- The Washington Times - Monday, April 4, 2005

Pleasant memories

If I want modern architecture, I’ll take in New York’s Museum of Modern Art; if I want the chill of steel and glass, I’ll fly to Dallas (“HOK Sport to design Nationals’ home,” Page 1, Thursday). For Washington’s new ballpark, I want the warmth of brick and mortar so that I can relive the simple pleasures of my youth and those of my dad and grandfather, who grew up with the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium in their back yards.

With brick and mortar, you hear the sounds of baseball — ball against bat — not of a high-tech pinball machine.

I also want to be able to throw the mustard pack under the seat without fear of arrest from a tuxedo-wearing moonlighting Metro cop.

Leave the “iconic” design and materials some envision for more appropriate environs. Brick and mortar go great with baseball… like mustard and hot dogs.

MIKE ORENSTEIN

Lorton

Another side of the Sea Treaty debate

The distortions deployed by opponents of President Bush’s decision to seek Senate approval of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea are evident once again in Christopher C. Horner’s letter (“Law of the Sea Treaty debated,” March 29) commenting on the column “Ratifying sea treaty a mistake” (Op-Ed, March 25). (The latter’s defects are amply exposed by George Galdorisi and Scott C. Truver in the same Letters column.)

Mr. Horner misunderstands the history of the Mox plant case brought by Ireland against the United Kingdom. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea clearly demonstrated in that case the circumspection with which it approaches its duties.

The United Kingdom did not exercise its right to invoke exceptions to jurisdiction, under Article 297 of the convention, that exclude all land-based activities. The tribunal therefore quite properly focused its analysis on the highly technical question raised regarding the relationship between a series of treaties the United Kingdom had accepted, all of which provided for compulsory jurisdiction, but in different forums.

That done, the tribunal denied Ireland’s requests for intrusive provisional restraints on the United Kingdom’s activities and opted instead for a mild temporary admonition to cooperate. It then dropped out of the picture in favor of an arbitral panel selected by the parties.

The arbitral panel in turn showed its own circumspection by suspending proceedings pending litigation in the European Court of Justice, pursuant to European law. The result reflects the values of institutional restraint, party autonomy and decentralization, which serious conservatives champion.

As for Mr. Horner’s underlying complaint about the possibility of enforcing treaties through the Law of the Sea Convention’s dispute-settlement mechanism, he has it backward. What he bemoans is exactly what our commercial and sports fishermen in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere have long sought. It is exactly what they got in the 1995 agreement implementing the fisheries provisions of the Law of the Sea Convention and is exactly what the Senate correctly concluded was in our interests in overwhelmingly approving that agreement.

The problem is that Japan and many others are not party to the 1995 agreement. However, they and most others are party to the Law of the Sea Convention. By joining the convention, we would gain important new leverage over their fishing off our coast. Those are the kinds of hard American interests most conservatives are disposed to try to advance.

I live in Miami. My neighbors have fathers, sons and brothers who have been and are at risk of being mistreated brutally by Fidel Castro on land and in and over the waters off Cuba’s coast. The Law of the Sea Convention expressly confers a right to enter those waters to rescue them if they run into trouble.

Mr. Horner and his friends seem to forget this benefit, which is not contained in the old 1958 Territorial Sea Convention, to which the United States is party. I would imagine that they forget to mention this benefit when pressuring my new senator to join their misguided opposition campaign. My neighbors wouldn’t forget.

BERNARD H. OXMAN

Professor of law

Director, Ocean and Coastal

Law Program

University of Miami School of Law

Coral Gables, Fla.

No room for mistakes with WMD

Congratulations to Rich Lowry and Mona Charen for clearly outlining the value of the report from the president’s commission regarding weapons of mass destruction (“WMD verities … and vacuities,” Commentary, yesterday). As a former chief of staff on the Hill for 17 years (10 years with Bob Michel, four with Jack Kemp and three with Don Ritter), I was a member of a group of top aides that met privately with the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, Mohammed Al-Mashat, in 1990.

The meeting was low-key until a member of our group asked him if Iraq had used WMD during the Kurdish uprising and in the war against Iran. Our session immediately caught fire with Mr. Al-Mashat’s surprisingly loud and emphatic reply, “Of course.” He went on to explain why it was necessary to use WMD as part of Iraq’s military strategy.

If poison gas had been on the planes that hit the twin towers, 3,000 would not have been the death toll — it would have been 3 million. The world knows this, yet the artificial reality, as Mr. Lowry and Mrs. Charen pinpoint, is that some choose to claim WMDs were President Bush’s self-deceptive reason we went to war.

However, the reality is that no U.S. president could take the chance — not even Sen. Joseph Biden if he had been president. Beyond that, Mr. Lowry and Mrs. Charen put forth reasons why the new realignment of intelligence gathering can lead to spirited self-assurance among the leaders of both parties.

JIM CROMWELL

Leadership Institute

Annandale

The dangers of drug therapy

The Food and Drug Administration has warned physicians and consumers that antidepressant medications could heighten suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and adolescents. Yet as Keith Hoeller’s perceptive Commentary column, “Dubious Drug Therapy” (March 29) makes clear, the drugging of American children continues to rise, as does the deadly toll.

There may be no “proof” that a heavy dose of Prozac contributed to Jeff Weise’s murderous rampage and suicide at Minnesota’s Red Lake High School, but how many such episodes with links to psychiatric drugs have to occur before coincidence no longer can explain away the carnage? From Columbine to many less-publicized schoolhouse shootings, the connection to psychiatric drugs is more the norm than the exception.

An outright ban on use of these powerful medications for children might be a radical step, but what other remedy will be left if warnings continue to go unheeded?

ROBERT HOLLAND

Senior fellow

Lexington Institute

Arlington

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