- The Washington Times - Friday, May 18, 2007

Pre-war misjudgments

Harlan Ullman engages in self-promoting revisionism when he implies that the really smart people (he and Marine Gen. Tony Zinni, for example) knew there were no significant weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (“Useful facts every journalist should know,” Op-Ed, Wednesday). Gen. Zinni may have given him an inferring wink, but his argument against going to war was, like Mr. Ullman’s, that Saddam Hussein was contained, not an imminent threat, and we would know in time if he became an imminent threat. How would we know? Our Intelligence would tell us. The Robb-Silberman Commission on prewar intelligence concluded the following:

“We conclude that the Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. This was a major intelligence failure. Its principal causes were the Intelligence Community’s inability to collect good information about Iraq’s WMD programs, serious errors in analyzing what information it could gather, and a failure to make clear just how much of its analysis was based on assumptions, rather than good evidence. On a matter of this importance, we simply cannot afford failures of this magnitude.”

The belief that Saddam possessed WMD was wrong, as was the belief that Desert Fox strikes destroyed them, and most important, so was the belief that U.S. intelligence would know when Saddam became an imminent threat.

R.L. DIXON JR.

Woodbridge, Va.

Understanding anti-communism today

I am put off that Andrew Borowiec (“Communism still haunts newest EU members,” World, April 22)paints transparency and openness inherent in the vetting of communist agents as threats to “a peaceful democratic transition.” Perhaps he fails to understand that transparency is a sine qua non of democracy.

I also am disturbed that Mr. Borowiec quoted the Spanish leftist Ignatio Ramonet’s claim that anti-communism in contemporary “Poland, and … Ukraine, Lithuania and some other countries formerly in the Eastern Bloc conceal a worrying nostalgia for the period before World War II, when racism was blatant.” Anti-communism reflects primarily a condemnation of totalitarianism and its crimes. Further, anti-communism is about justice for the victims.

Last but not least, anti-communism is about national security. Poland’s current drive of “lustration” (translated properly as “vetting,” and not “purification” as Mr. Borowiec would have it) aims at removing KGB agents and their bosses from public life. It is disingenuous to equate it with racism. Americans are familiar with such ad hominem journalistic attacks on anything anti-communist but never in The Washington Times.

MAREK JAN

CHODAKIEWICZ

Academic dean and

professor of history

Institute of World Politics

Washington

Illegal aliens and quality of life

Dan Thomasson (“Immigration basics,” Commentary, May 6) quotes a contractor on illegal aliens: “Without them I wouldn’t have a company.”

If so, he should not have a company. The labor of illegal aliens represents a massive subsidy for those who hire them. The contractor is just making a down payment on costs that will go on forever and be paid by others. This flood of millions is massively exacerbating problems that are getting worse all the time. These include energy, traffic, education and health care, among others.

Unless we are talking about something like milk for malnourished children, a subsidy always will result in a misallocation of resources. Do we really need cheaper food when obesity is becoming our No. 1 avoidable health problem? Do we really need to keep young people parked in front of their computer screens and away from the lawn mower? Do we really need this explosion of construction in exurbia, which will be unsustainable when the price of energy blows up in our faces?

We have no solutions as yet to our worsening traffic and energy problems, but we have a beautiful way to get the work done that “Americans won’t do.” It is called the market. Let it work.

HAROLD WEFALD

Gaithersburg

Supporting pro-life

I took an interest in the article “Pro-lifers ready for a comeback” (Nation, Tuesday). All too often, media coverage on pro-life issues revolves around breaking news and short-term developments. I appreciate the fact that this article gave serious attention to long-term trends and strategies within the pro-life movement.

That having been said, I feel too much time was devoted to the 2006 elections. Though the pro-life movement did suffer some electoral losses last year, those setbacks are dwarfed by the considerable progress pro-lifers have made since the early 1990s at shifting public opinion, enacting protective state-level legislation and reducing the incidence of abortion. For instance:

n In 1992, virtually no states were enforcing their informed-consent laws; today, more than 27 states have informed-consent laws in effect.

n In 1992, just 20 states were enforcing parental involvement laws; today, 35 states are enforcing those laws.

n In 1992, virtually no states were enforcing waiting periods; today more than 12 states are enforcing those laws.

Furthermore, a considerable amount of social science research, including four freelance studies of mine published by the Heritage Foundation, demonstrate that these state laws have played a large role in the 20 percent decline in the incidence of abortion since 1990.

MICHAEL J. NEW

Assistant professor

University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Horrendous liability nonetheless, Rep. Thompson

Though Rep. Bennie Thompson’s letter sounds plausible, it still doesn’t, as Mr. Thompson puts it, “pass the smell test” (“Rep. Thompson explains,” Wednesday).

Is it not the case that those passengers who recently reported the suspicious actions of several imams on a USAirways flight are exposed to what could be horrendous financial liability? Should this suit be lost by the plaintiff, both the law firm and the plaintiff who brought the suit need to be subject to paying some large multiple of all legal costs incurred by the defendant and by the defendant’s lawyer. As it stands now, this kind of lawsuit represents a no-pain opportunity, not to be overlooked by some hungry lawyer.

DENIS ABLES

Vienna

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