- The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2007

Truth and consequences for China

A touch of reality and shock treatment should be infused into U.S. officials’ meetings with Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi. They must tell Ms. Wu, in no uncertain terms, that the United States is prepared to ban certain Chinese products from entry into the country (“China alerts U.S. on trade,” Business, Wednesday).

China has exported to the United States poisoned food and toxic chemicals, such as dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical, catfish laced with banned antibiotics, scallops and sardines infused with putrefying bacteria and melamine-tainted pet food and chickens. Exporting poisons is a violation of China’s duty to all, known legally as erga omnes obligation.

It also is a violation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Article XX (b), which states in pertinent part that so long as a World Trade Organization member, such as the United States, does not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate against another member, such as China, it can ban imports “necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health.”

Government’s highest duty is to protect its citizens. This obligation requires that the Bush administration (and others) advise Ms. Wu that until China can provide assurances to the United States and agrees to let U.S. inspectors inspect Chinese facilities, no foodstuffs or chemicals will be allowed onto American shores. This even though many U.S. companies rely on or are involved with China.

A mass poisoning, whether intentional or inadvertent, for terroristic purposes or commercial, will hurt American companies much more than a short-term ban.

ITZCHAK E. KORNFELD

WTO and Environmental Scholar

Georgetown University Law Center

Washington

Get tough on Iran

“Iran expands nuclear activity, IAEA says” (Web site, Wednesday) provides independent assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran has outfoxed the Western countries and moved further ahead than expected in developing nuclear technology with help from Pakistan to complement its Korean/Chinese-supplied missiles. The matter will go to the U.N. Security Council, and Russia and China will, as usual, dilute any proposed sanctions on Iran, as they have veto power. I think the point of no return in Iran’s quest for nuclear military power will be reached in a few months’ time.

The United States and Israel have to make very tough decisions. Iran recently humiliated the British by capturing their sailors in international waters. Unless Iran decides to stop its nuclear activities, the United States and Israel have to consider attacking Iran’s nuclear installations and associated facilities to prevent the eclipse of Western influence in the Middle East and the real threat posed to Israel’s existence as well as energy security for the United States.

VIPUL THAKORE

London

Small airports, big benefits

Your Sunday Associated Press story about funding for local airports (“Paying Passengers Give Private Jets ‘a free ride,’ ” Page 1) appeared devoid of any understanding of business aviation, air-traffic-system funding or the needs of communities and towns nationwide.

First, local airports serve a critical role for towns with little or no airline service by supporting flights for small and midsize businesses, schools, universities, emergency medical services, postal services and firefighting teams, among others.

Second, the airports are local economic engines, bringing people and goods from communities to national and global markets, stimulating local economic growth. The activity generated by flights through these airports helps generate billions of dollars of U.S. economic output annually and employs more than 1 million people nationwide.

Third, the story mischaracterizes the business aviation community, which uses “general aviation,” aircraft (those not used by the airlines or military) for a business purpose. The fact is, this community is made up mostly of small and midsize businesses that often fly piston-engine and turboprop planes to maximize the efficiency and productivity of their employees.

Also misrepresented was the role of the pending proposal for funding the Federal Aviation Administration. That scheme, which is being pushed by the big airlines, would replace our ultra-efficient tax system for funding aviation needs with a schedule of fees that would favor giant hub airports over community airports.

In short, all Americans benefit from the nation’s airport system. Any proposal for FAA reauthorization must protect aviation access for small towns and communities. That won’t happen with a scheme that saddles businesses with tax increases and fees, and disadvantages community airports.

ED BOLEN

President

National Business Aviation Association

Washington

Ron Paul and the ‘kook squad’

The letter “To tell the truth” (Tuesday), questioning critics of Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, missed the point and focused only on the part of his September 11 responsibility problem that was revealed at the Republican presidential debates in South Carolina, when he talked about grievances Muslim countries have against the United States. Mr. Paul may not have explicitly accused the U.S. government of the September 11 terrorist attacks on conspiracy-oriented radio shows, but the September 11 “kook squad” believes he is their spokesman and has eagerly adopted him. As a result, liberal Democrats, antiwar activists and so-called September 11 truthers are crossing party lines to swamp call-in shows for Mr. Paul.

If Mr. Paul intends to stay in the race or even maintain his credibility, he needs to dissociate himself quickly from irresponsible accusations that the government is guilty of 3,000 counts of mass murder. Not only are such ideas offensive, but they are being used around the world to bash America and organize terrorist cells against us. American lives are endangered by such irresponsible propaganda.

For those who have not gone slumming on the Internet, the September 11 conspiracy theorists say no airplanes hit the Pentagon or the World Trade Center, even though hundreds of thousands of eyes watched the planes hit live, in person. They refuse to accept Osama bin Laden’s proud claims of responsibility for September 11, instead “outing” bin Laden as a paid CIA agent. They claim that 30 tons of burning jet fuel could not melt steel, even though steel’s strength is reduced at 1,000 degrees Celsius and melting is irrelevant. More than a dozen steel buildings have failed from fire alone. Last month, a burning fuel truck caused the steel in a San Francisco highway overpass to melt and fail. These people are not interested in answers or truth, but only in bashing America with falsehoods.

It’s the same old story. When liberals thought “maverick” John McCain was useful for undermining President Bush and Republicans, he was the darling of the news media and liberals pretending to be Republican voters. Now that Mr. McCain is supporting Mr. Bush’s position on the dominant issue of the day, the mainstream news media has shunned Mr. McCain like an old mistress once the affair is over.

Mr. Paul needs to separate himself from the kooks — and fast. He has a long, proud record of independent thinking that could be dragged under fast.

JON MOSELEY

Alexandria

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