- The Washington Times - Friday, January 6, 2006

‘Munich’ is as Mr. Spielberg does

“When warring with evil,” Suzanne Fields observed Monday in the Op-Ed “Turning Munich into a movie,” “the civilized world must be wary of negotiating compromises with its cherished values.”

That’s the problem with Steven Spielberg’s movie “Munich.” Americans, including Mr. Spielberg, and some Israelis (as depicted) cannot fathom the one-dimensionality of evil.

But, bless us, we don’t comprehend, for example, how many football fields constitute the enormity of the evil of the Holocaust. And how quickly we lose the nerve to defeat terrorists, “recuperated” from the depravity of their acts, especially those of September 11.

Many of us, perhaps Mr. Spielberg as well, wishfully think of evil acts as products of an impoverished childhood (unlike the middle-class terrorists we more frequently observe), or of the children of Palestinians consigned to refugee camps by “friendly” Arab neighbors who have refused for generations to allow them citizenship in the countries of their sojourn. Maybe we’ll wake up and discover, much as Mr. Spielberg does at the end of his movie, that September 11 was a dream and that the Twin Towers still stand.

Evil is a visceral phenomenon, which the hero of Munich, Avner, doesn’t recognize. He is too complicated by the sensitive soul that lurks behind his “butcher hands.”

Empathy and forgiveness are sweet in the right context, but evil demands unflinching recognition and reaction. Spielbergian equivocation is a chink in the armor of our resolve.

ONA BUNCE

Bethesda

Confirm Alito

The nomination by President Bush of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. should be confirmed by the Senate to serve as the next associate justice of the Supreme court (“Alito to be grilled on NSA wiretaps,” Page 1, Friday).

This is an outstanding and brilliant nomination. Judge Alito is an exceptionally well qualified nominee with 15 years of service on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals and experience as a U.S. attorney before that.

Senate Democrats are already on the attack, and they will hold nothing back in obstructing this highly qualified nominee to the Supreme Court. Do not let the spin from the left-wing news media pundits and repeated attacks from the Democrats distort Judge Alito’s distinguished record as a judge, former federal prosecutor and superb public servant.

Judge Alito is a well-qualified judge who will not legislate from the bench. Yes, Judge Alito should be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

AL EISNER

Wheaton

Getting Doha right

Contrary to the position taken by Marian L. Tupy (“Free trade benefits all,” Commentary, Tuesday), the recent trade talks in Hong Kong provided little opportunity for poor countries “to enhance their own prosperity.” In fact, the talks were a wasted opportunity for rich countries to deliver on development.

While trade is one of the drivers of development, it will not be the sole solution to global poverty. Professing free trade does not address the reality of the situation: Rich countries profess free-trade ideals while practicing protectionism.

In agriculture, the rules remain stacked against developing countries and poor farmers. The value of subsidies and other support to agriculture in the most developed countries now runs at $279 billion a year, over three times the value of global aid to developing countries.

For example, the U.S. government supports its 25,000 cotton farmers with annual subsidies of up to $4 billion. The resulting overproduction and dumping on world markets means that 10 million poor farmers in West Africa who depend on cotton for their livelihoods lose $200 million a year in income. Getting Doha right is not about simply liberalizing trade. It is about ensuring that trade works for development, not against it.

RAYMOND C. OFFENHEISER

President

Oxfam America

Boston

U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman writes of the country’s “leadership role” in international negotiations to further open world trade (“Keeping DOHA alive,” Commentary, yesterday).

Such negotiations are fine, but if President Bush were truly principled on this subject he would ask Congress to remove all U.S. trade barriers and agricultural subsidies immediately and unconditionally. Not only would America’s unilateral move to free trade benefit Americans and the world, but it would set an unambiguous example of true leadership for politicians across the globe.

DONALD J. BOUDREAUX

Chairman

Department of Economics

George Mason University

Fairfax

Labor centers, labor problems

Nonprofits like CASA of Maryland Inc. fear that if the current immigration reform and enforcement bill that just passed the House of Representatives is passed in the Senate, they could not continue helping illegal aliens get jobs (“Nonprofits fear bill will shut down labor centers,” Metropolitan, Wednesday). These agencies shouldn’t be aiding and abetting illegal aliens in the first place.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an 11 percent unemployment rate (for Americans) in the construction industry. And these so-called nonprofit day-labor centers are skirting the law, with illegal aliens in jobs in construction and other industries while Americans remain unemployed. It’s a disgrace.

Why do these agencies think it is legal or moral to displace American workers or depress their wages? I can’t think of a more un-American act. Americans should write their senators and tell them to support American workers and support the bill.

LORRIE HALL

Duxbury, Mass.

In response to the article “Nonprofits fear bill will shut down labor centers”: It’s high time we draw the line and enforce our immigration laws. Special-interest groups have been playing tag with the law by referring illegals to employers who wink at the law and hire them with flimsy documentation. They know they are skirting the law by turning a blind eye to obvious flawed papers that they know are fake, but all they have to say is that they are not in the business of authenticating their validity.

They refuse to contact the Social Security Administration’s hot line to verify the applicant’s Social Security number because that is voluntary. It’s a “wink-wink” deal, and all they want is cheap, compliant labor. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr.’s bill would end this practice. If the Senate has guts, they will endorse the bill, but don’t hold your breath.

BYRON SLATER

San Diego

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