- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 7, 2006

Plame’s dubious allegations

Now that we know that it was Richard Armitage who initially leaked CIA agent Valerie Plame’s cover, it would be in the public’s best interest for Patrick Fitzgerald to drop his case against I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s aide (“The flameout of the Plame game,” Page 1, Tuesday).

Without question, all those in this affair who have attacked the Bush administration have acquitted themselves poorly, perhaps Mr. Fitzgerald more than the others. He knew of Mr. Armitage’s role from the beginning but proceeded with his investigation anyway, for no apparent constructive purpose.

That this imbroglio has unjustly sullied the reputations of Mr. Libby and Karl Rove is regrettable enough. Unfortunately, the damage goes beyond mere calumny, as those who stoked the fires of this controversy have behaved recklessly.

The contentions that Mrs. Plame’s husband made in print were base if not downright libelous and only helped undermine the credibility of the war effort. This is not to say that public debate should be squelched in wartime or that the administration’s prosecution of the war has been infallible, but intellectual dishonesty is always reprehensible and never more so than with respect to national security.

Still, prudence dictates that the administration eschew recriminations. Instead, it should stay on the offensive both on the battlefield and in the arena of public discourse.

As for the critics, they would be wise to keep in mind just what is incumbent upon a truly loyal opposition. Indeed, they have the responsibility to ensure, as the late Sen. Arthur H. Vandenberg once observed, that every foreign policy be totally debated. On the other hand, they must do so, again in the senator’s words, “with honest candor, devoid of prejudice or ire.”

CHARLES H. RIEPER

Columbus, Ohio

Reuters’ deceit

David Schlesinger, Global Managing Editor, Head of Editorial Operations for Reuters in New York City didn’t like the criticism leveled at his organization by Mark Steyn’s commentary piece, “Outfoxed Faustian bargaining” and said so in his letter to the editor Thursday titled “Reuters vehicle was hit.”

Defending the honesty of Reuters’ journalists and photographers reporting from Lebanon is a bit like trying to defend the honesty of Saddam Hussein. Reuters has put out story after story filled with staged photos and lies alleging Israeli atrocities only to be unmasked and embarrassed by internet bloggers who know an altered photo when they see one.

Reuters has become a tabloid news organization because its so-called news is doctored to lead the reader to the conclusion they have preordained. That’s not news reporting or journalism, it’s propaganda. All anyone has to do to learn the magnitude of Reuters’ deceit is to visit any number of Web sites offering documented proof.

Reuters is not a trusted source for news and hasn’t been so for a long time. Their biased and often anti-Semitic reporting is well known and well documented.

RICHARD W. RESSLER

North Olmsted, Ohio

Terrorism and the Bush Doctrine

The rise of al Qaeda and other “non-state actors … that answer to no central government,” as observed by Anna Badkhen in “Hezbollah-type groups rising on world stage,” (Page 1, Monday) transcends and threatens the traditional mechanisms of international peace more or less managed since the concert system of the 19th century by the superpowers and their alliances.

The elements of power in the international system used to include geography, economy, population, military, national will and so on. That now is defied by the vertical power of the non-state actors, who exercise asymmetrical military power through, for example, the suicide belt worn by one person or the box cutters carried by groups of airline passengers.

The power locus in the level of analysis of the international system used to be the nation-state. Now non-state actors, using tactics of military and quasi-military terror and extreme “national will” in fundamentalist Islam, wield as much power as the state.

As the author notes, the United States has used non-state actors such as the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan to fight our battles, much as we and our adversaries employed mercenaries and other proxies during the Cold War.

By our policy of exporting democracy to regions such as the Middle East, we are trying to establish an updated concert system in which governments answer to their public and control the nation’s ideology through the universal desire of all human beings for freedom and liberty.

The Bush Doctrine is misunderstood. It is a noble attempt to wrest back the power of democracy we wield in the hearts and minds of the world. The world should recognize this and support it if it really wants a just and durable peace.

ONA BUNCE

Bethesda

Elites and the military

Brendan Conway was on target when discussing the elites’ contempt for and ignorance of those who serve (“Elites and the military,” Op-Ed, Tuesday). Rome rose to greatness when its senators would take turns buckling on breastplate and sword and leading their own troops in battle. It fell after it began holding such pedestrian pursuits in disdain and trying to outsource the jobs Romans didn’t want to do to foreign mercenaries.

The gap is there, and it is growing wider. Mr. Conway also noted how the well-to-do get what little knowledge of the military that they have from the media. I submit that the gap between the media and military has become vast as well.

Gone are the days when films were made with great attention to detail by technical advisers and great cooperation from the military and put a positive light on our war-fighters. Instead of “The Enemy Below,” we have such abominations as “G.I. Jane.”

As a veteran, I see that folks who act and talk like true soldiers and Marines are simply gone from the silver screen. When Hollywood does attempt to portray the military, it is almost always negative and just as often inaccurate.

Perhaps novelist Robert Anson Heinlein had the best theory: Only those who had served in the military could earn their citizenship — the rest were just non-voting civilians.

RICK VAUGHAN

Melbourne, Fla.

The business of running for office

Richard T. Salmon says that we shouldn’t blame our elected officials for being politicians (“Don’t blame politicians,” Letters, Tuesday). I say that we should blame them for not being politicians.

The Oxford English Dictionary says that a politician is one versed in the theory or science of governing and practically engaged in conducting the business of the state. What most of our elected officials seem too versed in is the theory or science of getting elected and re-elected and practically engaging in the business of running for elected office.

We empower and employ our elected officials to hire persons educated and experienced in those fields required for the business of state, just as building contractors hire engineers, architects, craftsmen, laborers, etc. If they do not do so, we should fire them. They are, after all, our employees.

DARREL SALISBURY

Lorton

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