- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The U.S.-Indo pact

David Sands’ special report “Nuclear pact unifies Indian-Americans” (Page 1, Sunday) is thought-provoking. The source of nuclear-proliferation concerns is not the recent India-U.S. nuclear accord, but rather Congress’ lack of common sense and elementary mathematics.

First, Congress is laboring under the incorrect premise that the Indo-U.S. nuclear pact weakens the Non-Proliferation Treaty regime. The NPT became truly effective only from 1992 onward, after France and China signed the treaty. By 1992, India already was a de facto nuclear power because it was the only nation besides the five NPT nuclear powers to have conducted an official nuclear test, in 1974.

Hence, the U.S., by belatedly recognizing India’s nuclear power status, is strengthening the NPT regime and not weakening it.

Second, how can this accord abet India’s capacity to build its nuclear weapons arsenal? Without the pact, India would have 22 nuclear reactors that could provide plutonium for nuclear weapons. With the pact, India will have just eight nuclear reactors that could provide plutonium for nuclear weapons.

Third, the U.S. is understandably alarmed enough about the demand side for nuclear weapons to designate Iran and North Korea as part of the axis of evil. What is not so understandable is that Pakistan, which has a monopoly on the supply side of nuclear weapons to Iran and North Korea, remains our cash-and-carry ally.

ARUN KHANNA

Visiting professor of finance

College of Business Administration

Butler University

Indianapolis, Ind.

Masters of spin

Clarence Page’s column “Blaming press won’t win war” (Commentary, Saturday) illustratrates how unknowledgeable news organizations are concerning the events that surrounded the drafting of our Constitution. The Founding Fathers understood that a representative republic would not survive without an informed public and wrote freedom of the press into the document to protect the press from political influence and corruption. Obviously, they failed to anticipate that many of the elitist mainstream news organizations would betray the trust given to them and become political flunkies, opinion makers, spin masters and mouthpieces for special-interest groups.

Any service member who served in Vietnam or Iraq would challenge Mr. Page’s flawed evaluation of the news outlets’ performance in either of these conflicts. As a Vietnam veteran (chief, special projects, 1967-68), I witnessed firsthand the daily spewing forth of sensationalized misinformation, oriented primarily toward body counts, the enemy’s successes and our military’s failures. Our military won every battle, defeated the enemy it was facing but was overcome by attacks to its rear by our own news organizations, liberal politicians and radical splinter groups.

The North Vietnamese, aware that they could not defeat us militarily, realized that their best weapon was the press, and they successfully used that weapon. Now history is repeating itself and, as in Vietnam, our news organizations are hung up on body counts, the terrorists’ successes (no matter how inhumane and gruesome) and our failures. The terrorists are willing and able to provide carnage that feeds the press’ appetite.

Again, the press has failed the Founding Fathers. The skewed reporting from Iraq has left grass-roots Americans uninformed about what is really occurring in Iraq. In short, our news organizations have the ability to crawl into bed with our enemies. It is indeed a sad day when Americans, when they read a newspaper, view or listen to broadcast news or to a politician, must ask: Is that the truth or just another lie? (Oh, that’s right, it’s called “spin,” so it really isn’t a lie.)

CMDR. BILLUPS E. LODGE

U.S. Navy (retired)

California, Md.

News and views

Michael O’Hanlon deserves credit for trying to make sense of the coverage of Iraq and attempting to show that it is reasonable given our current realities. Nevertheless, his Tuesday Commentary column, “Misplaced blame,” left me with the message: “What else could you expect?” It admonishes us to use what we have constructively.

That’s very noble, but given his realist point of view, he seems to have forgotten that most consumers of press and broadcast news aren’t associated with a think tank, as he is. Most are fed a steady diet of images and three-second audio bites. They don’t analyze, they react. If he could assume that the 20 percent of news consumers who analyze really were the 80 percent he wishes they were, he would have a great column — but that just isn’t reality. So it does matter how Iraq is depicted.

ERIC MAWHINNEY

Fombell, Pa.

Weak-kneed governments

In electing to retract a new French labor law, President Jacques Chirac has sent a message that will reverberate throughout his country, if not the world: If lawbreakers assemble in the streets en masse and engage in vandalism, hooliganism, attacks on police officers and general mayhem, the leadership will reverse course and give them whatever they want (“Chirac scraps proviso that triggered strikes,” World, yesterday).

In this instance, French law, which places all the cards in the hands of workers over management, was threatened by legislation that would have provided a more level playing field.

The militants in the working class would not hear of it and rioted to demand that the law not go forward. They intimidated all of France, including its leadership, and they prevailed, receiving assurances that the country will maintain a socialist plank that is dragging down the country, keeping its unemployment rate high and making it more difficult for France to succeed in the new world economy. The instigators of the riots can be at rest until the next conflict arises.

Although wholesale rioting has not occurred lately in the United States, we are witnessing a similar type of intimidation of elected officials here over the issue of illegal immigration. Illegal aliens and their supporters rally in huge numbers for their “right” to break the law, portraying those who wish to uphold it as intolerant, bigoted and, most outlandishly, as denying illegal aliens their “civil rights.”

American elected officials are impressed and intimidated by the demonstrations, fearing that if the law is enforced and anything short of blanket amnesty is provided, they will never again receive a Hispanic vote.

Rewarding the French vandals will have grave consequences for the concepts of law and order and of enacting laws and regulations that are fair and evenhanded. French and American elected officials are bowing to the will of demonstrators who have the ability to twist logic and reason into a pretzel shape.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Illegals by any other name …

Crowds of illegal aliens and their supporters marched this week demanding “immigrant rights” (“More than a million rally for aliens,” Page 1, yesterday). Using equivocal language to fool people is wrong and deceitful, such as leaving out the word “illegal” in front of immigrant or using the words “undocumented worker” instead of illegal alien.

The truth is that legal aliens already have rights in our nation. Our Founding Fathers based our Constitution on honoring the rule of law, not on obeying only the laws one likes and violating those we don’t like.

The only right illegal aliens should have is the right to humane deportation back to their home countries so that those immigrants who are applying legally will have a chance to immigrate.

JOANIE ALLAN

Rochester Hills, Mich.

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