- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Reuters vehicle was hit

Mark Steyn’s column “Outfoxed Faustian bargaining” (Commentary, Monday) reveals nothing more than an attempt at slander. The Israeli army itself says that it hit a Reuters news agency armored vehicle, explaining that it had failed to recognize that the car was carrying journalists and saying it regretted hurting them.

That Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana was injured is beyond doubt; he was treated in a hospital and is lucky he wasn’t more seriously hurt.

The cause and profession of journalism are well served by the brave men and women of all nationalities who report objectively from the front lines. That bravery is magnified when they report from their own countries where conflict engulfs their neighborhoods and lives and yet they manage to maintain their professionalism and integrity.

Those are qualities that, alas, some columnists seem unable to reflect.

Neither professionalism nor its opposite belong to a nationality. I hope the readers of The Washington Times can distinguish between professional journalism and unprofessional attacks.

DAVID SCHLESINGER

Global managing editor

Head of editorial operations

Reuters

New York City

Why do we go to war?

Arnaud de Borchgrave again writes a column that pierces the weakening armor of those who defend this war as it is being fought (“Wrong ‘ism,’ wrong history,” Commentary, Sunday). The war’s critics are neither unpatriotic nor appeasers. There is no doubt we are in a terrible fight with a new kind of enemy. I agree that there are many groups of people in this country who deny such a thing, but let’s forget about them for a minute and just work with those who know a terrible battle is about to occur.

Once we agree that there is a war, the question is how to wage it. We forget what Gen. George S. Patton said about battle: “We are not interested in having our soldiers die for our country. We are interested in having their soldiers die for their country.” A lot of critics, including Mr. de Borchgrave, point this out. We do our country and our cause no good if we waste men, machinery and/or money in a war that never can achieve its stated goals.

We, as countless civilizations have done previously, have gotten our idea of causation mixed up. Democracy, as a means, works well when good people get together and try to work for the benefit of all, but you can rest assured that democracy, as an end, does not cause people to become good. Similarly, business succeeds when good people work together to achieve a fair and free exchange of value.

What scares me is that we seem to have foolish businessmen trying to be statesmen. Such leaders are forgetting, probably unintentionally, their moral duty — to care first and foremost about their country and not about the profit margin of their business interests. Subsequently, the first error leads to the second — fighting a foolish war by trying to make democracy do what it cannot ever do, make people be good people.

This combination would make Gen. Patton cringe. War is to be fought to defend your family and country. It is not fought to defend your standard of living. War is to be fought to win your own freedom from tyranny. It is not to be fought to win another country’s freedom from tyranny. War is never good for business or for the world. It is never a good cause.

War is always a last resort. That is why Americans are becoming fed up, even those who voted for President Bush. No one is paying attention to our danger, and the way this war is being fought has only made our situation worse. Its premises were faulty. Its stated objectives were foolish. It has wasted American men, machinery and money. I do not think for one minute that we are really any safer than on the day before September 11.

Someday a real war will come. It will wake us from our foolish dreams of business success and our utopian dream of a free and peaceful world. Life is not about success but about good and evil. It is not about business but about family and country.

ANDREW MCCARTHY

Leesburg, Va.

Keep Kosovo in Serbia

Thank you for publishing “Stability for the Balkans” by Reps. Dan Burton and Joe Wilson (Commentary, Sunday). I sincerely appreciated the congressmen’s well-reasoned arguments opposing the illegal granting of independence to Kosovo against the wishes of the Serbian government.

In considering Kosovo, let’s bear in mind that the Serbs and Albanians have coexisted in the Serbian province for more than 1,300 years. Former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito’s denial of the right of return of 200,000 Serbians who were cleansed by Albanian fascists during World War II, his encouragement of illegal migration into the province after the war and the granting of local autonomy to the province in 1974 were all in the interest of weakening and reducing Serbia.

These actions fomented an Albanian drive to ethnically “purify” Kosovo of Serbs and their 1,300-year-old cultural presence in the Serbian province for the past 60 years. Granting independence to Kosovo would be an acquiescence to the principle that terrorists can successfully alter the borders of sovereign nations and that national borders mean nothing — a dangerous precedent for our own nation, which also is battling illegal immigration.

Today’s Kosovo is a terrorist haven and black hole of Europe where thriving sex-slave and drug-running trades give plenty of financial support to terrorist training camps for Osama bin Laden’s followers within the province. We even have lost our own soldiers in Kosovo because of these fanatics, but our mainstream media has yet to report this.

Our nation’s struggle against this sort of barbaric Islamofascist terrorism is completely in contrast to some of our politicians’ misguided support for Kosovo’s independence. It is high time for President Bush to write a new page in Balkan history by recognizing that Serbia is one of the few truly democratic nations in the Balkans and that it is trying to put the past behind it as it looks toward a more Western-leaning future.

Serbs make up one of the largest ethnic groups in the Balkans, and thus Serbia would be an anchor of stability amidst a Pandora’s box of ethnic rivalries there. Serbia also was one of America’s staunchest allies in World War I and World War II. Let’s stop making Serbia former President Bill Clinton’s personal punching bag and endeavor to rewrite the tremendous wrongs that were done in the Balkans. For the sake of global stability and respect for national sovereignty and respect for international laws, Kosovo must stay within Serbia.

MICHAEL PRAVICA

Henderson, Nev.

‘Disinformation’ on Lebanon

Oliver North should have been looking in the mirror when he accused Human Rights Watch of “disinformation” for reporting on Israel’s July 23 attack on two clearly marked Red Cross ambulances in Qana, Lebanon (“Masters of manipulation,” Commentary, Sunday). The disinformation charge would have come as news to the six Red Cross workers injured in the attack and their three patients, including a middle-aged man who lost his leg in the attack; his elderly mother, who was partially paralyzed; and a young boy who received multiple shrapnel wounds.

The attack was confirmed by the Lebanese Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross and various Western journalists who arrived on the scene. Even the Israel Defense Forces, in a statement issued shortly afterward, admitted the attack but tried to justify it. Yet Mr. North, without bothering to visit Lebanon, somehow knows that the attack never occurred and that everyone who saw it was really just part of one big disinformation conspiracy.

It is not in Israel’s interest to endanger civilians needlessly, but Israel won’t learn the lessons of the Lebanon war if apologists like Mr. North simply wish away clearly established cases of wrongdoing.

KENNETH ROTH

Executive director

Human Rights Watch

New York City

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