- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2007

Jimmy Carter’s defense

In his column “He should pound nails” (Commentary, Tuesday), Dan K. Thomasson argues that former President Carter has no room to criticize President Bush’s foreign policy failures. Mr. Thomasson claims that Mr. Carter was the main reason behind 1979’s Iranian hostage crisis and helped bring the Ayatollah Khomeini to power in Iran. It is true that more prudent decisions could have been made during the hostage crisis; nonetheless, three decades of poor U.S. foreign policy in Iran caused the revolution.

In 1953, the United States undertook Operation Ajax to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran and return Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to power. The shah was known as a repressive authoritarian who ruled Iran with an iron fist. Iranians were not happy with the shah throughout the 1960s and 1970s and demanded democracy, human rights and freedom. Nonetheless, the shah and his special police repressed such dissent.

Adding to the cruel and undemocratic nature of the shah’s Iran, elitism, corruption and inefficient public works projects prevented Iran’s vast oil revenues from reaching its people. So while the shah lived a life of elegance and foreign petroleum companies profited off of Iran’s oil, its people wallowed in poverty. In such an environment, it is only a matter of time before citizens will overthrow a government.

The Iranian revolution and subsequent hostage crisis were the result of the failures of American foreign policy over three decades, not three years under the Carter administration. By installing and propping up an unpopular and authoritarian dictator, the United States paved the road for a revolution in Iran. Mr. Thomasson would do right to brush up on his history when looking to criticize one of just two presidents in our nation to have received the Nobel Peace Prize.

JOEL MURRAY

Seattle

Leave it to parents

In “Parents divided over mandates for HPV vaccine” (Nation, May 24), Concerned Women for America’s position was misrepresented.

CWA does not oppose the vaccine; we oppose mandating it. The best way to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) is to be sexually responsible by being abstinent outside of marriage and faithful within marriage and by getting regular Pap tests. An option is receiving the HPV vaccine. That decision should be made by the patient or her parent.

HPV is transmitted through intimate sexual contact, not through the air or simple touch. About 3,700 women a year die from cervical cancer, but the flu causes 36,000 deaths each year — yet we do not mandate flu vaccines.

The vaccine has been tested in trials with pre-screened subjects. The true test comes when it is used by a wider population. Doubts have been raised about early assurances of the HPV vaccine’s absolute effectiveness and safety.

Parents, not politicians, should make their children’s medical decisions. The HPV vaccine falls within the realm best left to parents, who strive to teach their children to make the best choices in healthy lifestyles.

WENDY WRIGHT

President

Concerned Women for America

Washington

A meeting of the minds?

In the May 25 Inside the Ring, Bill Gertz cites a source who asserts that the Defense Intelligence Agency is arbitrarily planning to reassign space-threat analytic functions from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center in Dayton, Ohio, to other organizations, to include the Missile and Space Intelligence Center in Huntsville, Ala. This assertion is false.

The source also claims that decisions concerning the assignment of missions are based on “political interests.” This claim also is baseless. Defense intelligence resources are applied in a reasoned manner against the nation’s critical intelligence issues.

Contrary to the assertions of the article, the agencies and centers of the defense intelligence community, including the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, and the Missile and Space Intelligence Center, together with their colleagues throughout the national intelligence community, operated in a collaborative and cooperative manner in their accurate predictions and analysis of the recent demonstration of the Chinese anti-satellite program. To state otherwise is a disservice to the great work of these dedicated intelligence professionals.

Space and counterspace-threat analysis is a critical mission area. The nation should be proud of the professional work our analysts are doing and the manner in which they are integrating their efforts; the country is well-served by their diligence.

I am willing to meet with the “defense officials” Mr. Gertz cited to provide them accurate information on our defense intelligence program, if they are willing to hear it.

LT. GEN. MICHAEL D. MAPLES

Army

Director

Defense Intelligence Agency

Pentagon

Explaining deterrence

Peter Huessy’s column “Nuclear fantasies” (Op-Ed, Monday) raised several important issues regarding the future of nuclear weapons policy while neatly sidestepping the underlying problem of how deterrence will operate in the future in this much-changed security environment.

His observations on the forthcoming review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are spot-on. A discussion of eliminating nuclear weapons at a time when others are going to great lengths to acquire them is indeed a fantasy. There is no prospect of eliminating the knowledge of how to make such weapons, so there equally is no prospect of the major powers giving up their stockpiles.

As Mr. Huessy points out, the concern that led to the formulation of the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program relates to the need to be able to maintain a stockpile. This topic has become time-dependent with the imminent retirement of so many experienced scientists and engineers who developed America’s current nuclear stockpile. This concern is magnified by the desire to put the RRW into service without testing because of restrictions of the Test Ban Treaty.

The problem facing advocates of the RRW program in the much-changed proliferated environment is to explain the relevance of deterrence in the future and the role America’s nuclear weapons will play. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that many in Congress are asking for an update of the Nuclear Posture Review before agreeing to authorize proceeding with RRW.

What is urgently needed at this point is a new comprehensive national security policy. This should take into account all the newer capabilities of advanced conventional weapons and the efficacy of defensive systems in addition to the requirement for nuclear warheads. Some aspects of such a policy, such as how and under what circumstances certain capabilities would be used, must be kept highly classified. This would ensure that hostile entities remain uncertain of our intentions, thus allowing deterrence possibly to remain a component of national security.

Mr. Huessy may be correct that American deterrence is still needed, but before we proceed with the design of a new warhead, we need to develop a much better idea of how deterrence might operate in the future.

STANLEY ORMAN

Rockville

MAJ. GEN. EUGENE FOX

Army (retired)

McLean

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