- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jeane Kirkpatrick

Jeane Kirkpatrick’s criticism of “San Francisco Democrats” in her keynote speech to the 1984 Republican National Convention is well-remembered and was quoted in many of her obituaries.

Helle Dale is to be commended for quoting additional portions of that speech, including Mrs. Kirkpatrick’s denunciation of the “brutal” anti-Semitism practiced by the Soviet government (“Missing Jeane,” Op-Ed, yesterday).

To Mrs. Kirkpatrick’s credit, she continued to be outspoken against anti-Semitism in the years that followed and, in fact, exactly 20 years later, she led a crucial fight on the issue that involved crossing swords with her old colleagues in the State Department.

In the summer of 2004, in response to the proliferation of anti-Semitic violence in European countries and government-sponsored anti-Semitic propaganda in the Muslim world, Rep Tom Lantos, California Democrat, introduced legislation requiring the government to create an office to monitor anti-Semitism around the world and devise ways to combat it.

The State Department tried to block the bill, arguing that it was unfair to show “favoritism” to Jews by “extending exclusive status to one religious or ethnic group.” Ironically, the State Department already had offices that extended “exclusive status” to various other groups or issues of concern, among them human rights in Tibet, human trafficking and women’s rights.

The State Department seemed unwilling to acknowledge the simple fact that anti-Semites were singling out Jews, which is why the fight against anti-Semitism deserves specific and focused attention.

To break the logjam of opposition to the Lantos bill, the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies began organizing a bipartisan, ecumenical letter by prominent Americans to demonstrate the broad range of public support for the legislation.

Former Rep. Stephen Solarz became the lead Democrat on the letter. Mrs. Kirkpatrick agreed to serve as the lead Republican in this effort, even though it put her in conflict with the Bush administration. Her leadership inspired many other prominent Republicans to sign on. Ultimately, more than 100 political figures, diplomats, theologians, writers, artists and entertainers from across the political and religious spectrum signed the letter. The State Department soon backed down and dropped its opposition to the Lantos legislation.

The bill was adopted by Congress and signed into law by the president in October 2004, and it was not long before the initiative showed results. One of the bill’s requirements was that the State Department issue a report on anti-Semitism around the world.

Released in early 2005, the report presented the first official government definition of anti-Semitism and specifically included instances of Holocaust denial in various countries as examples of anti-Semitism.

Such achievements are more than merely symbolic because it is the United States that sets the standard for the international community on such issues. Turning the tide against the haters requires firm American leadership on the battlefield of ideas. The creation of the U.S. office for monitoring anti-Semitism is an important first step in that process, and its creation was due in no small part to the intervention of Jeane Kirkpatrick.

RAFAEL MEDOFF

Director

David S. Wyman Institute

for Holocaust Studies

Washington

Defense Department finances

Eric Rosenberg’s accusation that the finances at the Department of Defense are in “severe disarray” is at odds with the truth (“Gates handed ‘severe’ disarray of Pentagon finance,” Page 1, Sunday).

In the past six years, the Department of Defense has made significant progress in achieving a clean audit opinion, and that assessment comes from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Office of Management and Budget in its evaluation of the department’s capability to achieve a clean audit recently elevated the Defense Department’s progress rating to green from yellow, and the GAO has issued two consecutive reports, in November 2005 and May 2006, citing important progress in the department’s business systems modernization efforts.

Military equipment represents 27 percent of all department assets — everything from combat vehicles to ships to aircraft. We have completed an auditable base-line valuation for 100 percent of all military equipment programs, and it was included in our September financial statements.

Copies of the financial statement go to the Office of Management and Budget, GAO, Treasury Department, speaker of the House of Representatives, the president and president pro tempore of the Senate, chairman and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, the House Committee on Government Reform, chairmen and ranking members of the budget committees and the defense authorization and appropriations committees.

Additionally, the GAO’s Aug. 3 report, “Sustained Leadership Is Critical to Effective Financial and Business Management Transformation,” specifically states, “DoD’s top management has demonstrated a commitment to transforming the department and has launched key initiatives to improve its financial management process and related business systems.”

BRYAN G. WHITMAN

Deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs

Office of the Assistant Secretary

of Defense

Washington

‘Trophy hunting’

Gene Mueller’s article “Emotion, not science, stops bear hunt in Jersey” is off target (Outdoors, Sports, Dec. 6). Science is on the side of saving bears in New Jersey. Shooting bears does nothing to fix the problem of nuisance bears. The only purpose of the bear slaughter is trophy hunting.

It is unethical that the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife is relocating bears all over the state, even in areas where bears do not typically live, all in an attempt to scare the public into allowing a hunt in the name of public safety.

WILLIAM MCMULLIN

Mount Morris, Mich.

False sense of optimism

The American public and our politicians are split on the Iraq Study Group (ISG) report because by the group’s own admission, it is a “political” compromise. The report is designed to “resolve” the bitter discord in the United States over the Iraq war in the next 15 months by providing the rationalization for pulling out sooner rather than later and blaming the Iraqis for not making sufficient progress (“Foreign policy ingenues,” Editorial, Monday).

The ISG report failed to address genuine alternatives for what is required to avert a defeat for the new Iraqi government, and it did not adequately report on the long-term implications of such a defeat. The only new ideas in the report were contrary to the principles of counterinsurgency and good government, i.e., placing the Iraqi border police under the control of the Ministry of Defense. There can be no place on Earth where the separation of powers is more important right now.

The ISG report, like the administration and most U.S. political leaders, fails to consider an overhaul of military practices in Iraq based on the principles of counterinsurgency. We have fought on the ground in Iraq like our fathers and grandfathers fought on the ground in Europe in World War II. We have failed to adjust for a totally different environment. We have failed to apply proven counterinsurgency techniques.

Finally, the ISG report fails to lay out the costs of defeat for the American people and the implications for the war on terror. The Bush administration is right not to embrace the report’s ideas.

The Iraq Study Group actually may have hurt our chances to make a positive move in Iraq by giving the American people unrealistic hope for a quick and successful end to a conflict of which they have grown weary.

It is false to believe that we can pull out within 1½ years while accomplishing the Bush administration’s objectives of leaving a stable government behind, and blaming the Iraqis for any lack of success in that short time is simply an excuse for U.S. forces to leave, which will generate greater problems for us in the future.

MATTHEW B. ROWE

Noblesville, Ind.

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