- The Washington Times - Monday, January 29, 2007

No ‘more time’

Austin Bay has written a more evenhanded and levelheaded piece about Kosovo than most others in the latest main media onslaught (“The quest for Kosovo’s ‘final status,’ ” Commentary, Friday). Many articles advocating Kosovo’s independence have bordered on the absurd. However, I’m stymied by one of his sentences: “ ’More time’ also gives European politicians time to coax Russia.”

Coax Russia to do what? Will the Europeans be coaxing Russia to trample upon all recognized global constitutional norms and international law and, with that, pursue the independence of a terrorist-funded extremist and intolerant Islamic state at Europe’s southern flank?

And, there would be no end to the insanity, as Albanians in southern Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and perhaps even Greece would then clamor to be united with their brothers in Kosovo. Will there then be a further redrawing of borders to accommodate them?

Hopefully, more sane European heads will prevail.

LIZ MILANOVICH

Edmonton, Alberta

Austin Bay supports independence for Kosovo but conveniently fails to mention that after Belgrade had been bombed into submission by NATO, the Kosovo Liberation Army expelled most of Kosovo’s non-Albanians under the noses of occupying NATO troops. This was accompanied by a concerted campaign to erase the province’s Serbian heritage. Countless churches, many medieval, have been destroyed. The few remaining Serbs are under constant threat.

Mr. Bay also fails to mention that the West then demanded that civilized standards of behavior be achieved by the Kosovars before there was discussion of the province’s status. The Kosovars, having won outright, were expected to accept the return of the many expelled Serbs, Roma and other non-Albanians and to stop harassing those Serbs who stayed behind. The subsequent decision to ditch “standards before status” rewards ethnic cleansing.

So much for Gen. Wesley Clark’s comment during NATO’s bombing of Serbia that “There is no place in modern Europe for ethnically pure states. That’s a 19th-century idea, and we are trying to transition into the 21st century.” The reality, alas, is otherwise. Washington’s geopolitical need to be seen to be backing a Muslim people trumps multiethnicity.

YUGO KOVACH

Twickenham, Middlesex, England

The ‘hidden’ enemy

This refers to the editorial “Toughen approach to Pakistan” (Thursday). Suicide bombings in Islamabad and in the Frontier Province during this month should jolt the conscience of those who allege that Pakistan security agencies are harboring terrorists. Pakistan is a victim of terrorism and committed to fighting the menace for its own interest. They are dangerous enemies of Pakistan and Afghanistan; their obsession germinates from their obscurantist views. Only our collective and sincere efforts can ensure their defeat in the ideological and war fronts.

Let us face the fact that the situation in Afghanistan is much more hospitable for the Taliban as they have their base in Southern Afghanistan where from they sprouted after the withdrawal of Soviet Union. They have also established a nexus with drug barons to finance the fighting against the Allied forces. According to the international reports, more than 90 percent of opium found in the world’s black market has its origin in Afghanistan. The Taliban provides protections to the poppy growers and the people associated with drug trade. It is easy to infer that the Taliban has vast areas under its influence where government writ does not exist and they have set up their dispensation of black justice. This scenario has disillusioned the Afghan people who have not experienced improvement in the quality of their lives in terms of social and security services. Poverty and despondency have taken their toll on the Afghan population who still feel that they were better off previously. Rampant corruption in all walks of national life in Afghanistan has further deepened their despondency.

It is naive to assume that a peace agreement in North Waziristan is the major cause of the rise in insurgency in Afghanistan. This perception is based on the utter misunderstanding of the ground reality. North Waziristan constitutes only 5 percent of the total border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. If North Waziristan is accentuating insurgency, why cannot U.S., NATO and Afghan troops cordon off that small border and address the problem without delay?

One cannot deny a limited support for the militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan. A peace agreement was hammered out to isolate these terrorists form the local population. Sustenance of military operation for a long time permeates hatred and the affected population most likely joined hands with the terrorists because of the collateral damages. History has repeatedly proven that a political approach is the best way to win the hearts and minds of the people leading to peace on durable basis.

Pakistan has high stakes in the stability of Afghanistan. There is no reason for Pakistan to encourage the Taliban. They are the faceless hidden enemy of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

M. AKRAM SHAHEEDI

Press Minister

Embassy of Pakistan

Washington

Double cross at W&M

Gene R. Nichol, president of William & Mary College, first embraced political correctness, not diversity, by removing the historic cross from Wren Chapel (“Bow to diversity leaves altar empty,” Page 1, yesterday). Then he formed a committee, the predictable next step to allay controversy.

To be studied is the role of religion at public universities — i.e., must religious faith be erased from campus? Perhaps Mr. Nichol and his supporters truly do not understand our national roots, or perhaps they are being disingenuous.

Either way, instead of a politically motivated committee, campuswide instruction on the role of religion in our founding might actually benefit the student body.

Choosing to attend a school with a specific religious history and then objecting to evidence of that history is not support for inclusion; it is exclusion. Bowing to such demands is not tolerance; it is capitulation. By his actions, Mr. Nichol is teaching that diversity, said to be the appreciation and tolerance of differences is, in truth, the opposite.

ANNE ALLEN

Washington

The fact that the first Passover Seder is about to be held in the Wren Chapel at the College of William & Mary strikes me as an attempt to jump onto the PC bandwagon. The first Passover Seder could have been held in the Wren Chapel long before now, as the previous policy was to remove the cross whenever someone wanted to hold a service without it.

There hardly would have been protests by Christian students, as the founder of their religion attended a few Passover Seders himself.

Additionally, I am curious to know why President Gene R. Nichol is “saddened” by the handful of stories he has heard about (unspecified) people being uncomfortable in the Wren Chapel because of the cross and yet he has not shown concern for the pain of the more than 10,000 people who have signed a petition to restore the previous policy.

I find myself in the odd position of being an alumna of a school that is famous for removing a Christian cross from a Christian altar in a Christian chapel. On principle, I never would have applied to such a school. I can only hope that the Board of Visitors will grow a spine soon or that the state assembly will grow one for them.

KAREN HALL

Orlando, Fla.

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