- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Making college unaffordable

Leslie Carbone offers the perfect prescription for making American higher education unaffordable and inaccessible — that is, by cutting federal student aid programs (“Controlling college costs,” Commentary, Dec. 10).

Every piece of existing empirical evidence refutes her claim that federal student aid feeds college tuition increases. Two U.S. Department of Education studies have shown that there are “no associations between federal grants, state grants, and student loans, and changes in tuition,” and “there is little evidence that federal student aid increases have contributed to tuition inflation.” The erosion of federal student aid in the past five years has become an additional strain on college budgets as institutions attempt to fill the gap.

Congress has not kept funding for student aid in line with inflation, growing family need or the wave of low-income and first-generation college students who are academically prepared for college. Federal student aid has made college possible for students from all backgrounds for 40 years. Add a federal deinvestment in student aid to rising institutional cost pressures and growing student need, and you’ve created a recipe for financial disaster for students and their families.

DAVID WARREN

President

National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Washington

Troubles with wind power

We live in a time when we need to try to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. It doesn’t matter what one’s opinion is about global warming — we’re polluting the environment and need to reverse this trend. No solution should be accepted as a panacea for the problem. Conservation is our best tool. Better insulation, better appliances and more efficient light bulbs would go a long way toward reducing our consumption of electricity. More sensible motor vehicle selection would go a long way toward reducing our consumption of oil and, therefore, reducing dependence on foreign oil.

I read with interest the article “Blowing hot and cold” (Business, Monday), regarding difficulties for the wind industry. Interpreting the comments of industry spokespersons must be tempered with the notion that their employers stand to gain millions in tax incentives, whereas the people in the areas where the turbines are located stand to watch their homelands permanently altered by the construction projects. The businesses can claim they will put things back when the turbines are decommissioned, but there is folly in believing mountain springs, caves and other ecosystems, once altered, substantially can be put back to original form. They can remove the structures and plant vegetation, but the land formations took millions of years to construct.

Many claims of no harm are being put forward by developers, but they have no scientific evidence to support these claims. No thorough, independent scientific investigations have been completed to back claims. Each site is likely to have something unique that makes potential problems different from those encountered elsewhere. Contrary to what some may say, nothing is free of risk. Allowing unchecked industrial development of wind at this stage is begging for trouble.

The abstract for the article, “The Wind Power Report Ed 3” by ABS Energy Research, gives some indication that industry claims about the productivity and carbon dioxide savings possible with wind plants are not necessarily a reflection of reality in countries that have a large number of turbines in operation.

I also feel a need to take exception to the notion that only city folk are opposed to the projects. That may be true for some places, but it most certainly is not the case for many counties in Virginia and West Virginia. There are locals strongly opposed to the developments proposed in Highland, Pendleton and Greenbrier counties.

I would like to point out that one thing wind turbines most certainly won’t be able to do is reduce our dependence upon foreign oil. Just 3 percent of electricity in the United States is generated by the use of oil. The vast majority of our oil consumption goes to transportation. Oil-fired plants stand little if any chance of being shut down by wind energy.

Maryland residents should be thrilled that it is difficult to site a wind plant in their state. It isn’t too hard here; it’s too easy in the other locations.

JIMMY TRAGLE

Whaleyville, Md.

Pressure Sudan with a no-fly zone

Owen Price asks what can be done to influence Khartoum, Sudan, to accept the United Nations-mandated peacekeeping force for Darfur, despairing of the legal issues surrounding “uninvited” NATO intervention (“Darfur options,” Forum, Sunday). He later mentions enforcement of a no-fly zone as an immediate term option.

The no-fly zone also provides a way to outflank Chinese and Russian objections and corner the recalcitrant Sudanese government into accepting the U.N. force. Sudanese regular and janjaweed forces, which just this week attacked neighboring Chad, would be tremendously vulnerable to NATO air power. Furthermore, the no-fly zone could be established in French air bases in Chad forthwith and instituted as protection to the outgunned African Union forces, which already receive logistical assistance from NATO, thus bypassing any chance for China and Russia to veto action. Sudan’s resistance to the U.N. force would be a lot harder with its air force out of the equation and its ground forces threatened.

As he did in the Balkans and West Africa, British Prime Minister Tony Blair is leading the West in its response, seeing a no-fly zone as the prybar to force Khartoum to cooperate. He needs explicit support from both Washington and Paris to make it happen. He deserves that support.

KURT BASSUENER

Senior associate

Democratization Policy Institute

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jihadist threat in India

The timely editorial welcoming the formal signing of U.S.-Indian nuclear ties is notable for its foresightedness (“U.S.-India nuclear ties,” yesterday). However, jihadis and their sponsors have voiced displeasure over the emerging close ties between the two nations. This deserves close attention.

Pakistan and the usual suspects from Middle East have made a passionate 30-plus-year effort to indoctrinate, establish and fund terror cells in Indian Muslim communities. This investment toward Islamic conquest of infidels finally is paying off. Last month, the Indian home minister warned that Indian nuclear installations are on an Islamic terror hit list along with oil refineries. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s regime, elected through a voting bloc controlled by jihadists, has been more than accommodating toward them. This regime even has rescinded an anti-terror law and has made India’s ability to defeat radical Islam difficult. A disorganized and divided Hindu majority has been taken advantage of by united jihadists.

In the long run, if the United States wants an effective ally in India and wants democracy to succeed there, it must side with Hindu-majority organizations and help them undermine Indian jihadis. Otherwise, the trend in intensifying Islamic terrorism and its siege of Indian democracy shows that the promise of U.S.-Indian ties likely will go unfulfilled and jihadis will destroy another critical democratic ally in South Asia.

MOORTHY MUTHUSWAMY

Coram, N.Y.

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