- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dean doesn’t help Democrats

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has proved to be a complete liability to the Democratic Party (“Dean ducks,” Editorial, Tuesday). Besides his “hoof-in-mouth” disease, his refusal to apologize for Democratic attacks on Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele shows that Mr. Dean has no tolerance or acceptance of diversity or differences of ideology. That Mr. Steele is a Republican does not justify attacks on his character or theft of his credit report. Mr. Dean had a great opportunity to clear the record on a nationally televised program, “Meet the Press.” Instead, he chose to spin, dodge and duck.

Leaders should be people of integrity and substance. Mr. Steele has shown Maryland that he is just that, a real leader for everyone. Howard Dean has shown he is a partisan who cannot allow himself to admit wrongdoing. He also showed he’s very weak in the knees.

The Democratic Party has a lot more bumpy days ahead with Mr. Dean as its leader — but I guess you get what they paid for.

AL EISNER

Wheaton

A French perspective on the riots

With regard to the recent riots in France, I have to ask myself if American media and French media are covering the same events. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly calls the riots “The MuslimInsurrectionin France,” and The Washington Times suggests in an editorial that Islamic leaders are behind the riots: “Although The [Washington] Post might imagine Islamic leaders ‘play no role’ in the riots, the leaders themselves seem to think differently” (“The French riots,” Editorial, Nov. 10).

Lille’s Metro-equivalent, 20 Minutes (a free journal that is passed out on the Metro), attributes the French riots to five main factors: politicians’ neglect for underprivileged areas, the breakdown of relations between police officers and young people in the inner city (which is actually outside the city — les banlieus), poverty, Islamists responding to right-wing fundamentalists such as Jean-Marie Le Pen. and Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy, who referred to the inner city as “trash” (racaille).

Attributing the French riots to Islamists falsely associates the rioters with suicide bombers in Iraq and the war on terror. It ignores decades of discrimination against immigrants and their offspring in France and the frustration that has resulted.

Children of Arabs who came to France in the 1950s speak fluent French and have university degrees from France, but many of them find that they cannot find jobs or rent apartments, while their generationally French classmates have jobs, apartments and cars. The French riots today more closely resemble the race riots of the 1960s in Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles than they do the war on terror.

NINA PEACOCK

Valenciennes, France

Steadfast in the war

I hear the progressives and Democrats unceasingly nattering on about the president lying about the conditions that led to the war in Iraq (“Senate to call for Bush plan to end Iraq war,” Page 1, Tuesday). They do not say he was mistaken; they say he lied. To make such a claim, they must have irrefutable knowledge that he knew the situation was not as he claimed it to be before the war. They present no evidence.

To claim with perfect hindsight that Saddam Hussein was not a palpable threat before the war and that President Bush lied, they also must believe that the Europeans lied, that Saddam lied and that the United Nations lied, as well as the leaders of the Democratic Party. Don’t any of them have a memory?

Perhaps they wanted the United Nations to continue its ineffectual diplomacy while enriching individuals with the corrupt oil-for-food deal or pull a Neville Chamberlain and give Saddam Kuwait. If Mr. Bush had followed that course and Saddam had fulfilled his dream of taking over the Middle East and then launched a devastating terrorist attack on us, would they then have been happy?

JAMES KEEFER

San Francisco

With the Iraqis in the process of doing the miraculous — adopting a constitution — Democrats as well as weak-kneed Republicans are backing down on their previous support of President Bush, who has done what his predecessor, Bill Clinton, left undone.

I don’t recall any senator, Republican or Democrat, after disastrous battles (e.g., the Battle of the Bulge) calling into question their commander in chief’s integrity or Franklin D. Roosevelt’s decision to leave military decisions up to Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

BILL SMITH

Topeka, Kans.

Looking ahead at the U.N.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton’s litany of complaints about the United Nations exemplifies the role the world body often plays in U.S. domestic politics — scapegoat (“Can the U.S. find a substitute for the U.N.?” Page 1, Tuesday). Frankly, for Mr. Bolton to describe American influence at the United Nations as merely one of 191 votes in the General Assembly is inaccurate, to say the least. The United States enjoys enormous influence as the world’s most powerful nation, and it is the ambassador’s job to persuade other nations to join us through diplomacy and compromise.

The creation of a new Human Rights Council is one of the key reforms the Bush administration says it is seeking to strengthen the United Nations. Other reform proponents within the United Nations are working to reach agreement in the coming weeks. This should be achievable, and I would be more interested in Mr. Bolton’s plans for success than his predictions of failure.

DAVID SHORR

Stanley Foundation

Muscatine, Iowa

Growth of the American Anglican Church

Your writer covering the growth of the American Anglican Church is doing a good job, but I must remind her that for many of us, the circumstance of Bishop V. Gene Robinson is merely the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” (“U.S. Anglicans called to ‘repent,’ ” Nation, Saturday).

Perhaps your readers outside our movement will better understand our departure from the Episcopal Church, USA (ECUSA) if they apply the following.

Let’s say you are an orthodox Republican and the Republican National Committee announces that it is going to support abortion.

Then it announces that it supports raising taxes. Then it adds support for anti-Israel resolutions. By now, you have to be wondering what happened to your party’s leadership and asking yourself when the party will return to its core values.

Then the committee announces its support for compulsory unionism. Unionism is not the biggest issue here, but it’s another clear indication that the party’s leadership is continuing to move in the wrong direction and it’s not turning back.

So, you leave the party — not because of the union issue, but because it represents one more step away from what you believe.

Long before Bishop Robinson, bishops in ECUSA were openly questioning Christ’s divinity, belittling the Resurrection and rejecting any number of other core principles of Christianity, including that Christ is the Savior.

The Robinson affair made it apparent that the rotten apples in the barrel, the liberal bishops, were not just tainting some of the other apples. Worse, they had contaminated the barrel itself. Those who did not want to rot with them needed to get out of the barrel, now. We have.

VINCE CLEWS

Baltimore

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