too, acted in defense of our sovereignty and freedom.

CARIN SALA

Palm Beach, Fla.

Nuclear nightmares

Yesterday’s editorial “Iran’s mushrooming threat” is a clear analysis of the uncertainty the West has displayed toward Iran’s nuclear plans.

In Iran, economic, social and political life is paralyzed by the fundamentalist rule of the mullahs. So far, the mullahs have succeeded in bringing economic recession, isolation and instability to the region, a factor of concern for the West. President Mohammed Khatami, although democratically elected, has little influence over the mullahs’ decision to further develop the nuclear capability of the country. The mullahs’ message to the United States and the West is clear: Stay out of our business or else.

The United States is seen as the great evil by the religious ruling class, most especially because of the intervention in Iraq, American policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the hegemonic ambitions the United States seems to have in the Middle East. Therefore, Iran is unlikely to renounce its nuclear plans, and the United States is too caught up in Iraq to enforce severe sanctions against Iran.

If the United States pushes the mullahs to give up their nuclear ambitions, they will put U.S. citizens and U.S. military personnel who are in Iraq and around the region in even greater danger. On the other hand, if the United States ignores Iran, the fundamentalists will develop nuclear power. So: Sanction them now and possibly endanger the U.S. situation in Iraq, or let Iran develop its nuclear capacity and deal with the threat it will pose later. It’s a no-win situation.

MANUELA PARAIPAN

Arad, Romania

Pledge perspectives

Removing the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance would not “sever ties to a history,” as Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and your editorial page (“In support of the Pledge,” Tuesday), suggest. On the contrary, it was Congress, in 1954, that severed a tie to history when it added religious words to a previously secular pledge.

Our Founding Fathers went to great efforts to specify that church and state should be kept separate. Perhaps this is because, as Thomas Paine observed, “Persecution is not an original feature in any religion, but it is always the strongly marked feature of all … religions established by law.”

Returning the Pledge to its pre-1954 state would restore this historical tie, honor the intentions of our Founding Fathers and restore the utility of a pledge that was meant to unite, not divide.

SAM BREUNIG

Chicago

It is gratifying to note that the Supreme Court has dealt a well-deserved blow to Michael Newdow, the man who sought to “protect” all Americans from the “harm” of retaining “under God” in our cherished Pledge of Allegiance.

Mr. Newdow acted ostensibly to protect his daughter from what he says he sees as the corrupting influence of a child in a public school being permitted to make any allusion to a deity. His stance on his daughter’s behalf is interesting, given the limited role he has played in her life and the fact that he bothered neither to marry nor to stay with the child’s mother.

I trust most rational Americans, whether or not they are religious, would say that Mr. Newdow’s actions in failing to provide his daughter with an intact two-parent family in which the parents are married, and his willingness to drag his daughter into the public eye with his silly lawsuit have done more harm to her than a lifetime of recognizing God.

At least for the moment, Americans who wish to do so may include “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. What gall, what audaciousness is required for any individual to seek to determine for the rest of us that we are not permitted to do so.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper St. Clair, Pa.

I am deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn on a technicality the lower court’s ruling that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance are unconstitutional. It struck me as a cowardly dismissal of a highly controversial issue in this election year.

So for now, we remain “one nation under God,” and the millions of Americans who do not believe in a deity called God remain marginalized.

The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The Pledge in its current form clearly establishes religion in every classroom where children are compelled to recite it.

MARY T. SHAW

Norristown, Pa.

Keep Saddam in U.S. hands

I am voicing concern about turning over Saddam Hussein to Iraqis (“Iraqi government demands custody of Saddam,” Page 1, yesterday). President Bush should be commended for refusing to give a timetable for handing over Saddam.

If handed over, Saddam is likely to be killed by a kangaroo court in Iraq. We simply couldn’t afford that. A living Saddam, a wealth of information and strategic knowledge, including his success in neutralizing Islamic fundamentalists, would be far more important to winning the war on terrorism.

The real justice America owes is to the families of Americans killed in the September 11 attacks. It may require a living Saddam. Iraqis already have been served justice through many Americans’ lives.

MOORTHY MUTHUSWAMY

Coram, N.Y.

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