- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Why Africa ails

A people aware of inequality linked to unfairness are a restive people. Western leaders talk about human rights, good governance and corruption. However, television and the Internet bring images of our minorities continuing to struggle and our members of Congress beholden to moneyed interests, with some accepting blatant bribes.

Western leaders carry the banner for free trade but allow the Doha trade talks to be mired in protectionism. The Chinese may fail on these points, but their failure is authentically them, without pretension (“Why Beijing succeeds in Africa,” Op-Ed, Monday).

Paul Moorcraft says “Africa needs trade not aid,” which simplistically ignores that AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are more than decimating those in the most productive age groups.

The United Nations estimates there are 34 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa. Thirty thousand children are dying each day from preventable and treatable diseases of poverty. We can and must turn back these scourges so that the people can begin to participate in the global economy on a fairer footing. Backing up our talk will make us credible and desirable partners.

DR. LARRY DONOHUE

Seattle

Thanking Spc. Darby

In the column “Why Spc. Darby can’t go home” (Op-Ed, Dec. 25), Nat Hentoff wonders why the “60 Minutes” report on Spc. Joseph Darby and its subsequent press coverage fail to hold senior administration officials and lawyers who worked on interrogation legal analysis and policy ultimately responsible for the abuses perpetrated at Abu Ghraib prison.

It is not because of the news media’s tenderness for the administration. Rather, it is because the facts show that the abuses of Abu Ghraib occurred in spite of administration policy, not because of it.

First, the abuses at Abu Ghraib were committed by military police, not interrogators.

Second, the abuses of Abu Ghraib clearly transgressed any policy on detainee treatment or interrogation. Thus, the abusers could not have been following any policy or been confused about what policy to apply. The policy of the United States has always been to treat detainees humanely and never to torture.

The Department of Defense thanks and appreciates Spc. Darby and the vast majority of our servicemen and servicewomen who conduct themselves decently, honorably and courageously in the most demanding job in the world.

BRYAN G. WHITMAN

Deputy assistant secretary

Public affairs

Office of the assistant secretary

Defense Department

Washington

Land grab

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground land preservation heritage area would reduce the economic activity on millions of acres of privately owned land in several states (“Gettysburg to Monticello seen as ‘hallowed,’ ” Page 1, Jan. 1). It gives too much power and revenue to a management entity partnership between the National Park Service and land preservation advocates. The private property owner would be a minority voice in the implementation of this proposed federal law.

Property owner protections are dubious. If local boards decide to incorporate JTHG in their land-use plans, the property owner could not opt out. If the Park Service puts your property in a national park, it’s the same thing.

JTHG is more than a history lesson for students. It is more than tourism promotion. It is a dangerous bill for property owners and future property owners who will be hurt the most because buildable-land prices will escalate further.

Few people seem to realize that the doubling of our property values is caused by the coercive land preservation that already has taken place in many jurisdictions in the region. Our grown children will have no place to live but in the few designated high-density areas.

JTHG is a ruse to take over private property. We ought to preserve the Bill of Rights that protects individuals from the coercive power of the federal government and those who use that power to advance their own interests.

ROSE ELLEN RAY

Leesburg, Va.

‘Holy’ Pelosi

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that her parents were devout Catholics and they “… did not raise me to be speaker of the House. They raised me to be holy. They raised me to do the right thing … They were on the side of the angels.” (“Pelosi returns to her roots,” Metropolitan, Saturday).

Mrs. Pelosi gave a wonderful tribute to her parents’ wishes, but unfortunately, she has not demonstrated holiness in her public life. It is not holy to defy God’s command to preserve life and to support the taking of human life, as she has done often in her votes in Congress. She has helped in the killing of more than 47 million innocent pre-born human beings by torturous methods.

Mrs. Pelosi in her public life is a powerful proponent of the culture of death, even to the extent of voting against notifying parents of a minor daughter’s abortion (which would help protect young girls from sexual predators) and in favor of abortionists’ profits over the rights of parents. She voted for funding the killing of new human beings to facilitate embryonic stem cell research, and she voted to fund the U.N. Fund for Population Activities which promotes coercive abortion abroad.

Hopefully, others are praying that Mrs. Pelosi will do the right thing and be on the side of the angels by protecting all human life.

NANCY WELLS

Potomac

Studying polar bears

Steven Milloy takes issue with the proposed listing of polar bears as a threatened species (“Polar bear meltdown?” Commentary, Dec. 31).

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service based the proposed listing on an extensive status review that was peer-reviewed by 10 of the world’s leading experts on polar bears and climate change. FWS did not cite population decline as the reason for the proposal. In fact, population data do not exist for most polar bear populations. Rather, the agency cited the bears’ dependence on sea-ice habitat and the continued recession of this ice over coming decades as the threat to the species. The preliminary decision was based on scientific models predicting a resulting population decline. FWS determined that this threat met the legal threshold under the Endangered Species Act, which says a threatened species is one that is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.

In making the proposal, FWS recognized the ongoing scientific uncertainties related to the scientific modeling of both sea ice and bear populations. The agency asked for additional data and analysis from the scientific community. However, as of now, the final decision on whether to list the bear has not been made.

As for Mr. Milloy’s prediction that listing is futile, it is premature for FWS to speculate on what steps might be taken to conserve a species. If it is listed, FWS will assemble a recovery team of polar-bear biologists and other experts to determine what can be done. Experience has taught us that these teams often come up with effective conservation measures that others might never have imagined.

DALE HALL

Director

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Washington

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