- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 5, 2007

Boycott Barry’s proposal

D.C. Council member Marion Barry’s idea on tolls (“Barry urges worker tolls,” Metropolitan, Wednesday) is a jolly good scheme (scam). I hope Maryland and Virginia take note. Maryland and Virginia can tax the D.C. residents leaving the city.

To show our gratitude for Mr. Barry’s great idea, let also the workers who travel to the District from Maryland and Virginia every day set the week of June 4 to boycott all business — i.e. service stations, restaurant, fast food and any thing which is taxed by the D.C. government. Tourists can shop in Maryland and Virginia, too. Virginia residents entering Maryland, and visa versa, won’t be charged tolls. Mr. Barry, who has his own tax problems, should withdraw this dumb idea. Remember, you foreigners from outside the District, brown bag it for the week of June 4.

JIM DAWSON

Clinton, Md.

Don’t scorn diplomacy

In her Friday column, “Enough sarcasm,” Diana West dismisses out of hand the art of diplomacy in the Middle East. She employs words like “destabilizing” and “terrorist state” to describe Iran’s and Syria’s actions in the region, but a hard line and name-calling is her rhetorical tactic. It works to inflame those who seem to believe that war is always the answer.

One is chilled to think of the devastation her strategy would have wrought throughout the Cold War when the Soviet Union was enemy number one, had a nuclear arsenal and some in high places willing to use those weapons.

The United States emerged victorious against the Soviet Union because leaders of both parties (Presidents Reagan and Kennedy) understood that diplomacy and detente were superior to death and destruction.

The Middle East is a cauldron today. The United States has the ability — as it did against the Soviet Union — to bomb the area into oblivion. To what end?

Given that our own generals claim that military might alone will not bring victory in Iraq, diplomacy and political solutions must be employed. Inflammatory rhetoric is for demagogues.

JOAN SALEMI

W. Springfield

A barbarous procedure

Morton Kondracke criticizes the Supreme Court, with its two conservatives appointed by President Bush, for imposing its judgment over “medical experts on what late term abortion procedures will protect a woman’s health” (“Stem cell readjustment?” Commentary, Wednesday). He then cites the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as his medical and constitutional authority in objecting to the Supreme Court decision upholding the ban on the hideous partial-birth abortion procedure.

On the other side, the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists says the partial-birth abortion procedure is never medically necessary and risks women’s health.

It is very sad that intelligent journalists such as Mr. Kondracke can support the unnecessary procedure (it takes days to prepare to do a partial-birth abortion, so it is not an emergency procedure) which is more like extremely painful infanticide than abortion.

What could be worse than the advocacy of such barbarous procedures?

RICHARD A. RETTA

Rockville

Syria’s ‘good American’

The Page One article on Wednesday regarding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Syrian and her warm welcome by the Syrians reminded me of a visit to Vietnam by a well-known movie actress during the Vietnam War (“Syrians bolstered by visit of ‘good American’ Pelosi”).

The article stated that as a result of Mrs. Pelosi’s visit she is being praised “as a friend of Syria.” This appears to be a new rendition of an ancient custom in the Middle East to grant the title “friend of the king,” or “relative of the king,” for meritorious activity benefitting the king (the latter accolade being the higher of the two).

Perhaps if Mrs. Pelosi had been able to find a seat on a quad machine gun mount and pretend to shoot down American aircraft, she would have merited the accolade “Relative of the Syrians.” Just a thought.

H.E. BUTTS

Leesburg

The pitfalls of the bottom line

Wesley Pruden’s column Friday morning was wonderful (“Printers’ ink blues (save the tears)”). It should shed some light on what is happening in our country. The right and the left have combined to make interest groups number one over the common interest of town, city, state and country. The economic bottom line is what matters now even if that puts the community at the bottom.

Our lust for bottom-line results, in economic terms only, means real community issues will go away simply because they won’t sell in a world that doesn’t value community. Our food is made by big business. Our health care is being run by firms with no community ties. And our young kids are fighting a war overseas more for these worldwide economic interests than just their communities and families.

The worst irony is that those leaders of this economic movement have no idea it is happening. They actually think what they are doing is a good thing. President Bush and everyone else had better wake up, because if we accept this new way of life as normal we will lose a lot more than just our newspapers. We will lose all goodness from life, and no amount of money can replace that.

ANDREW MCCARTHY

Leesburg

Pelosi’s plane

Concerning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request to for a VIP jet (“Travel dispute,” Inside the Ring, April 27):

The speaker has legitimate security concerns about traveling via commercial jet. Yet, she is a member of the legislative — not executive — branch, and her travel responsibilities are really only to and from her district. The solution is for the Air Force to offer her the use of a C-37 (Gulfstream V) business jet.

The aircraft has the speed and range to go from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, but does not have the room to carry more than a few close aides, avoiding concerns about her handing out perks for hundreds of hangers-on that could be accommodated by a 737-type jet.

J.T. SINK

Olympia, Wash.

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