- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 20, 2006

Real ways to fight terror

I’d like to respond to Secretary of the Treasury John Snow’s April 14 Op-Ed column, “Financial intelligence.”

First, modern advances in technology are making most forms of money and most weapons harder and harder to track, monitor and verify until after they are used. Cyber-police may get better at monitoring the electronic transfer of funds, but the smuggling of cash, diamonds, gold or drugs across borders is virtually impossible to identify or control in a virtually uncontrolled era of hyperglobalization (trade, travel, communication and capitalism).

Second, the greatest terror in today’s world is for the parents of the 29,000 children younger than 5 who die each day from preventable diseases because they lack affordable health care, clean water and safe sanitation or adequate nutrition. Americans don’t realize the national security risks we face from the infectiousdiseases,wars, revolutions and religious fanatics emerging from this lethal environment.

ThebipartisanU.S. Commission on National Security in the 21st Century cited global “economic instability” as a serious threat to our nation’s security. The greatest source of this instability is the free flow of money across borders in the form of currency speculation — essentially gambling on the fluctuations of each nation’s currency.

Global access to clean water and sanitation alone would eliminate half of all the world’s infectious disease burden. Many global security experts agree that infectious diseases are our single greatest threat.

If Mr. Snow is serious about “hitting terrorists where it hurts,” he should first suggest improving the living conditions in failed nation-states where terrorism and infectious diseases are allowed to flourish. He needs to abandon plans to monitor our checking accounts, suitcases and shoeboxes. This would be wisest.

ROBERT E. GRIFFIN

Forty Fort, Pa.

Needed:A serious approach to Darfur

Nat Hentoff is to be commended for his straightforward review of the situation in Darfur in his Monday Op-Ed column, “Rallying against genocide.”PresidentBush acknowledges that the 7,000 minimally equipped African Union peacekeepers are “not enough” and “we mean genocide must be stopped.”

The issue is simple, but not easy to resolve: Namely, who will provide immediate help? Mr. Bush’s solution is NATO. However, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer seems to be under the delusion that the Africans can handle this problem on their own.

For three years, Darfur has been a blot on the consciousness of humanity and those who proclaim “Never again.” Conditions have improved, relief supplies are available, and nongovernmental organizations (on a precarious basis) provide other needed help.

However, the current small contingent of African Union troops is unable to deal with the situation. In short, in the absence of immediate commitment of an effective force by the African Union and the concurrent commitments to supply helicopters, air security, adequate armaments and other areas of support, it would be a miracle if the ravages of the Janjaweed and others would cease quickly.

Not too long ago, former Liberian President Charles Taylor was wrecking a wide swath of West Africa. Today, thankfully, he is in jail. For two countries, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, this dramatic change was largely because of successful intervention and restoration of order by small contingents of British and French forces with minimal casualties.

President Bush should recognize that when he speaks, he is speaking as the commander in chief of the most powerful military force the world has ever known. It should be incumbent upon him to provide a small expeditionary force (Marines from Djibouti?), hopefully in conjunction with other countries, the United Nations and NATO, to repeat the British and French success in West Africa.

He surely knows it is standard practice not to pass the buck when someone says something needs to be done and resources exist to do it, even though your forces may seem to be fully committed elsewhere.

I intend to attend the Save Darfur Rally on April 30 and demand that Congress act before “never again” becomes a hollow joke.

EDWARD RAWSON

Vice president

Citizens for Global Solutions

Washington

Beijing’s responsibilities

The onus is on China, as an aspiring regional power looking for the world’s respect and influence, to show that it can work toward peace through the use of compromise and good will to build trust with the “Taiwan compatriots” for whom it professes to care so much (“Discussions with China,” Editorial, Tuesday).

This means Beijing must recognize and actively address the issues about which average Taiwanese citizens care the most, namely the threat China’s 800-plus missiles present to the island nation, China’s boycott of Taiwan’s democratically elected government and the helpful role it can play in Taiwan’s drive for more meaningful participation in world affairs.

Removing the missiles, engaging in negotiations with the government of Chen Shui-bian and allowing Taiwan to participate in the United Nations and the World Health Organization would do infinitely more to promote peace and enhance China’s standing in the world than any number of missiles or political boycotts ever will.

HSINKAI CHUANG

North Potomac

Education brings hope

In response to the editorial on education in Africa (“Boosting education in Africa,” Monday), it might be tempting for the U.S. to say, “Bravo to Britain for pledging $15 billion over 10 years for education — check that one off the list.”

In fact, Britain’s pledge will amount to $1.5 billion per year. This amount, though a large and welcome increase, is not sufficient to meet the need: a total of about $12 billion per year is needed to put all children in school by 2015. The U.S., as the world’s wealthiest donor country, must do its part to fulfill the promise to make education available to the world’s poorest children.

HEIDI BROOKS

Albuquerque

The contrast between what our children are given and what 100 million children of the world are not being given saddens me.

Structural adjustment programs required by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund resulted in primary school fees that have proved to be a high barrier for poor and vulnerable children. Disproportionately affected are young girls and AIDS orphans.

When fees were eliminated in Kenya, more than 1 million children entered school the first week, according to UNICEF.

For African females, every year of schooling after grade four results in a 20 percent increase in wages, a 10 percent drop in their children’s childhood mortality rate and a 10 percent drop in their birth rate.

In Zambia, females finishing secondary education have just half the HIV infection rate that their uneducated sisters have.

Education brings hope. Hopelessness breeds crime domestically and terrorism internationally. It is in our long-term interest to follow Great Britain’s lead and make a commitment to facilitating education for the world’s needy children.

LARRY DONOHUE

Seattle

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