- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Abortion

Timothy Harker writes that the 14th Amendment does not apply the Bill of Rights to state and local government (“Judges or missionaries?” Forum, Dec. 17). Wrong. The sponsors of the Fourteenth Amendment clearly intended it to do just that, and the Congress that approved the amendment understood it that way. Unfortunately, it took until the 1920s for the Supreme Court to start applying the amendment.

As for abortion, it was legal and not uncommon at the time the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified. Laws restricting women’s choice were not passed until many years later and for reasons that do not hold up today. Every woman’s right to decide whether or not to continue a problem pregnancy is protected by the First, Ninth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Roe v. Wade did not strip the states or the people of any power they should have. Indeed, Roe freed women to make their own decisions of conscience unhindered by the whims of permanent or temporary majorities of mostly male legislative bodies.

EDD DOERR

President

Americans for Religious Liberty

Silver Spring

Teens and drugs

The claimed 23 percent reduction of teen drug use from 2001 to 2006 is technically true but is still very small (“Teens’ use of illegal drugs drops,” Page 1, Friday). For example, high-school problem smokers (those who smoke every day) fell to 4 percent from 5 percent. That’s 25 percent, according to data from monitoringthefuture.org.

Because the drug war gets the credit, let’s look at the other side of the ledger. First, the annual $10 billion spent to house half a million drug prisoners and $20 billion spent by the federal government on the drug war. Also, the unintended consequences: Perjured testimony by government witnesses; women and low-level dealers imprisoned because they have no information to offer prosecutors. Consider how the exorbitant profit of the illegal market attracts unskilled men to run “meth labs” and sell drugs on the street. Finally, those suffering from illnesses who use narcotics to relieve pain are sent to prison because they cut corners to get the relief denied them by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

That 23 percent reduction is really a 1 percent decline in problem smokers. Even if the drug war gets all the credit, it is a bad deal for Americans.

JOHN CHASE

Palm Harbor, Fla.

Enforce the law

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids upon Swift & Co. meat-packing plants were based on intelligence of illegal corporate activity in which Swift was knowingly employing illegal aliens (“Hispanic groups slam Swift raids,” Nation, Dec. 20). In my opinion, Swift has collaborated with agents within the illegal community to perpetuate an ongoing criminal enterprise. The chief executive and board should have been sitting next to the other criminals who were arrested. The plants should have been seized by the United States and all of Swift’s assets frozen until a detailed investigation into the company’s employment practices can be completed.

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the National Council of La Raza and others rightfully complain that civil rights have been violated. Yes they have been — mine and those of every other citizen and legal resident. Their whining about psychological hardships on the immigrants and their families falls on deaf ears.

Rosa Rosales of LULAC demands that we provide “amnesty” to these criminals so that they “can strengthen our economy legally.” The real point here is the word “our.” It is not the U.S. economy for which Ms. Rosales is concerned. The dollars sent back to Mexico by illegals combined with the social benefits that Mexico does not have to pay amounts to the second-greatest source of revenue for the Mexican government. That is Ms. Rosales’ concern.

I urge Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to step up these raids and continue to protect the constitutional rights of each American citizen and legal resident.

WILSON FARIS

Gaithersburg

A case for ‘marriage’

Same-sex marriage opponent Maggie Gallagher (along with Linda J. White) tells us that “married men and women are more likely to be wealthy and healthy, live longer lives, and have high levels of sexual satisfaction and low levels of depression and suicide” (“U.S. out of love with marriage?” Page 1, Tuesday). Without the need for more, that represents full justification for formal authorization of same-sex marriages because, obviously, these unquestioned and unquestionable benefits of marriage would be enjoyed equally by same-sex and by opposite-sex married couples and should be. Denial of them to same-sex couples is unacceptably and irrationally discriminatory.

No valid, credible, persuasive, rational arguments have been presented by anyone for denying loving same-sex couples these very real benefits of marriage enjoyed by opposite-sex couples and in equal measure.

Thus, by her unchallengeable claims as to those benefits of marriage per se, one of the most vehement public opponents of same-sex marriage has provided persuasive and irrefutable arguments in favor of such marriages.

Case made, case closed; let same-sex couples marry on an equal basis with opposite-sex couples. We will all be the better off for it, and the institution of marriage will be significantly enhanced thereby, with no harm or detriment to anyone or anything, individually or collectively.

FRANKLIN E. KAMENY

Washington

Watching Iran

“Watching America” by Arnaud de Borchgrave (Commentary, Tuesday) is an excellent column on Middle East geopolitics and the implications for U.S. global power projections.

Mr. de Borchgrave correctly says, “The major problem with ‘bombs away’ over Iran’s nuclear installations is that Mr. Ahmadinejad may be asking Allah for just that. It would coalesce worldwide Muslim opinion behind the latest ‘victim of Zionist American imperialism.’ It would also produce the kind of regional mayhem Mr. Ahmadinejad sees as a precondition for the return to Earth of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi. He’s the 5-year-old boy who vanished 1,100 years ago who will lead the world back to prosperity under the banner of Islam.”

It should be mentioned that Shi’ite Iran expects the 12th Imam to deliver Shi’ite Islamic supremacy. This is what Wahabi Sunni Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab/Islamic countries will not accept under any circumstances. Further, no one should expect Israel to wait for possible destruction by Iran with nuclear bombs. As under all these possibilities, there would be danger to global oil and gas supplies, and prices could rocket with very severe consequences for the world economy. It is necessary for the United States to stand firm and ensure that Iran does not get nuclear capability. Even if Iran does not blink, (but it could because of huge internal pressures) any cost would be less than the one for appeasement and accepting defeat by Iran. Because of Shi’ite-Sunni differences of opinion, not all Muslims will support Iran, either.

VIPUL THAKORE

London

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