- The Washington Times - Friday, December 22, 2006

Don’t smear good soldiers

That element within our society that seeks always to paint America’s Iraq experience with the darkest of brushes has seized upon the town of Haditha and what may have occurred there in the course of a desperate firefight (“Military charges troops with murder,” Nation, yesterday).

Did any Marine wearing the American uniform violate military law? If so, can the dedication and sacrifice of very many other young Americans thereby be called into question?

Perhaps no war, however selfless, can run its course without disappointing anomalies. Yet Americans dare to hold our own troops to an impossible standard. We ask them to sacrifice their very best effort in the most stressful of environments, under the unblinking gaze of a critical fringe ready to involve our judicial system when issues arise.

Whatever the final resolution of this case, the performance of a few Marines cannot be allowed to define an entire era. For when the definitive history of the new Iraq is written one day, it surely will reflect, above all else, the selfless humanity that continues to characterize America’s mission in Iraq.

RON GOODDEN

Atlanta

When profiling makes sense

Walter Williams equates singling out blacks for police stops because of their race with giving Muslims extra scrutiny at airports (“Profiling petulance,” Commentary, Wednesday).

“Terrorist profiles” rely on many factors — of which religion, gender and age are just a few. The Supreme Court ruled recently that race (and presumably religion) can be one factor considered in achieving a “compelling state interest.” Here, that interest is passenger safety rather than college diversity.

Such profiling programs actually reduce the overall waiting time for Muslims as well as everyone else if most (but not all) additional scrutiny beyond the initial screening is focused on those statistically most likely to be terrorists: young Muslim males.

Indeed, if I visited South Africa when white separatists were threatening hijackings, I would support additional scrutiny for white males. It would reduce my waiting time and make me feel safer.

JOHN F. BANZHAF III

Professor of public interest law

George Washington University

Law School

FAMRI Dr. William Cahan

Distinguished Professor

Washington

Iraq and religious minorities

I am writing in response to your editorial “Iraq’s embattled minorities” (yesterday), which claims that approximately 40 percent of Iraqi refugees are religious minorities. The U.N. HighCommissionerof Refugees has found that 40 percent of the approximately 90,000 Iraqi refugees it has registered, or about five percent of total refugees, are religious minorities. We have not yet surveyed total Iraqi refugees — no one has — and for reasons of self-selection, we suspect that the percentage in total will be lower. No one knows for sure, at least not yet. So we caution against your use of this figure as a reflection of the total Iraqi refugee population.

Nonetheless,UNHCR strongly shares your concerns about the impact of the emerging humanitarian crisis in the region on the well-being of such individuals. That is why we have identified religious minorities as one of nine extremely vulnerable groups who should be expeditiously registered and considered for third-country resettlement when appropriate. We count on the partnership of the United States in undertaking this exercise, not only for funding but also for its proud tradition of welcoming refugees who are unable to find safety in either their host country or the country of origin.

MICHEL GABAUDAN

Regional Representative for the U.S. and the Caribbean

U.N. High Commissioner of Refugees

Washington

Russia’s perverse monopolists

The excellent two-part series on Russian energy production revealed two disturbing underlying trends: 1) the extent to which Western European political leaders will jeopardize the economic futures of their countries for empty gestures and 2) the cold ruthlessness of government-owned monopoly enterprises (“Ice cold black gold,” Page 1, Sunday and “Russia rises on global oil demand,” Page 1, Monday).

In 2004, many Western Europeans clamored for Russian President Vladimir Putin to sign the Kyoto Protocol limiting carbon dioxide emissions. The Russian Academy of Sciences correctly reported that the protocol is without scientific merit. Even if carbon dioxide is the major cause of current climate change, the protocol will do little to prevent climate change. Nevertheless, Mr. Putin and the Russian Federation approved it.

Many commented that Mr. Putin had agreed in exchange for Western European support of Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization. However, it appears Mr. Putin is a step ahead. He realized that with Russia’s acceptance, the protocol becomes binding on European Union countries. Now many of those countries face stark choices to meet the protocol: 1) Convert from coal to cleaner natural gas — which is supplied by Russia; 2) use more expensive nontraditional methods for generating energy; 3) embrace nuclear energy; 4) import liquefied natural gas or 5) ignore Kyoto. The last three alternatives horrify environmental groups.

The Russian government is a calculating monopolist in natural gas. It nationalized private firms by claiming criminal behavior, forced higher prices on neighboring countries by cutting off supplies and is forcing companies such as Shell to accept it as a partner by threatening criminal charges. Further, it subsidizes Russian industries by charging far lower prices for domestic use than for export. These actions are contrary to the principles of the World Trade Organization. As they become more dependent on Russian natural gas, EU countries will discover that this bear bites, and Russia will charge higher prices to EU industries while further subsidizing its industries.

Some accuse Wal-Mart of exporting jobs by buying from low-price suppliers in Asia. However, consumers benefit from lower prices. Western European leaders are exporting jobs to Russia in exchange for higher prices.

KENNETH A. HAAPALA

Fairfax

Military manpower needs

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker indicated that more troops are needed to sustain the commitments to the global war on terror that the Army must carry out (“Iraq army recruitment to hit mark,” Page 1, Wednesday).

Now, faced with continuing deployments of troops who already have been in combat more than they have been home for years on end, Army leaders are speaking out. As reported in earlier stories, Gen. Schoomaker told the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves that the temporary 30,000-person increase in manpower needs to be made permanent and that the Army needs to continue to grow by an additional 7,000 a year.

The Army is incapable of generating and sustaining the required forces to wage the global war on terror without active, Guard and Reserve components surging together.

I would urge the new Democrat-dominated Congress to look seriously at this situation and act on the military budget accordingly. Guard and Reserve component leaders also have indicated a willingness to look at some rule adjustments but worry that broad use of two-year call-ups could break the Guard and Reserve forces.

AL EISNER

Wheaton

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