- The Washington Times - Friday, September 1, 2006

French duplicity

There is nothing “apparent” about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s failure to nail down specific rules of engagement (” ‘Peacekeeping’ farce in Lebanon,” Editorial, Monday). Miss Rice has earned the dubious distinction of joining Frank B. Kellogg, Secretary of State during the Coolidge administration, as secretaries of state who have been snookered by the French.

Mr. Kellogg co-authored the Kellogg-Briand Pact which “outlawed” war. It was co-authored by French foreign minister Aristide Briand and was signed in 1928. For that pact, Mr. Kellogg was made a member of the French Legion of Honor and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929. World War II began 10 years later.

SEYMOUR KLEIMAN

Baltimore

Fixing Social Security

John Walsh (“A golden opportunity for Social Security” Letters, Tuesday) made some interesting points on Social Security, but got the main points wrong. First, he said we should raise the interest rates on the government bonds that are purchased with the Social Security surplus. But the crisis will come not when the bonds are used up (which is delayed by increasing the interest rate), but as soon there is no longer a surplus. At that point, the Social Security Administration will have to redeem the bonds, and the money for that redemption will have to come out of the general funds.

Mr. Walsh’s other solution is to use the surplus to buy gold, which he claims keeps up with inflation. Assuming his assertion is correct, we would still have to find money in the general fund now to replace the Social Security surplus that is currently going in (in return for those bonds).

Both solutions ignore the real cause of the problem, which is that we have fewer workers per retiree, and that ratio keeps getting lower. (That’s a good thing — we’re living longer.) The solution really is as simple once one recognizes the cost: fix the percentage of people eligible for Social Security, based on the Census. For example, let’s assume that the 2000 Census says that 15 percent of the population was over 65 in 2000. Then the 2010 Census comes out, and says the oldest 15 percent are over 67. Then over the next ten years, we slowly increase the retirement age until it is 67, when the next Census comes out.

With this solution, Congress only has to pass it once, and let the retirement age float upward as our population ages.

JACK SCHEIBLE

Springfield, Va.

Media bias and national security

According to Tuesday’s editorial, (“Biased TV messages”) CBS never did cite the polls stating that close to 90 percent of Americans believe immigration is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem. Whether true or not, this says something about CBS’s priorities. By focusing on immigration and neglecting the threat we face if we abandon Iraq or anti-terrorism surveillance programs, the left-wing media is doing the American public a disservice.

Nearly five years after September 11, al Qaeda still operates. Furthermore, beyond taking the lives of U.S. soldiers, extremist militias in Iraq impede bringing democracy to the Middle East. At the same time, rogue nations like Iran (a country with terrorist ties and the main supporter of Hezbollah) are enriching uranium while ignoring the U.N. Security Council. The United States should not abort national security programs and consequently declare the war on terror finished — that is, until another September 11 happens.

Nor should the United States set a timetable in Iraq and consequently let extremist militias fight for control of Iraq — that is until another Saddam Hussein comes into power. Lastly, it is not the time to pretend immigration is the most serious issue in Washington and consequently make it a priority above national security or winning the war in Iraq.

It doesn’t matter how many protesters demand guest-worker passes. Immigration is not America’s most serious problem. In comparison to national security, it is neither “very serious” nor “somewhat serious.”

What does matter is eliminating terrorist groups, which means implementing anti-terrorism surveillance programs and winning the war in Iraq, not surrendering. Protecting the American people is the government’s first priority; everything else comes second. If the media have the public’s best interests in mind, then their its will be no different.

MARTIN H. SAAVEDRA

Kensington Md.

MoveOn and hate speech

In his column “Donkey see, monkey do,” Robert Goldberg demonstrates that he’s stuck in the 20th century (Op-Ed, Tuesday). You would think that by this point a newspaper columnist would know how online forums work.

The MoveOn ActionForum, like most online sites aimed at stimulating debate, allows anyone, not just MoveOn members, to post.

MoveOn doesn’t endorse the opinions expressed on the forum. And of course, as soon as we saw the post that Mr. Goldberg is referring to, we took it down.

Doesn’t Mr. Goldberg have better things to write about — like the fiasco in Iraq?

ELI PARISER

Political Action Executive Director

MoveOn.org

Portland, ME

The D.C. mayoral race

Mayoral Candidate Vincent Orange Sr. may be coining himself as the “citrus” man, symbolic of health and vitality, but his seemingly arrogant attitude and assessment of front-runner mayoral candidates Adrian Fenty and Linda W. Cropp depict small-minded jabs when he focuses on the age of both candidates (“Orange just won’t give Fenty a sporting chance,” Metropolitan, Monday). Mr. Orange, who directs most of his criticism at Mr. Fenty, contends that Mr. Fenty is too inexperienced at his age for the job and portrays him as an individual who is only skilled at writing e-mails. On the opposite end of the age spectrum, he asserts that Mrs. Cropp is “over the hill” and that is it “time for her to go.”

Mr. Orange’s comments are far from worldly and portray a lack of prudence in understanding both the candidates and the issues. Age should not even be a consideration much less a criticism on either end of the spectrum. If he wants to focus on age, he should consider the fact that Mr. Fenty, age 35, is in his prime and is active, bright, goal-oriented, and highly ambitious. Mrs. Cropp, who is older than Mr. Fenty, is certainly not “over the hill” but can tout the acquisition of her life experience and wisdom that she has accumulated throughout her life’s journey that can enhance her position as a candidate.

Mr. Orange has clearly demonstrated a degree of pettiness by his comments. Perhaps he is intimidated by his opposing candidates and knows of no other way to gain attention than to vocalize a low-blow attempt to draw attention to his trailing candidacy. With his vocal attacks on Mr. Fenty and Ms. Cropp, he certainly has not demonstrated that he is unbiased regarding chronological age. This consideration should cause voters to pause and reflect on how he would treat older residents and deal with their issues or how he would deal with matters involving age discrimination.

Mr. Orange may tout himself as “citrus” to be cute, but the crux of the issue surrounding his disapproval of Mr. Fenty and Mrs. Cropp leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth. Perhaps it is time for Mr. Orange, rather than Mrs. Cropp, “to go.”

KAREN L. BUNE

Arlington

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