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Sensibilities on the trail

Ryan Messmore is right that the presidential candidates should be given an opportunity to explain how faith informs their personal views and influences their thinking on public policy in more than 60-second sound bites (“Faith on the hustings,” Commentary, Tuesday). However, the candidates also bear a responsibility to remember the sensibilities of those Americans who are not of the majority faith, and those of no faith, who might feel uncomfortable with too much emphasis on religion in the campaign.

Appealing to voters along religious lines can be divisive, contrary to the American ideal of including all citizens in the political process, and can open the door to promises that violate the separation of government and religion.

In discussing faith on the campaign trail, the candidates must above all use good judgment and be sensitive to the fact that the American electorate is politically and religiously diverse.

ABRAHAM H. FOXMAN

National director

Anti-Defamation League

New York City

Turkey’s strategy

The Turkish bombing raids against the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Iraq have significant implications for the wider region and for the delicate relationships between the political players involved (“Turkish strike hits Kurdish rebels,” World, Monday).

By opening Iraqi airspace to bombing raids, the United States has given its clear approval to the Turkish strategy of suppressing the Kurdish movement’s fight for a separatist state in Turkey.

However, at the same time, the United States is supporting the Kurds in their separatist ambitions in both Iraq and Iran.

America was heavily involved in the drafting of Iraq’s interim constitution, which set out a program for dividing Iraq along ethnic lines into three separate regions under a limited central government.

The Iraqis amended this when they adopted their own constitution in 2005, but on Sept. 26, the U.S. Senate passed a non-binding resolution, supported by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, approving the three-way division of Iraq.

This would effectively create an oil-rich, autonomous Kurdish state on Turkey’s border, strengthening the campaign for a wider Kurdistan.

Meanwhile, the United States is giving covert support to the PKK’s sister organization, Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), in the Kurdish areas of northwestern Iran.

In August 2007, the leader of PJAK was permitted to visit Washington to seek political and military support from the United States, and according to a 2006 article in the New Yorker, the U.S. military is giving PJAK equipment and training.

The United States is walking a dangerous political tightrope in supporting the Turkish determination to crush the Kurdish separatist movement within Turkey’s borders while simultaneously supporting and fueling a resurgence of Kurdish nationalism in Iraq and Iran.

STEFAN SIMANOWITZ

Chairman

Westminster Committee on Iran

London

Nicaragua and abortions

The Associated Press story “Nicaraguan abortion ban proves deadly” (World Briefing, Nov. 27) is misleading and grossly inaccurate.

The facts: In November 2006, with massive support of the people of Nicaragua and their elected representatives, legislation went into effect removing an outdated, phony “therapeutic” abortion exception that was open to abuse and incompatible with modern medical, moral and legal principles.

In the year since the pro-life legislative change went into effect:

1) Maternal deaths declined 23 percent in the first 47 weeks of 2007.

2) These maternal deaths reported by the Ministry of Health of Nicaragua include all kinds of deaths from the beginning of pregnancy until six weeks after delivery (accidents, murders, suicides and non-obstetrical deaths).

3) Eighty percent of those deaths occur at the end of pregnancy from conditions such as eclampsia, hemorrhages and puerperal sepsis.

4) No woman has died in Nicaragua for not having a “therapeutic” abortion since the practice was banned in November 2006.

5) As before, women with complications from pregnancy must be offered necessary treatment, even if such treatment may indirectly cause the death of their unborn babies. The law allows such medical procedures, and physicians failing to provide such care are liable.

The above positive results are similar to those in other countries with strict anti-abortion legislation, such as Chile, El Salvador and Ireland.

Another positive result, not in any way to be minimized, is that more Nicaraguan children have escaped the abortionists’ knives, poisons and suction machines.

This AP story has helped fuel unprecedented international interference in Nicaragua’s national life. For more than a year, our country has been subjected to intense pressure, not only from the usual radical feminist and misguided human rights internationalists, but also from some foreign governments, including some European countries that have threatened to cut off their financial aid to our country if we don’t change our law to suit their pro-abortion views.

Thankfully, Nicaragua has been able so far to resist this pressure. Our sovereignty is still intact. The entire free world needs to look up to Nicaragua as an example of courage and strength in the face of a never-before-seen effort to strip Nicaragua of its sovereignty and dignity.

DR. WALTER MENDIETA

President

Asociacion Medica Nicaraguense

Managua, Nicaragua

Lucia Bohemer

President

Asociacion Nicaraguense de la Mujer

Managua, Nicaragua

Dr. Rafael J. Cabrera

Rector

Universidad de Ciencias Medicas

Managua, Nicaragua

Bail out is not a good idea

Someone should inform former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan that an impostor is ruining his good name.

The real Alan Greenspan sought to place the country on a fiscally sound course and regularly testified before Congress to urge that deficit spending come to an end.

The new Alan Greenspan has endorsed a plan even worse than the administration’s reprehensible scheme to provide rate adjustments for subprime mortgage borrowers who expect to have difficulty paying their obligations when rates reset next year (“Greenspan urges cash bailouts,” Business, Monday).

It is with amazement and dismay that I note that in referring to the handouts, Mr. Greenspan said, “Cash is available, and we should use that in larger amounts, as is necessary, to solve the problems of the stress of this.”

Cash is available? What cash? The country continues to run deficits in the hundreds of billions of dollars per year, thanks largely to our senseless war in Iraq and the amount of the deficit is consistently and significantly understated because of consistent demands for more money for that war.

On President Bush’s watch, the national debt has ballooned from $5 trillion to more than $9 trillion, or about $30,000 for every American, and now Mr. Greenspan wants us to spend hundreds of billions more to void mortgage contracts and to destroy the concept of personal responsibility?

Esteemed Carnegie-Mellon University economics professor and longtime Fed watcher Allan H. Meltzer responded to Mr. Greenspan’s comments, stating, “It is not a good idea for the government to bail out people who make mistakes.” May Mr. Meltzer’s common sense spread throughout the land, and may we regain our bearings.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

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