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The common good

In his letter Wednesday, Scott W. Atlas contends that only the private sector can cure what ails our health-care system (“Giuliani’s health plan”). Nothing could be further from the truth. Government does a goodjobadministering Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and will do likewise with a single-payer universal health care plan that covers all Americans.

Greedy insurance and pharmaceutical companies will fight to the bitter end opposing needed universal health care. If Mr. Atlas wants to call universal health care “socialism,” so be it. Socialism is not all bad, and capitalism is not all good. They can coexist to serve the common good, thereby making America a better place for all.

The public sector, led by politicians who won’t take campaign contributions from insurance and pharmaceutical companies, can provide the cure for our health care problems.

PAUL L. WHITELEY SR.

Louisville, Ky.

LOST at sea

I write in response to Lawrence Kogan’s rant about the Law of the Sea Treaty (“LOST and found,” Commentary, Wednesday). Mr. Kogan opposes U.S. accession to this treaty, but he omits any and all description of its substance, preferring to deal in false generalities about “the precautionary principle” (of all things) and out-of-context statements. He tries to scare readers by suggesting that, were we a party to the treaty, the Constitution would no longer apply to “our territories and our territorial waters, including the continental shelf” and that “private property and due process rights would be lost.” Rather than rant in response, I simply challenge Mr. Kogan to provide a single scrap of textual support in the treaty for his statements. As a former delegate to the negotiations, I know he cannot.

Of course, Mr. Kogan also neglects to mention the broad and deep support this treaty has garnered, having been reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 19-0 in the previous Congress and recently endorsed yet again by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He tells us that President Reagan “deep-sixed” the treaty, but neglects to mention that the sole basis of Mr. Reagan’s refusal to sign on in 1982 was Part XI, dealing with the deep seabeds beyond national jurisdiction, or that those provisions were massively renegotiated in 1994 to satisfy the United States (and a few others).

This treaty has been in effect for more than a decade, with 155 parties. The United States is the sole important holdout, having been hamstrung thus far by a scurrilous disinformation campaign from the paranoid right. On June 13, The Washington Times published “Reap the bounty” (Op-Ed) by Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England. It was a succinct explanation of why the United States should accede. Perhaps you should reprint it as a public service.

ROBERT J. MCMANUS

Washington

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