- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Camouflaged ridiculousness

After reading Michael Fumento’s Commentary column on “The Obesity Myth” by Paul Campos (“Fat-out fiction,” Sunday), it dawned on me that Mr. Campos would make a great expert to add to one of the Bush administration’s scientific committees on obesity. It’s only proper because ridiculous assertions, camouflaged as science, seem to be forming the basis of national health policies.

Mr. Campos would be in good company with people such as Dr. William Banner, the pediatrician and lead industry consultant who replaced the noted researcher Dr. Michael Weitzman on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention. Dr. Banner believes our children are fine with up to seven to 10 times the lead level that has been found to be detrimental by dozens of studies for almost 30 years.

And how about Dennis Paustenbach, the risk-assessment consultant who was appointed to the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health? His scientific credentials include testifying on behalf of Pacific Gas and Electric — which was forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for poisoning drinking water in the case that gave Erin Brockovich her five minutes of fame. Mr. Paustenbach is also on the editorial board of the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, a prestigious accomplishment, one would think, if it were not a mouthpiece of the chemical industry, publishing questionable science under the guise of a “journal.” Two years ago, 45 leading researchers petitioned the publisher to either reform the journal or stop publishing it.

Even the American Public Health Association was forced to weigh in, noting that the administration is “removing or failing to reappoint qualified members, and replacing them with less scientifically qualified candidates and candidates with a clear conflict of interest.” Sounds as though Mr. Campos should be getting the call from the Department of Health and Human Services any day now.

DIMITRIOS KATEHIS

Chalfont, Pa.

No good options

Patrick J. Buchanan’s Op-Ed column Tuesday, “Escalation versus exit: Counting the costs,” was, unfortunately, right on the mark.

He ended his column by evoking the diplomacy of Neville Chamberlain before the outbreak of World War II, when “Chamberlain had no good choices left.” This is also a good characterization of the situation for the U.S. military in Iraq.LeftunsaidinMr. Buchanan’s article is that having no good options is the very definition (or criterion) of a failed policy.

MICHAEL F. DUGGAN

Bethesda

What the authors intended

Kevin Cathcart’s Friday letter to the editor surely was written in jest (“Marriage rights”). Does Mr. Cathcart also believe that the Massachusetts Constitution contains any references to divorce or to the right to breathe air or drink water?

I am always amazed at the disingenuousness of liberal Democratic arguments that new rights should be included in constitutions, state and federal. The notion that because the Massachusetts Constitution’s authors did not say anything about same-sex “marriage,” the subject is just something they omitted carelessly is a joke.

They didn’t put anything about the right to breathe air in the Massachusetts Constitution because they did not feel the need to do so. They did not feel the need to cover the common-sense stuff.

JOSEPH KNIGHT

Columbia, Md.

King-Crane report

It is not often that one reads a letter in The Washington Times that contains so many inaccuracies and falsehoods as in the Tuesday letter by William G. Garrett, “This land is whose land?” Mr. Garrett relies on the discredited 1919 King-Crane Commission report. He cites numbers that have no basis in fact, such as the percentage of Jews, their opinions on Zionism and the number of Arabs who fled when Israel became a state.

Henry Churchill King was the primary author of the King-Crane report. He had a reputation for unbridled dislike of Jews and Zionism.

Historian James Gelvin’s paper “The Ironic Legacy of the King-Crane Commission” provides proof of Charles Crane’s anti-Semitic predisposition. This was confirmed in the 1930s, when King tried to influence President Roosevelt to turn against Jews and then showed admiration for Hitler’s Germany. He proposed to Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, that the mufti open talks with the Vatican to plan an anti-Jewish campaign. In other words, any question of his objectivity in producing the King-Crane report, disavowed by the League of Nations, was settled in the 1920s and the 1930s. This report is hardly one to be cited as a reliable source of information.

Mr. Garrett cites the King-Crane report to claim that Jews made up just 10 percent of the population. The report is not clear on this, but in any event, “the land” as defined in the report includes all of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, what is now Jordan and then Palestine. Mr. Garrett’s claim might be true if “the population” included all of the territory addressed in the report. It is demagoguery for Mr. Garrett to imply that the current land area of Israel was just 10 percent Jewish. Similarly, it is an act of deceit to suggest that almost all opposed Zionism without any supporting facts.

There is irrefutable testimony about the number of Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 and why. Yet Mr. Garrett, in his zeal to denigrate Israel, states, “Nearly a million villagers were driven into exile.” He must know that Arabs fled Israel in 1948 at the beckoning of the Arab High Commission, which promised they would be able to return and claim all of Israel once the five attacking Arab armies destroyed the state of Israel.

The actual number that fled is estimated to be about 350,000. This is different from being “driven into exile.” About 100,000 remained, multiplied and are the millions of Arab residents of the state of Israel.

Perhaps Mr. Garrett is confused with the number of Jews who were driven out of Arab lands in 1948. This number is closer to the 1 million mark.

WARREN A. MANISON

Potomac

The Jersey Girls

My name is Mindy Kleinberg, and I am one of the Jersey Girls reported on in the article “Survivor groups hit for use of 9/11” (Page 1, Tuesday). I am not certain exactly what point this article was trying to make, but I can tell you there was misinformation about us and who and what we represent.

The Jersey Girls are four women from New Jersey who joined with eight other family members to create the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Independent Commission. The goal of this group is to monitor the progress of the commission to ensure that it assiduously follows its mandate for a broad, in-depth investigation.

We are totally self-funded, have never taken money from any organization and are not tied to any political party. While we applaud the efforts of all the family groups that formed after September 11, the Jersey Girls are not affiliated with or members of September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows nor is the Family Steering Committee a part of Peaceful Tomorrows. We have spent the past two years dedicated to ensuring that lessons are learned from the tragedy of September 11. The only way to honor those we have lost is to make sure we are better prepared the next time. Politics have no place in the discussion of making the nation safer. The sanctity of life must transcend politics.[The story doesn’t say Jersey Girls and Peaceful Tomorrows are affiliated, but a reader might get that impression from the way the story talks about Peaceful Tomorrows and Jersey Girls in alternating paragraphs. I think the letter can go as written, and I’ve talked it over with Tim, who raised the question. mmg.

In the future when you are writing an article on any group, responsible journalism calls for you to contact those individuals and just ask.

MINDY KLEINBERG

East Brunswick, N.J.

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