- The Washington Times - Monday, June 21, 2004

Still not connecting the dots

In “Our terrorist insane asylum” (Commentary, Friday), Michelle Malkin documents the yawning chasm in homeland security caused by a deeply flawed asylum system that allows refugee claimants from known terrorist nations to be turned loose in the United States without any meaningful investigative checks to determine if they might constitute a threat.

She cites the cases of Nuradin M. Abdi, the Somali national indicted last week for plotting with al Qaeda to blow up an Ohio shopping mall; Ramzi Yousef, the Pakistani national who masterminded the first World Trade Center attack; and Mir Aimal Kansi, also from Pakistan, who carried out the 1993 sniper attack outside the CIA headquarters that resulted in the murder of two CIA employees.

What appears even more incredible is that despite the known dangers posed by such bogus asylum seekers, the Bush administration — no doubt thanks to the hefty lobbying of Arab-American anti-defamation organizations — has pledged to eliminate basic security checks put in place after September 11 on men entering the United States from Muslim countries considered risks for terrorism (“Special screening at ports will end,” Nation, June 14).

Once again, this administration has chosen to bow to political correctness rather than fulfill its primary duty to the American people of protecting the nation’s security.

ROBERT BERRY

Montgomery Village

Rethinking interest rates

If Alan Greenspan and the Fed move up interest rates June 30, they will be adding to inflationary pressure, not curbing it (“Raising the interest rate,” Editorial, Thursday).

It is easy to see that if the cost of energy goes up, the cost of goods must go up to compensate for it. It should be equally easy to see that if the cost of borrowing goes up, the cost of goods also must go up to compensate for it because most companies carry some debt.

If the cost of goods cannot go up to compensate for the increased cost of borrowing, either workers will be laid off (again), jobs will not be created, wages will stagnate or fall, or companies will face bankruptcy. Another direct side effect is that housing will become less affordable.

A large driver of the recent recession was the spike in Fed rates to 9 percent based on an unrealized fear. We should learn from the past, not repeat it.

Raising rates causes inflationary pressure and should be done only with extreme care, if at all.

KAREN LEWIS

Montgomery Village

A religious deficit

You quote an unnamed Kerry campaign source as discussing how campaign operatives have been tutored on “more aggressively using religion to appeal to voters” and saying “conservatives are about 20 years ahead of us on this stuff” (“Kerry advisers tell hopeful to ‘keep cool’ on religion,” Page 1, Friday).

I think I see one of the root problems with the Kerry campaign’s approach to religion: It is a tool for appealing to voters. Conservatives do not “use” religion to appeal to voters; they are religious, and they appeal to the consciences and reason of voters who themselves are religious to varying degrees. I support President Bush, but I respect and admire Sen. Joe Lieberman because he also is sincere about his religious observance. Neither man makes a display of being religious. They live their religion, and that is one strong indicator of integrity and commitment.

My impression of Mr. Kerry’s campaign as revealed in this article is of people who are either misguided or cynical as far as sincere religious belief is concerned.

REBECCA BUDD

Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Parsing the First Amendment

Steve McCombs writes, “The First Amendment was written because England had a mandatory state religion” (“God with us?” Letters, Saturday).

Wrong. When the First Amendment was written in 1789, the United States was free of England and largely free of the Colonial establishment of religion. What remained was a residue of “multiple” establishments in a few states. The intent of the First Amendment was to prohibit even partial or multiple establishments, which is why the amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion …”

After the Civil War, the 14th Amendment was added to the Constitution to make the First Amendment applicable also to state and local government.

As the Founding Fathers intended, the First Amendment, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, erected a wall of separation between church and state.

GEORGE R. KAPLAN

Bethesda

Perplexing polls

John Kerry and the New York Times are accused of falsely blaming the Bush administration for fabricating a link between Saddam Hussein and September 11 (“Falsifying the record,” Editorial, Friday).

I find it interesting that even though President Bush admits there is no proof that Saddam was behind the September 11 attacks, polls conducted two years after the attacks indicated that seven out of 10 Americans believed Saddam was involved.

Maybe it’s because of statements like the one Mr. Bush made on May 1, 2003: “The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September 11, 2001.” And you think John Kerry is nuanced.

STEVEN J. BRILL

Associate professor

Department of molecular biology and biochemistry

Rutgers University

Piscataway, N.J.

Step forward, Mr. President

Your Saturday editorial on the corporate tax bill, “Political porkers,” though factual, is understated at best.

Citing a “bit of unfortunate baggage” is like saying al Qaeda is a “bit of a threat to the United States.” Why do you not urge the president to make an example of this bill? If the president came out in his remarks and speeches, condemned the bill, promised a veto and called on Congress to stop playing games and just pass simple legislation to remove the sanctions, he would win universal acclamation from conservatives and probably some grudging praise from those who like to harp on the “fiscal irresponsibility” of the deficit.

This would be a win-win issue all the way around. Good for the country and good for the president politically.

ROBERT M. HARDESTY

Kansas City, Mo.

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