- The Washington Times - Monday, August 20, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The truth about ‘immigrants’

Ceaselessly stoking up xenophobia, Michelle Malkin asserts that the recent horrific murders in Newark, N.J., are yet more evidence that immigrants are especially likely to commit crimes (“Sanctuary nation or sovereign nation?” Commentary, Saturday). She’s mistaken.

Economists Kristin Butcher and Anne Piehl carefully examined the data and found that the incarceration rate of immigrants is only one-fifth that of the native population. The rate is even lower for recently arrived immigrants. Further, this fact is not the result of deportation. And finally, in their demographic groups, immigrants are only one-tenth as likely to commit crimes as are native-born Americans in those groups.

Ignorance of the facts is, well, criminal.

DONALD J. BOUDREAUX

Chairman

Department of Economics

George Mason University

Fairfax

Government is the answer

The editorial “Health spending at five times defense?” (Saturday) should be a wake-up call to U.S. taxpayers and our representatives. We cannot afford or sustain the health-care system we have, but we can’t seem to extricate ourselves from its pro-market, multi-insurer entanglements.

I appreciated the clear presentation of the trend data — the comparatively high percentage of GDP expended, the potential drain on funds needed for other services and sectors of the economy.

One key cost factor must be highlighted: the escalating administrative costs of the private insurers. While publicly funded Medicare holds overhead to less than 3 percent, private insurers report administrative costs running at 20 to 30 percent.

Your projection that health spending could approach the “entire U.S. military budget” is indeed startling.

Here is another interesting link between health care and defense. In 2006, the Department of Defense listed Humana as No.12 among defense contractors. The corporation was paid $2,635,261,700 in that fiscal year. If all that money were used by Humana’s TRICARE to provide health care for non-active-duty military and their families, that’s a good thing. But if 20 cents to 30 cents on every dollar went to profits and CEO salaries, the taxpayer should be very concerned.

HARRIETTE SEILER

Louisville, Ky.

The dangers of ‘Hillarycare’

The dangers of ‘Hillarycare’Those who are following Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s plan to revive “Hillarycare,” her disastrous 1993-94 attempt to force government-run health care down the throats of the American people, or who are promoting only slightly less terrible alternative plans, should take a look north of the border.

The article “Rare identical quadruplets born” (Nation, Saturday) told the story of Karen Jepp of Calgary, Alberta. She was facing the obviously risky delivery of quadruplets, but she didn’t get in line at a Canadian health-care facility. She “drove 325 miles to Great Falls,” Mont. — in the United States of America — “because hospitals in Calgary were at capacity.”

No surprise there: the only way Canada can maintain its costly health-care system is by operating at full- or higher capacity, and by relying on U.S. hospitals to absorb the overflow, or to handle emergencies like a 7-month multiple-fetus delivery. But where would people — Canadian or American — go for immediate hospital care if the United States were to adopt a system like Canada’s and become equally overburdened?

LYNDA MEYERS

Arlington

Homosexuals in the military

As Army officers with combat experience, we appreciate the recent Op-Ed column by Maj. Daniel L. Davis regarding recent polling of service personnel about homosexual troops and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (“Homosexuals in the military,” Wednesday).

He brings a welcome voice in the debate over the issue, and his analysis of a recent Zogby poll shows that he correctly places value in its results (as it’s the only scientifically valid survey to date of the opinions of military combat personnel). His passion for a combat-effective military is laudable. However, his rationale and conclusions bear further scrutiny.

The Zogby poll specifically asked about the impact of known homosexuals on unit morale. Among service members who knew there were homosexual members in their unit, 64 percent said there was no impact on unit morale, compared to only 27 percent who thought there was a negative impact. But when the troops did not know for certain there were homosexuals in their unit, 26 percent thought there would be no impact, compared to 58 percent who thought there would be a negative impact. Thus, when the reality of homosexuals serving alongside the troops is known, much of the assumed negative impact disappears.

Maj. Davis puts a lot of emphasis on the fact that 37 percent of the combat and combat support troops did not favor allowing homosexuals to serve openly, compared to 26 percent who did (with 32 percent being neutral and 5 percent unsure). Yet, like the above data, when these numbers are analyzed with respect to the personal knowledge of the existence of homosexual troops in their own unit, there is a significant shift in opinion toward allowing homosexuals to serve openly (unpublished data supplied by the Zogby poll analysts).

Above and beyond the mere numbers, however, we must also remember that our men and women in uniform are consummate professionals who carry out the leadership example set by officers and senior noncommissioned officers. As such, any views that religious differences could create a climate of distrust simply do not stand up. In fact, homosexual troops are already serving with the knowledge of their peers, and by all evidence their units are performing admirably, regardless of individual service members’ religious backgrounds. This demonstrates that differing religious views are not a detriment to combat readiness. As a senior Army officer recently told us, “our soldiers are not white, black, brown, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, gay, straight or whatever — our soldiers are all Army green.”

The bottom line is simply this: many homosexual troops are already serving openly in both combat and combat support operations. This fact is known by many of their peers. Nearly three-quarters of combat and combat support troops say they are comfortable working with homosexuals and lesbians. Unit cohesion and combat readiness in our military is the best in the republic’s history, clearly not diminished by the known presence of homosexual troops. It’s time for military leaders to call for an end to the outdated law that prevents capable patriotic Americans from honestly serving their country or, worse, forces the military to discharge much-needed highly trained and experienced personnel. It’s long past time to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

COL. STEWART BORNHOFT

Army (retired)

San Diego

COL. E. A. LEONARD

Army (retired)

Lexington, Va.

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