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The only reason illegal immigration is being talked about is because of talk-radio hosts and television hosts and the Minutemen who went to the border to reveal the problems we have there. It is also is because of people like Mark Williams, a talk-radio host, who went to Washington a couple of years ago and brought this issue to the politicians. This issue should have been dealt with after September 11, not six years later.

VICKI COSTANZA

Sacramento, Calif.

Simplistic warnings

The simplicity of Newt Gingrich’s advice is perplexing (“Warnings From Gaza,” Op-Ed, yesterday). How could one “reinvigorate U.S. war policy” in the current political environment of the United States and Europe or the so-called West? It has become customary — even for Republicans — to blame the Bush administration for ineffective leadership or inadequate articulation of the war on terror, starting with Iraq. The United Kingdom has been doing the same to the Blair government. The cry is for another Winston Churchill or Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since the beginning, the Bush and Blair administrations have been saying that the war on terror is going to be long and must be fought with determination. It seems no one was listening.

Why is it “pathetic” to give support to the “moderate,” secular Al-Fatah Palestinians now that they — and we, including Israel — are threatened by the much more fanatical Islamic Hamas? What other alternative was there? Sure, Al-Fatah has been corrupt, but if no support is given now, that would strengthen Hamas’ grip on the West Bank as well.

Mr. Gingrich points to a number of “realities” the West will have to confront, but the West is not a homogenous conglomerate. Each of Mr. Gingrich’s realities is well known and regularly commented on, but there is no broad political will in the multiple constituencies of the West to implement them. How can one expect to develop “new energy, new drive and new determination on our part” in the present Congress and the media?

Fighting corruption, creating property rights and empowering the poor are worthwhile objectives being pursued by myriad aid agencies and nongovernmental organizations, but successes in these areas, however small, are never reported. Mr. Gingrich says economist Hernando de Soto “will be vastly more effective … than all the bureaucrats at AID and the United Nations combined” in designing programs to achieve those objectives. Mr. de Soto is a good thinker, but his and other advocates’ ideas still need political will to be implemented.

How can the “U.N. camp system of socialism” be changed to one of promoting private enterprise and self-reliance? Can the hate education in madrassas be defeated? Who does Mr. Gingrich think can realistically implement all these ideas? Many have forgotten the severity of September 11 and are becoming more and more complacent. Nobody in the West wants to fight a long war, as Osama bin Laden correctly predicted. Perhaps it will take a more catastrophic September 11 to unite the people to fight for the survival of Western civilization. By then it may be too late.

Mr. Gingrich’s column lacks the sense of implementability, which is expected from a leader to energize us. A new Churchillian leader does not seem to be on the horizon, here or in Europe, and we may well be “waiting for Godot.”

JOHN SCHWARTZ

Alexandria

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