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Letters to the editor
Summer of sequels
In a manner that resembles a bargain-bin remake of a B movie, President Bush seems determined to resurrect the deceased Senate amnesty bill. Unlike the Hollywood blockbusters that have people lined up around the block, this sequel has the director going door-to-door in the Senate just to find an audience.
Many of us have already spent a lot of money this summer to see a third Spiderman movie and another installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Moviegoers have even spent good money to see an animated ogre in tights, but they dread “The Return of the Undead Amnesty.”
American citizens are overwhelmingly against the Senate amnesty proposal. The public rose up and Republican Senators responded to kill the bill. But, in an apparent attempt to end his term with a zero percent approval rating, the president is investing the last of his political capital to resurrect a measure that will only continue to anger the country.
A good sequel builds on a popular story. It motivates people to spend a few bucks on admission and popcorn, and provides an entertaining experience. But this sequel will destroy the rule of law, wreak havoc on the middle class and leave Americans with heartburn that will last for generations. The return of the Senate amnesty bill is a sequel that must never be made.
Countering Hamas‘ influence
Part of a counterinsurgency struggle as we know is the effort to win hearts and minds. There is no better technique to incubate democracy in the hearts and “souls” of students in the Middle East to counter, for example, Hamas’s “hardline rhetoric” in social-studies readers in the Palestinian territories (“Hamas permeates public schools,” Briefing, Middle East, Wednesday) is to introduce more Western-oriented approaches to knowledge and belief.
Values of initiative and individualism instilling skepticism and the process of questioning everything, including “received” knowledge, would inculcateWestern-oriented thought processes and teach the ideology of freedom and true democracy beyond “free” elections that can institutionalize Islamofascism.
In fact, Western ideologies, as well as those of moderate Islamic parties — such as that of the “secular Palestinian intelligentsia” mentioned in the article — need to take back the schools.
The other “educational” systems (common in al Qaeda strongholds) for winning hearts and minds from childhood on are madrassas. The madrassas not only provide education, but in many places, especially under al-Qaeda auspices, establish a “welfare” system to lure students into indoctrination by providing all their basic needs, along with 24/7 radical anti-Western and even anti-Muslim ideologies under an Islamic cover.
We should assist in the establishment of moderate counter-madrassas — feeding, clothing and teaching the values of democracy.
There are potential models in the Muslim world, for example nascent democratic practices in some of the Gulf states, as well as Turkish democracy, now being practiced by an Islamic political party controlling the government, and even in Iraq, which will become a more plausible model after we “draw down.”
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