- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 9, 2006

McKinneyism and the military

Saturday’s “Brass hats and brass tacks” Commentary tells what happens to people who, like the then-superintendent of the Naval Academy, Vice Adm. Richard J. Naughton, try to bully their way into a place when they don’t have the proper credentials. He resigned his position and retired.

This reminded me of a new base commander in Germany who arrived late on a Saturday when the base Pass & ID Section was closed. He wanted to visit the flight line, which was a restricted area, on Sunday so he would be prepared for his first day of duty there on Monday. An enlisted man guarding the entrance refused to allow the new commander to enter. The colonel didn’t object and left. One of the colonel’s first actions as base commander was to commend the airman for his diligence and correct action.

What a contrast between the colonel and the admiral and Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney, Georgia Democrat, who was trying to enter restricted areas without a proper pass and identification.

G. STANLEY DOORE

Silver Spring

The Saturday Commentary column “Brass hats and brass tacks,” based on the incident regarding Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney, Georgia Democrat, reminds me of a similar incident, although with a different outcome, which happened many years ago at the commissary at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. At that time, it was discovered that many unauthorized people were purchasing food at the military commissaries. To curtail this practice, identification cards were issued to approved personnel and their families. A system was set up whereby an enlisted man would be stationed at the entrance, and he would ask for identification.

Apparently this system did not go over well with a few of the so-called prominent wives of the colonels, who believed they should be recognized wherever and were miffed at being asked for their IDs. Word of this situation got back to the commanding general, who promptly went to the commissary. When he entered, the enlisted man jumped to attention.

The general asked, “Young man, do you want to check my ID?”

“I know who you are sir; that won’t be necessary.”

“Young man, the rule is everyone shows his or her ID in order to enter this commissary, understood?”

To that, the enlisted man replied, “Yes, sir,” and checked the general’s ID.

Needless to say, when the word got out, there were no more incidents or complaints.

GUSTAV S. WEBER

Oxon Hill

Kerry’s surrender ultimatum

Though I fully agree with the position of your Friday editorial “In support of Iraqi Shi’ites,” I think you could have created a separate article out of the phony ultimatum made by Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat.

As you quoted, Mr. Kerry stated that Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 15 “to put together an effective unity government, or we will withdraw our military.” If, however, the Iraqis were successful in forming a coalition government, Mr. Kerry’s kinder alternative was that “then we must agree on another deadline: a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year’s end.” Where are the choices here?

An immediate withdrawal of troops probably would take four months to accomplish unless we wanted to see scenes reminiscent of overloaded helicopters lifting off from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. That would have us out of Iraq by Sept. 15. The offered alternative, if the Iraqis form the coalition government, would extend our presence by 10 weeks, to the end of December. Where is the incentive?

Either of the alternatives offered by Mr. Kerry amounts to the same thing as suggested by Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania and the rest of the Democratic left — immediate withdrawal and a declaration of defeat. Surrender can be dressed up as a statesmanlike set of diplomatic alternatives, but it still results in a victory for terror and chaos, for Iraq and the U.S. alike.

PETER LOCKE

Ashburn, Va.

Tax-funded lobbying for statehood

The D.C. government will be spending 1 million tax dollars to “educate” people in favor of statehood (“The statehood saga,” Editorial, Saturday). It doesn’t use the word “lobby” because that would make the activity illegal.

There is only one way D.C. statehood could be advanced, and that would be to persuade enough members of Congress to get the ball rolling. Call it whatever you want, to the legally challenged, a $1 million payout sure smells like lobbying. The grants as they stand will go to advocacy groups that have been single-minded in insisting on “statehood” and have lacked any creativity in offering other options to provide D.C. residents with federal voting rights. If the District really wants to spend a loose million on this issue, hire a neutral think tank to present all sides, plus some new ideas. Otherwise, $1 million is a lot of money to invest in a dead horse.

ANNE ALLEN

North Beach, Md.

Despite the rampant waste, fraud and abuse that still afflict D.C., our elected officials, who claim to have their constituents’ best interest at heart, never seem to lack for insulting ideas. Latest zinger: Our great leaders desire to spend $1 million of D.C. taxpayers’ money to promote statehood.

How can such an initiative help us when these same officials haven’t been up to handling cityhood for years? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on things that would have a real impact on residents’ lives, such as vouchers for schools and renovations of libraries and even Blue Plains, the city’s wastewater treatment plant? For D.C. officials, I guess not. Who’s really profiting by all this? It certainly isn’t us residents.

FRANCOIS KRODEL

Washington

Steele vexes the Democrats

The Page One article “Plans to knock Steele labeled as ‘destructive’” (Friday) disclosed the startling conclusion of a black voter poll by the Maryland Democratic Party and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: To wit, black Maryland Republican Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele’s U.S. Senate campaign has “a clear ability to break through the Democratic stronghold among African-American voters in Maryland.”

This revelation left some speechless. “Black Democratic leaders in the state legislature were reluctant to talk about the poll,” according to the article.

I’ll be darned. Just six months ago, black Democratic leaders in the state legislature spoke volumes on this subject, as reported in the Page One article “‘Party Trumps race’ for Steele foes” (Nov. 2, 2005). Disparaging Mr. Steele’s Republican affiliation as something alienating to rank-and-file blacks, Baltimore’s black state Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, declared that “Party trumps race.”

Another Baltimore-based legislator, State Delegate Salima Siler Marriott, was more specific in her speculation about the reason for Mr. Steele’s purported lack of appeal among Maryland blacks. “Because he is a conservative,” she said, “he is different than most public blacks, and he is different than most people in our community.”

Now, it seems, these same black Democratic leaders in the state legislature are reluctant to talk. Let’s connect the dots. In furtherance of the Democratic pollsters’ stated plan — “to knock Steele down” — garrulous black politicians such as Miss Gladden and Miss Marriott must have received instructions: Shut up.

GREGORY L. LEWIS

Baltimore

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