- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Unbelievable

Arnaud de Borchgrave (“Theaters of the absurd,” Commentary, Sunday) depicts a malady that afflicts democracies, and it may be mortal. The West is flush with high-powered technology, breeds entrepreneurs and innovators and boasts economies that outpace non-democratic neighbors. Why, then, are we unable to quell the North Koreas, Islamofascists and nationalistic socialists (like Venezuela and China)?

The answer is not so much political as existential. The democracies no longer hold any definitive beliefs, whether the Judeo-Christian ethic, the Jeffersonian credo or even the Churchillian call to vigilance. The democracies have even abandoned belief in the superiority of democratic government.Our adversaries, their leaders and adherents, have dedicated their lives — years and decades — to a cause or system of beliefs. The democracies no longer value sacrifice in the pursuit of arighteous cause and calls for sacrifice are onerous to most, regardless of that cause. In a certain sense, the Gaullists, de Gaulle himself and now French president Jacques Chirac, have won the battle of ideas in the West. Acalculating and self-absorbed “realism” has overthrown the ethic that created Europe and the birthed the democracies.

Were the Goths that hovered on the fringes of the Roman Empire so much different than our adversaries, losing battle after battle but never surrendering, passing from father to son the dream of breaking the Empire, wearing down a Rome that had abandoned its founding ideals? Even the dismissal of beliefs constitutes a belief, and we are witnessing the consequences.

THOMAS M. DORAN

Plymouth, Mich.

Amnesty stinks

In his column “McCain, the joyless hopeful” (Commentary, Saturday), Martin Schram states that Rudy Giuliani is, among other things, “pro-choice” and “pro-gay rights.” What Mr. Schram failed to mention is that Mr. Giuliani also is pro-amnesty. He refers to his position as “regularizing” illegal aliens.

Politicians are prone to use euphemisms when they wish to sprinkle perfume on rotting fish. No doubt Mr. Giuliani supports Mr. Bush’s plan for a wholesale giveaway not only of citizenship, but also of Social Security benefits and approves the border-security sham that is the National Guard with authority only to retreat when confronted by armed Mexican gangs and Mexican military on American soil.

His amnesty position smells like the Fresh Kills Landfill in New York, the largest landfill for household garbage in the United States, if not the world.

JOSEPH R. FARRELL

Alexandria

Lots of hot air

Just two weeks ago, Congress held hearings at which the Democratic leadership and environmental activists castigated the Bush administration for its purported interference with and attempted suppression of scientists whose views were not considered in line with the administration’s climate-change policy. Major media outlets joined Democrats in condemning the administration.

Now they, and major media outlets such as the New York Times and The Washington Post, are silent as democratic governors in Delaware and Oregon attempt to replace the state climatologists in their respective states simply because they dare to express skepticism concerning the human role in global warming and the claims made that it poses a serious threat to the planet (“Global-warming skeptics cite being treated like a pariah,’ ” Nation, Monday).

Former Colorado state climatologist and respected researcher Roger Pielke Jr. has called the attempt by Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, “unprecedented.” Mr. Peilke goes on: “These are very chilling developments and should be resisted and objected to by anyone who values the free expression of scientific views … Regardless of your perspective on the role of humans in the climate system, their attempt to force political correctness on any science issue should be vigorously repudiated.”

Both David Legates, who runs the climate lab at the University of Delaware, and George Taylor, who was twice elected president of the American Association of State Climatologists, are respected by their peers and well-published in academic journals.

I will take their credentials and expertise on climate over those of Mr. Kulongoski and Mrs. Minner any day. Hypocrisy is nothing new in politics, but it is truly a sad day for the fourth estate, which, by its silence, is collaborating in this attempt at censorship.

H. STERLING BURNETT

Senior fellow

National Center For Policy Analysis

Dallas, Texas

Mark Steyn’s “A cool take on warming” in Monday’s Commentary section notes that “In the course of the 20th century, the planet’s temperature supposedly increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius … a smidgeonette over 1 degree Fahrenheit.” I tend to wonder if this 1 degree is merely a matter of how we measure temperature.

Today, the majority of temperature observations are taken at airports, which are massive expanses of heat-absorbing concrete and asphalt situated in the middle of acres of land denuded of trees and vegetation. Many more observations are taken in the “concrete jungle” of urban centers, frequently called “heat islands,” where 80 percent of today’s U.S. population lives. A century ago, there were no airports and 80 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas.

How much of today’s “global warming” is merely a matter of moving the thermometers from a country field, with trees and fresh breezes, to a sun-baked airport or stifling downtown? Think about it.

PATRICK MCGINN

California, Md.

Human rights prerogative

In “For or against the next war?” (Op-Ed, Feb. 6) columnist Tod Lindberg abuses statistics to suggest that a significant portion of Americans would support our nation starting yet another war.

However, there is a world of difference between launching a pre-emptive strike against Iran and stopping genocide in Darfur.

An unprovoked unilateral U.S. military attack on yet another Muslim nation would spark wildly unpredictable negative global consequences and fuel the global war on terrorism, likely bringing war home to our own shores.

A unilateral U.S. military intervention in Darfur to stop mass murder may go against the will of the majority of Americans, but it would be a globally approved police operation to protect innocent lives. Such action would contribute positively to global stability, acting both to deter future genocidal regimes and to reduce chaotic global conditions that facilitate terrorism.

As a result of the Iranian president’s irresponsible statements about eliminating Israel and the United States, Mr. Lindberg and others believe that an attack on Iran’s nuclear capabilities would prevent future genocide. Nothing could be further from reality. At best, we would postpone its nuclear program while possibly sparking Armageddon. Neither would it benefit Israel or the United States, given that Iran certainly could develop genetically targeted biological weapons capable of inflicting genocide on Jews or committing mass murder of Americans on a far greater scale than a limited nuclear strike.

Mr. Lindberg’s statistics only demonstrate the fallibility of democratic objectives. The use of force should not be subject to the passions of any majority. It should be limited to the global enforcement of inalienable human rights outlined within the most important document in human history — the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The use of force in policing the world’s pledge of “Never again” does not require war.

MAGGIE REEVES

Silver Spring

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