- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 19, 2006

Unacceptable incursions

In his Wednesday Op-Ed column, “Open borders, closed minds,” Tony Blankley states that “a nation that has so little pride in its own territorial integrity is also due for a sharp trip downward.”

Like Mr. Blankley, I wonder why we have not sent troops to the border at least several times during the reported 216 incursions by Mexican troops, who have been reported violating our border in the past 10 years.

This is the best argument that I can think of why we must erect the fence proposed in legislation recently passed by the House and soon to be considered by the Senate. Any senator’s failure to consider these repeated incursions across our border by a foreign country cannot be ignored by anyone concerned about the security of our country.

At what point will our legislators put the importance of our national security over the benefit of cheap labor for wealthy employers, who are being subsidized by taxpayers for the cost of health care, education and welfare of this low-cost labor force? The lawmakers also must consider that many workers at the bottom rung of the employment ladder have been adversely affected by the reduced level of wages caused by illegal aliens, who often work off the books. Such workers also pay little or no taxes while sending billions of dollars, sucked out of our economy, to relatives in foreign lands.

The Senate has an opportunity to correct this egregious situation by passing the pending legislation. Failure to do so will be weighed carefully by voters in the next election.

BYRON SLATER

San Diego

More than 200 recent invasions of U.S. territory by heavily armed Mexican troops, deserters and paramilitary and not a word of protest from Gov. Rick Perry of Texas or President Bush. What is the fascination with Mexico that elicits such silence?

Why has Mr. Perry not used the National Guard to counter these invasions? Have all Texans become pacifists? Where is Mr. Bush the warrior? If these troops were Iranian or Chinese or even French, the border would be ablaze for hundreds of miles with U.S. armor and air assets.

Mr. Bush’s conduct given the continuing border crisis flies in the face of his argument that invading Iraq is a means of defending America. Let’s show some grit and defend Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and even California.

Mexican troops of any stripe must be dealt with in the same fashion as any aggressor force in a combat situation, and not by the Border Patrol.

WILSON FARIS

Gaithersburg

Maryland’s irresponsible Democrats

Wake up, Marylanders. Are you really going to let the Democrats in the Maryland legislature fleece you yet again? If you think the House Democrats’ overrides of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.’s vetoes are in your best interests, you are sadly mistaken.

When Wal-Mart moves its stores out of the state because of the new health-care regulations imposed on the company by Maryland Democrats, where will you shop for the lowest prices? Where will former Wal-Mart employees find work?

When small businesses cut back on employees and goods and services because of the increase in the minimum wage, who do you think will pay for that increase? The consumer, of course.

Don’t think you’re paying your health maintenance organization enough for health care? Don’t worry; the House Democrats took care of that, too. Do Maryland’s Democratic lawmakers really think the HMOs will absorb the new tax increases the Democrats have put on them? Of course not. We, the consumers, will be paying for that tax increase with yet even higher premiums.

The article “Overrides don’t stop Ehrlich” (Metropolitan, Thursday) reported that Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said that Democrats would “shoot [Republican leaders] down. We’re going to bury them face down in the ground, and it’ll be 10 years before they crawl out again.”

Are these the leaders the good people of Maryland want governing them? It’s time for us Marylanders to take control of our destiny and toss this arrogant Democratic legislature out the next chance we get. Only with more Republicans in the House of Delegates will Mr. Ehrlich be able to set forth his vision for a better Maryland for all of us.

LORRAINE RYAN

Berwyn Heights

Not quite that simple

As a German national living and working in Ireland since 1998, I agree with Richard Rahn that a high level of economic freedom is a desirable aim and has a beneficial economic impact in principle (“Not rocket science,” Commentary, Wednesday). However, his conclusions (foreign aid is bad and economic freedom is good) from the findings of the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom appear to be somewhat simplistic. If the distinction between the good guys and the bad guys in economic terms is that simple, why is it that Ireland, since becoming a member of the European Union in 1973, has been able to draw on very substantial financial assistance from the EU? The Irish government in turn in most cases wisely invested this “foreign aid” in infrastructure, education and economic development.

Without this massive financial support, Ireland would not be where it is today economically and politically. Just to give one example of many, over the past 20 years, the majority of roads, bypasses and bridges in Ireland often have been funded 80 percent to 90 percent by the EU. Given that the EU’s main financial contributors are the taxpayers of Germany, France and the United Kingdom, it would seem that Ireland’s success story is a result of a combination of sound economic policy and the transfer of substantial wealth from rich nations through foreign aid to poor nations. As part of the recent EU enlargement, Ireland’s reliance on EU funding is in decline, and EU funding is being redirected toward new entry members such as Estonia and Poland.

Mr. Rahn’s crusade to purge the deficiencies and shortcomings of international aid institutions is laudable, but by oversimplifying the issue, he is in danger of throwing out the baby with the bath water. Gaining economic freedom without substantial and prudently applied financial assistance is like being freed from slavery only to become unemployed, with few resources to make it as a free man or woman.

Matching economic freedom with sound financial aid/transfer of wealth has so far produced solid results. The success of the United States’ Marshall Plan in Germany after World War II is a prime example. Mr. Rahn therefore would do well to redirect his one-eyed liberating zeal from demonizing foreign aid to ensuring that resources, where given, are distributed and used wisely and efficiently.

STEFAN P. ZIEGENHAGEN

Dublin

On the wrong side of caution

Wednesday’s Page One article “High court upholds suicide law” should make all of us step back and look at the big picture. What is a “one-of-a-kind law protecting doctors who help terminally ill patients commit suicide” may not always be that as other states follow suit and begin writing their own laws defining legal doctor-assisted suicide.

A government that sanctions suicide by such legislation is erring on the wrong side of caution in its effort to demonstrate compassion. It is right to care about those who are suffering, but this care must be tempered with an old-fashioned belief in the value of suffering for the individual, the caregivers and society. “Death with dignity” is a death that respects the value of life, all life, even the life of the terminally ill who would rather be dead.

This legislation implies that such persons would experience death without dignity if they couldn’t end their lives prematurely. Who can say when a life loses its dignity (assuming it ever does)? The Supreme Court ruling decrees that the doctors in Oregon can.

ELLEN CASTELLANO

Montgomery Village

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