- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Israeli missile defense

While the Israeli Defense Forces are considering a missile defense system against the ongoing and future attacks, not only from Palestinian and Hezbollah rockets, but also from a number of Arab and Muslim nations including Iran and Syria (“Army sets sights on missile defense,” World, Saturday), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has chosen the exact opposite course. After his disastrous exodus from Gaza and the war against Hezbollah aggression, Mr. Olmert has negotiated a one-way truce where in Gaza, Israel will not respond to rocket attacks: showing restraint, while these same missiles continue to fall on Israel.

Since the so-called truce, more than 60 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza with no response, despite the killing and wounding of Israeli citizens and property destruction. Instead of responding, Mr. Olmert has met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and promised to release one hundred million dollars in funds to the PA, hopefully not to be used directly to supply rockets to Palestinian militant organizations.

With the tactics of Mr. Olmert, the Israeli army is warranted in placing missile defense as a top priority, as the prime minister has indicated that he will not do anything to thwart the rocket attacks.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring

Cynical politics of global warming

Please allow me to square the circle regarding the Senate’s role in addressing purported catastrophic man-made global warming, prompted by the effort of Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and others to impose legislation rationing carbon dioxide emissions while “critics accuse proponents of the Kyoto anti-global-warming treaty of substituting propaganda for argument” (“McCain’s letter,” Inside Politics, yesterday).

This rhetorical leap, from domestic legislation a fraction as stringent as Kyoto to the treaty itself, begs a question perversely absent from both public debate and the Senate floor: Why are Mr. McCain and the Democrats blocking Kyoto? The United States signed Kyoto on Nov. 12, 1998. Unlike the treaty establishing an International Criminal Court, the United States never “unsigned” Kyoto, as any senator truly concerned about the issue certainly knows. Instead, and contrary to received wisdom, President Bush, like his predecessor, has simply eschewed asking the Senate to ratify the treaty. As the very act of unsigning a treaty manifests, this is a material distinction.

Expect unprecedented Sturm und Drang in Washington on “global warming” over the next two years. Do not, however, hold your breath for Kyoto to be adopted or even for legislation to be enacted.

Readers will recall that the Democrats held the Senate majority from 2001 to 2002, during which time they loudly complained about Mr. Bush’s supposedly calamitous decision yet did not seek to move either Kyoto or even the already introduced McCain-Lieberman bill.

This despite that fact that although procedural niceties may suggest waiting for a presidential “transmittal” before acting on a treaty, nothing in the Constitution does. Quite the opposite, in fact. That document and jurisprudential precedent (the “political question” doctrine) make quite clear that no court would deny the Senate a vote on a duly signed pact.

Given the end-of-days rhetoric, certainly a concerned Senate — or even one worried senator — can muster the courage to suggest such an act? Yes, what seems to be a majority of the Senate who see only political advantage in the issue would move to block a vote on procedural grounds. This would at least place on record the cynical politics of “global warming” of which informed observers have long been aware.

CHRISTOPHER C. HORNER

Senior fellow

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington

Promoting peace in the Middle East

Yesterday’s editorial “Mahmoud Abbas and the ‘cease-fire’ ” unfairly and misleadingly describes the American Task Force on Palestine as “an organization devoted to blaming Israel for the Palestinians’ woes.” In fact, we are dedicated to promoting an end to the conflict in the Middle East based on two states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security — what President Bush has called his own vision for the future.

Far from simply “blaming Israel,” we always have been scrupulous about stressing the mutual responsibilities of all parties to create this peace.

We have built relationships of trust and respect at the highest levels with our own government, and the Palestinian and Israeli national leaderships, and I just returned from meetings with Jordanian King Abdullah II, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Our first annual gala on Oct. 11 was attended by numerous high-level officials of our government and addressed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sen. Carl Levin, both of whom praised our efforts.

Obviously, none of this is consistent with The Times’ unjust mischaracterization of the task force, but it does reflect our commitment to promoting peace and a better future for all peoples in the Middle East.

DR. ZIAD J. ASALI

President and founder

American Task Force on Palestine

Washington

Maryland’s loss

The article “Democrats’ leftward tilt will stun state, GOP warns” (Metro, Thursday) quoted Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. as saying: “The trend lines at present in our state are not very good for someone with my views and values.”

It’s a very real shame that his statement is accurate. Apparently too many voters in Maryland, influenced by the highly biased “reporting” in The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun, didn’t know a good thing when they had one. Mr. Ehrlich has been an all-too-brief interlude of class in the governor’s mansion between the likes of Parris Glendening and Martin O’Malley.

FRANK O’BRIMSKI

Garrett Park, Md.

Enough traffic, construction in Virginia

Haven’t Virginians been put through enough? The plan for high occupancy/toll (HOT) lanes on Interstate 95 and Interstate 395 is just one more insult (“Next: Speed for a fee,” Metropolitan, Monday). Years ago, the state encouraged motorists to buy hybrid vehicles, the incentive being the use of high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

Since July 2006, no newly registered hybrids have been allowed to use the I-95/I-395 HOV “to preserve the effectiveness of the HOV lanes,” according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Web site. In other words, the lanes were used so much that they became congested at times. Despite this apparent success of the HOV system, some sensation (dare I call it greed?) has caused Virginia to move toward HOT lanes, which many motorists fear will let too many paying motorists on car-pool lanes. The cure? Apparently three or four more years of I-95/395 construction to add a third lane. Mixing bowl construction began in 1999; I suppose eight years wasn’t enough?

So now Virginians can count on three more years of traffic, construction zones and “unforeseen” delays at all times of the day and night, just for the privilege of paying for lanes dedicated motorists use for free today? No thanks.

ERIC SILVESTRI

Woodbridge

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