- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 3, 2007

Al Qaeda and Iraq

In his column “Al Qaeda is the problem” (Commentary, Tuesday) Lawrence Kudlow wrote: “The real enemy we face in Iraq is al Qaeda.” Saddam Hussein effectively excluded al Qaeda from Iraq. Unlike us, Saddam understood Islamic fanatics and knew how to keep them under control.

Al Qaeda was more of a threat to Saddam than to the United States. A more intelligent response to September 11 would have been to establish the kind of clandestine alliance with Saddam that we created during the Iran-Iraq War. Lord Palmerston said: “We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and these interests it is our duty to follow.” For the foreseeable future, many Muslims are going to be in a lethal mood. Fortunately, we usually can find some who are willing to fight the ones who really hate us. Unfortunately, the war in Iraq turns most Muslims against us.

JOHN ENGELMAN

Wilmington, Del.

Searching for a moderate Democrat

As a conservative who read Bruce Bartlett’s piece “Conservatives for Hillary?” (Commentary, Wednesday) I was intrigued by his thesis but wonder why he limited the Democratic field to just the three front-runners. If Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich can enter the race as late as September, and Bill Clinton was in single digits at this point in his first run, the whole field of announced Democrats should be considered when selecting the lesser evil.

Mr. Bartlett states that John Edwards is the most liberal of the Democrats, when clearly Rep. Dennis Kucinich has a much stronger claim to that extreme, and, more important, though Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton may be more conservative than Sen. Barack Obama, is she the most conservative of the candidates? Former Sen. Mike Gravel is conservative on taxes and Social Security but definitely not on health care and may be too obscure to gain traction.

In Gov. Bill Richardson, conservatives may find a palatable alternative to Mrs. Clinton. A Clintonite who cut taxes and expanded commerce in New Mexico, he might be better on the budget than President Bush. He also serves as a governor, which sits better with the people than being a legislator (John F. Kennedy being the last to make the jump to the presidency).

If conservatives cede the field to the Democrats, which I don’t think we should do until we see how Fred Thompson’s entry into the race shakes things up, let’s support a true conservative Democrat. Even if Mr. Richardson doesn’t eventually take the nomination, if he does gain traction, he will force the rest of the field to moderate their views.

PETER LOCKE

Ashburn, Va.

Gun, myths and self-defense

Michael J. McManus begins his column “A case for more gun control” (Commentary, Sunday) by repeating the question asked by Katie Couric: Would more gun control, on the type of guns and to whom they are sold, make us safer? He says the answer is a “resounding yes.”

He says: “We will always have crazies and felons who get their hands on guns.” The proper analysis of this statement is to remind people that personal protection is a personal responsibility. The victim will always be the first person on the scene in any attack. No matter how effective the background check, no matter how high the wall or how much barbed wire is used to form a barrier to keep the “crazies” away, some will always get inside.

When that happens and the population lacks the means, ability and will for self-defense, slaughter results. The lesson we learn from Virginia Tech, the shooting at Appalachian Law School and other mass shootings is that armed resistance at the point of attack is more effective than any law intended to disable the “crazies.”

Mr. McManus mentions the ultimate “loophole” — the gun show. His statement that “no background checks are required if a gun is purchased at a gun show” is false. Any ATF-licensed dealer at a show must have each purchaser complete ATF Form 4473 and then conduct a background check consistent with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System established by the Brady Law. There is no such thing as an unlicensed dealer. There are private individuals who may visit the show and legally buy and sell private firearms from their personal collections with other private individuals from the same state. These private citizens are not licensed dealers, they are not in the business of trading in firearms and they are not permitted to conduct NICS checks.

I will not argue with anyone who chooses to “never have a weapon in my home” or even someone who chooses not to respond to an attack on himself or his family with deadly force. I admire his personal conviction and wish him good luck; he will need it. However, anyone who tells others that they also may not use a certain type of self-defense is making an immoral demand. Choose for yourself how to act but do not condemn others to your chosen fate.

BOB CULVER

Chairman

Montgomery Citizens

for a Safer Maryland

Laurel

What chutzpah

I am amazed to see how prominently semantics figures into coverage of the recent immigration-reform protests and the signs carried by participants (“Hill protesters demand legalization of illegals,” Metropolitan, Wednesday). To call them “immigration rallies” and to say participants are calling on America to “protect immigrant families” is incorrect. As far as I can tell, the issue worrying the American public is not immigration in general, but illegal immigration. To see people carrying signs that read “legalization now” is laughable. The United States has a process for legal immigration — millions simply have elected to ignore it.

How refreshing it would be to see signs that read “Please forgive me (for stealing from American taxpayers, showing contempt for U.S. laws and cutting in line ahead of other would-be immigrants who are complying with U.S. requirements).”

JULIE MUIR

Springfield

Funding stem-cell R&D

In his column on the Bush administration’s stem-cell funding policy (“Stem cell readjustment?” Commentary, Wednesday), Morton Kondracke repeats a favorite rhetorical trick of the left by suggesting that if something is not paid for by the government, it is denied by the government.

Embryonic stem-cell research is legal and unregulated. All “leftover” frozen embryos are available to researchers, subject only to the consent of their parents to be used this way. The current push in Congress is about one thing only: getting the biotech industry into taxpayers’ pockets.

However, embryonic stem cell research is too controversial to be a proper subject for public funding. It’s controversial because of what is required to make it happen: Americans are deeply divided on the question of killing living human embryos for research.

It’s controversial because of where it is leading: The only way to get the massive supply of embryos the industry says it needs is to clone them, which is why embryonic stem-cell researchers are at the forefront of efforts to clone human embryos and give human cloning experimentation legal protection in the states. It’s controversial because of what happens to women: Every human embryo used in stem-cell research requires at least one human egg, the only source of which is young women, through a process that poses significant health risks.

If the biotech industry thinks it’s profitable to pursue embryonic stem-cell research, let the industry pay for it.

CATHY RUSE

Washington

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