- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 10, 2006

Abortion and fetal pain

It has been suggested that the preborn after 20 weeks of gestation feel pain. Dr. Sunny Anand, director of the Pain Neurobiology Lab at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute, said that not only can the fetus feel pain at 20 weeks, but that “the pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense” than that of newborns or older children.

However, a bill that would require that women who are aborting after 20 weeks must be told that the baby may feel pain and the mother be offered anesthesia for the baby was defeated in the House of Representatives. It was supported by 96 percent of Republicans but just 21 percent of Democrats. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., New Jersey Democrat, said, “It’s a mistake to mandate that this be done when science is not clear” (“Pro-life bill fails in vote by House,” Nation, Thursday).

If the science is not settled, the reasoned approach is to support the bill to make sure the baby does not feel the pain of abortion; Mr. Pallone’s position is irrational and barbaric.

Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life, said it well: “It is no small thing that 60 percent of the House endorsed requiring abortionists to inform women that late abortion may be very painful to the unborn child. The other 40 percent will have to explain why they favor anti-pain laws for animals used for research or food but not for unborn humans.”

BERNARD MCLOUGHLIN

Chairman

Right to Life of Montgomery County

Rockville

Axis of peace?

The House and Senate worked overtime to pass the U.S.-India nuclear bill that is being hailed as a historic event of much larger significance than the opening of commerce with China back in the Nixon era (“109th Congress ends with visions of change,” Page 1, yesterday).

In the short term, it will boost trade between the two countries. The more important strategic aspect behind the bill, and what many think tanks warn of, is a need to contain China some 30 to 40 years down the road for which India is perceived as a counterbalancing force. This bill should achieve that goal since it will help India to sustain its expanding gross domestic product by meeting its power needs.

Additionally, the bill has the potential to give rise to what I call the Axis of Peace/Prosperity/Liberty made up of the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, Japan and India: the powerful engines that are capable of spinning the world axis at great speed.

Due to its larger responsibility vis-a-vis international trade, diplomacy, politics, military power and security, the United States must lead this axis of peace in order to first realize necessary regional stability followed by world security. It did so by pushing this historic bill through the Congress, and already, Pakistan has offered to solve the Kashmir problem in a more peaceful manner.

The whole idea of sustaining the expansion of GDPs is that people stay occupied with economic and trade issues and grow the world’s wealth, thereby eradicating poverty, disease, illiteracy and other woes that afflict the poor.

Lifting the masses from their misery is a huge challenge in which there is no room for the evil thoughts of the Cold War era. America should not be overly concerned by the misuse of uranium and plutonium nuclear fuels when India could move to thorium as its principal nuclear fuel, and India has 30 percent of world deposits.

In fact, this nuclear bill should help avoid future wars since we trust that India, in due time, will not only be an effective counterweight to China, but also will play a similar role in checking other mischief-making countries.

As President Bush said during the signing of the agreement in 2005, the United States and India, separated by half the globe, are closer than ever before, and the partnership between our free nations has the power to transform the world.

Only time will tell what that transformation will be. In the meantime, history will look at the Henry J. Hyde USA-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Bill as one brilliant move by the United States for peace, prosperity and liberty for all.

DAVE ANAND

Trumbull, Conn.

On the road to revolution?

Star Parker asked in her article, “Is the Reagan era officially over?” (Commentary, Saturday). You bet, and you ain’t seen nothing yet. Robert J. Shiller, the renowned economist and author of “Irrational Exuberance,” which warned of the bubble in dotcom stocks of the ‘90s, but amounted to a makeover of Charles Mackay’s 19th-century treatise on the madness of crowds, is on the road with a solution to fix the much-touted inequality problem.

Apparently all you have to do is plot a Lorenz curve of percent of income versus percent of households and index marginal tax rates to get a perfect 45 degree line. That is, 20 percent of income should go to 20 percent of households, and that only seems fair, right? I am sure they love it at the IRS; we are talking about 70 percent marginal rates and above.

Mr. Shiller has proposed a remarkable cookbook solution to the problem. Unfortunately, when asked about the causes for the changes in the Lorenz curve over the past half century about all he can offer is that labor unions have been in a decline. After all, the unions had a big part in dividing up the wealth after World War II. But then there was the unbelievable investment fueled by those unbelievable deficits that had resulted from the war, and the fact that the United States had not been bombed into oblivion during that time. With the typical brilliance of an economist, Mr. Shiller professes to know a solution to a problem when he is only vaguely aware of its causes. No wonder economics is the dismal science.

Every time I look at the annual return on my Thrift Savings Plan — I was a lifelong federal employee — I am aware of a rate of growth that is three or four times the cost-of-living adjustment in my annuity. Just about all people that manage to make it to the right end of the Lorenz curve know that to get ahead in this world you need to own something. If you think perpetuating and expanding entitlements is going to have any effect on the Lorenz curve other than the one it has had for the last half century, you must be in the same academic cocoon as Mr. Shiller.

If a way is not found to reform the entitlement mess, i.e. Social Security, to make it possible for those at the bottom to actually acquire assets, then we may be on the road to a revolution. Merely socking it to our children by raising their taxes so we can obtain a meager increase in our subsistence level via Social Security is not going to do it.

SAMUEL BURKEEN

Reston

The wrong analogy

“Old men fight, young men die.” How clearly Victor Davis Hanson demonstrates that adage. His commentary, “History’s harbingers,” (Saturday) challenges America’s resistance to broadening involvement in Iraq. Mr. Hanson would have us embrace a larger war much as we did in World War II.

He suggests it was our unity and determination that won against the Axis. He avoids facts: The United States had strong allies including the Russians who sapped German strength in a crucial way.

The global war on terror is not comparable to a war that pits nation against nation. We have already demonstrated that our superior military power is not the only answer. The shock and awe of it failed to bring about the results we expected in the Middle East.

Finally, to demonstrate how fully Mr. Hanson represents the mindset of the adage, he writes: “To defeat both Japan and Germany, we averaged more than 8,000 Americans lost every month of the war — compared to around 50 per month since September 11.”

I’m glad there are still some old men like James Baker and Lee Hamilton who know there is a better way.

JOAN SALEMI

W. Springfield, Va.

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