- The Washington Times - Monday, January 8, 2007

On the border

Is there no end to the humiliation that the federal government is willing to take from Mexico? It is beyond belief that American National Guard troops were forced to retreat in our own country in the face of armed invaders coming across the Mexican border (“Troops flee from border outpost,” Page 1, Saturday). At what point will our president take action to secure our borders? At what point will more than a handful of our senators and congressmen stand up and be counted on this issue?

We have Border Patrol officers facing life in prison because they shot an armed Mexican drug runner. We have the Mexican government supplying global positioning devices to their citizens to facilitate their illegal entry into our county. We have a treaty that the Bush administration has quietly negotiated with Mexico that will give Social Security retirement benefits to illegal aliens. Now we have the Border Patrol having to baby-sit unarmed National Guard troops. We need a “new way forward” on our own border security.

LAWRENCE SCHWEINSBURG

Crofton, Md.

A peaceful way forward

The Middle East problem is the greatest threat to the future of world peace and unquestionably has to be resolved over the next five years if humanity is to avoid a major escalation of global conflict.

But this cannot be achieved through the recent speculation that Israel may use strategic nuclear weapons to destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities — for this action would most probably precipitate the start of a global confrontation, as many countries with economic interests would take sides (“A disturbing analysis from Tel Aviv,” Editorial, Friday).

Unfortunately there is now so little trust between the West and Iran that politicians are not in a position (on either side) to solve the impasse and this divergence will dramatically increase over the next few years to a critical state. Therefore the answer does not lie with our politicians, but with totally independent means where advice outside the constraints of national governments is the only peaceful way forward.

Unfortunately, our politicians are so blind that they only see themselves in the role of savior. This standpoint will not work, as it never has when we look at the history of the Middle East. Therefore, considering everything that is wrong with current foreign policy in the West, the solution lies in the hands of independent people at the leading edge of knowledge, who are totally removed from government and who have no vested nationalistic economic interests.

In comparison, the present path that we tread, (which has not changed over the last 50 years with regard to the Palestine problem, et. al.) where the adherence to policies that have always escalated aggressive actions, will only fail again. Unfortunately this time if the concept of the independent thought is not accepted and introduced we shall all live to regret the day that the world did not accept this prerequisite for global peace in this century. It is time that our politicians realized this.

DAVID HILL

Chief executive

World Innovation Foundation Charity

Bern, Switzerland

‘Weeding’ books

We would like to underscore the point made in the Sunday editorial “A classic brouhaha” and assure readers that classic literature has a home at the Fairfax County Public Library.

Because of the growing demand for more books in more formats and languages, public libraries have to balance the need to satisfy public demand with our limited space . We can’t warehouse every book that every resident may want to read. We use industry standards, computer data and the expertise of librarians with decades of professional experience to offer a dynamic collection of classics, new literature and reference materials to an increasingly diverse population.

When computer analysis reveals that a specific copy of a specific book at a specific branch has not been checked out in at least two years — whether that book is a classic, a best-seller, nonfiction or reference — there are several possible outcomes for that book. We may find that it’s been misshelved or stolen. We may decide that its literary merit demands that we keep it on the shelf, whether or not it’s been checked out, as the editorial points out. We may send it to another branch of our library system where that title has proved more popular. We may decide to offer it to a “Friends” group to sell at their used book sales. The last possible outcome is — for reasons including the fact that the book may contain outdated (and therefore erroneous) information or may be missing pages — that the book may be let go.

This process is known as “weeding.” All public libraries must weed, because of space limitations. Our new computer system, and a complex decision matrix, allows us to weed more precisely and efficiently.

Our efforts are paying off: we’re on track to have our books checked out more than 12 million times by the end of this fiscal year, a 10 percent increase over fiscal 2005 when we began our new “weeding” process.

LOIS KIRKPATRICK

Marketing and public

relations manager

Fairfax County Public Library

Fairfax

Go home, Mrs. Sheehan

It is a new year, but some things never change. Cindy Sheehan continues to resurface with her unrelenting and tiresome criticism of the war and the president (“Cindy Sheehan routs the Democrats,” Page 1, Thursday).

Everyone, by now, knows her thoughts on both matters, and many have ceased to take her seriously, let alone care what she thinks. Granted, it is fair to assume that the majority of the populace shares sincere sympathy over the tragic loss of her son in the war. For any parent to lose a child is the most difficult thing to face. However, Mrs. Sheehan knows, as we all do, that her son volunteered to serve his country with recognition of the fact that inherent dangers were a reality that could ultimately result in his tragic death.

Since her son’s death, Mrs. Sheehan’s actions have been nationally embarrassing and unrefined, leading one to contemplate that perhaps she has just gone over the edge as a reaction to the grief she has suffered.

Or, maybe, she just thrives on the attention she receives and obtains a newfound sense of self-importance when she is in the limelight of the television cameras with microphones in her face.

Her latest act of disrupting a press conference of the new House Democratic majority in which she unnerved lawmakers to the point they retreated behind closed doors coupled with her scolding of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is contemptible. Just who does she think she is? Her personal “demands” of calling for President Bush’s impeachment and the elimination of funding for the war should not be heeded.

Neither Mrs. Pelosi nor other lawmakers on the Hill should be intimidated or bullied into giving Mrs. Sheehan any unwarranted time or additional publicity-seeking attention. When Mrs. Sheehan states, “We are here to let them know that we are setting the table now,” the lawmakers need to let her know that they are seated at the head of the table, they are getting down to business and moving on with their agenda and that it is time for her to go home.

KAREN L. BUNE

Arlington

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