- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tracing cell-phone calls

In “Cellular research” (Inside the Beltway, Wednesday), it was indicated that studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about cell-phone usage were inappropriate. As a practicing trauma surgeon, I strongly disagree.

Trauma is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of one and 45. Nationally, the most immediate access to emergency medical services for both traumatic injuries and non-traumatic medical emergencies is through the 911 system. The location of a cell-phone caller is not readily identified, in contrast to locating land-line callers. Identifying the impact of increasing cell-phone usage upon the 911 system and delivery of emergency medical services is directly related to the CDC’s mission.

This boils down to a simple question: Do you want medical help to be able to find you and get to you when you call for it? I know my answer is yes for both myself and my patients.

DR. ROBERT E. SCHMIEG JR. Jackson, Miss.

Preserving greenery

We are writing in response to the article “More greenery a cool way to halt warming” (Page 1, Tuesday). This article referred to research undertaken by Roland Ennos and colleagues at Manchester University into the role of green space in adapting urban areas for climate change. As two of the main researchers, we felt that the article presented our findings in a misleading way. It confused climate-change mitigation with adaptation. This is a very important distinction in how we respond to climate change.

Climate change already is occurring, and its impacts are being felt around the world. Research shows that this is caused to a large extent by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases. Reducing these emissions is known as climate-change mitigation and is referred to in your article as the solutions proposed by “Al Gore and other global warming activists.” Reducing our greenhouse-gas emissions is essential, as it will impact on the severity of future climate changes.

However, some degree of climate change is inevitable because of historic greenhouse-gas emissions and their long lifetime within the atmosphere. Thus, there also is a need to adapt to these inevitable changes.

Our research at Manchester University has not found that adding greenery can mitigate climate change. It has shown that it can help adapt cities in the United Kingdom for climate changes projected over the next century, helping to make the cities more comfortable for people. The case for cities at different latitudes may be different, as they will face different climate challenges.

It must be stressed that we in no way advocate that adding green space in urban areas is a panacea for climate change.

ROLAND ENNOS AND SUSANNAH GILL

Birchwood, Warrington, U.K.

In reference to Jennifer Harper’s article on more greenery: I recently completed an Internet search on the term “wood imports” and “illegal wood imports” and discovered that there is enormous trafficking in woods from rain forests, Siberian forests and places such as Southeast Asia, much of which is cut by poachers and shipped around the world. Some involves our Redwood trees, which are highly prized in Japan. I don’t see any problem with the commercial aspect of this, except that, unlike our own wood industry, no one else seems to be replanting trees, and this contributes to global warming. It is likely that far more trees are being cut down than new saplings are being planted.

There is some legislation that requires that a ship coming to an American port with a load of wood must demonstrate that replacement saplings were planted in the area where the wood was cut. This is relatively easy proof to provide in the age of digital imaging and establishes an image trail back to the source. It might mean that the shipper and originator could have their cargo confiscated if the appropriate sapling proofs were not there.

There is other ongoing legislation around the world to ban illegal cutting and shipping of woods, but the entire problem of illegality might be solved by demonstrating that the wood cut down was replaced by an equivalent tree. If other countries are banning illegal wood imports, perhaps they could be persuaded to make the shipment legal if saplings could be shown to have replaced the cut.

The thought has occurred that such “green” legislation might have positive political and environmental effects if the planting process is very aggressively pursued in a manner similar to that of American paper-goods tree planting. There also is a mechanism in the U.S. military called a remotely operated vehicle that could be adopted to plant trees in various areas that have been clear-cut. Mrs. Harper’s comments certainly show a need.

ROBERT THAYER

Woodbridge, Va.

Wrong about the business of war

Diana West’s column on the events at Haditha shows that she likely never wore the uniform or lacks a good appreciation of military history (“The ‘business’ is war,” Op-Ed, May 11). Yes, war is emotional, and insurgents hide among civilians — this much is well-known. Students of counterinsurgency conflicts also know that an insurgent war is a struggle for the hearts and minds of the civilian populace.

If events like the one at Haditha are common occurrences or go unpunished, the civilians are lost and our cause is lost; we may as well bring the troops home now. I don’t suspect Mrs. West favors that position.

I served in Iraq, and what we ask of troops is difficult. No doubt our senior generals and political leaders should have done more to prepare our military to fight this insurgency. However, we cannot overlook criminal events, or we really do give comfort to the enemy. A large number of civilian deaths should always raise eyebrows. In my experience, I have seen contact teams that included medical, legal and weapons experts dispatched to the site of such incidents. If this was done in Haditha, I am sure the team produced something that should have alerted more people to the true nature of the events on the ground.

TROY C. WARE

Suffolk, Va.

Diana West’s column, “The ‘business’ is war,” contained a glaring error in describing Army Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell as a major rather than his more senior rank, then denigrating him by characterizing his surname as “Waugh-ian.”

Maj. Gen. Bargewell’s distinguished 40-year career included more combat experience than all the Haditha Marines had combined. As an enlisted soldier in the Vietnam War, he earned a Distinguished Service Cross — second only to the Medal of Honor — serving in Military Assistance Command Vietnam’s Studies and Operations Group. MACV SOG conducted high-risk operations into Laos and Cambodia in search of North Vietnamese army units infiltrating into South Vietnam. He was commissioned in 1973, and his career included service in and command of the Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment (Delta). He earned 13 Purple Hearts over the course of his career for combat wounds.

It will be up to the triers of fact to determine Marine Capt. Randy Stone’s culpability, if any, for the role he played in the Haditha incident and its investigation, but Mrs. West’s personal attacks on Maj. Gen. Bargewell were not up to The Washington Times’ usual high standards.

COL. W. HAYS PARKS

Marine Corps (retired)

Lorton

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