- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2007

Undeserving enemies

Nat Hentoff’s column “This is America?” (Op-Ed, yesterday) portrays the plight of enemy combatants detained at Guantanamo Bay as illegal and inhumane; he suggests that what we are doing is un-American. Mr. Hentoff apparently believes that America’s enemies are entitled to the same rights as U.S. citizens but that is not what our laws say.

He complains about the passage of the Military Commission Act of 2006, which received bipartisan support and passed the Senate 65-34 and the House 250-170. Of course, he only mentions that President Bush signed it, not that it received the support of 315 of our 535 legislators.

Mr. Hentoff has obtained the information for his article from the prisoners themselves as relayed to him through their attorneys. Naturally, such information should not be challenged since it comes from such impeccable sources as defense attorneys. And let’s not forget Mr. Hentoff’s other “reliable” sources — Amnesty International and the New York Times, whose antiwar sentiments are well known.

Of course, it is the obligation of any jihadist worth his salt to manipulate the press by complaining of mistreatment in an effort to gain sympathy from the general public. They couldn’t have chosen a more sympathetic spokesman for their cause than Mr. Hentoff.

There is one thing glaringly absent from Mr. Hentoff’s article — an opposing view. Readers are expected to believe every sympathetic word relayed from America’s enemies while official statements are notably absent. Don’t blame officials for not cooperating with journalists who have a long and shameful track record of disseminating what they want us to read, while simply ignoring facts that don’t fit their worldview. With so many journalists against us, is it any wonder that America is losing the public relations battle?

RICHARD W. RESSLER

North Olmsted, Ohio

Enough with the sugar-coated rhetoric

In reading the column “Immigration reform urgency” (Commentary, yesterday) by Donna Brazile, it is interesting how she managed to make illegal aliens and the imposition they exert seem almost reasonable with her simple choice of rhetorical tone.

Illegal aliens become “undocumented workers,” and their impact on us all is called a “contribution” to society. Ignored in all of the flowery language meant to sound reasonable, is an acknowledgement that: 1) illegal aliens are criminals for having broken our immigration laws and 2) the social safety net put in place for America citizens and legal immigrants has been exploited to the breaking point by illegal aliens.

Miss Brazile apparently feels more sympathy for the illegal aliens and what penalty they pay for their crime than the victims of the gangs like MS-13 that has arrived here in the shadow of these illegal aliens.

She decries the enforcement by the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) for tearing these illegal alien families apart, while ignoring the fact that the families are paying a price for the actions of their parents, who are ultimately responsible for their plight. It is the adult illegal aliens who should be derided for their actions, not our valiant ICE agents, who are simply trying to uphold the law in the face of a massive force of illegal aliens.

NORMAN HENDRICKSON

Bowie

Empty-handed Democrats

The Democrats are in a tough position right now, regarding the conflict in Iraq. If President Bush is able to settle the problem there successfully before he leaves office, he (and the Republicans) will get a lot of kudos for a job well done. That will hurt the Democrats significantly. If they are able to force a pullout now, before Mr. Bush leaves, it may create an escalation of violence there, which they will have to take responsibility for — just ahead of the election. That will hurt them badly, as well (“Bush vetoes war deadline,” Page 1, Wednesday).

If there is no resolution before the election and the Democrats win the White House, then they have an even bigger problem. What are they going to do — pull out immediately and potentially leave the Middle East in chaos, or stay and vindicate Mr. Bush’s policy all along? It’s a lose-lose situation for them. They are floundering right now, trying to figure which way will cause the least amount of damage.

It’s easy to criticize the current administration for its “failed” policy, but it’s a challenge to come up with a plan that is better and workable. The Democrats don’t really have one presently, and it could be their undoing in 2008.

CAPT. JAMES GREEN

Navy (retired)

Cedar Hills, Utah

Try, try again

In an interview with Newsweek in February 2007, former Secretary of State Colin Powell stated, “I don’t like the administration saying, ‘Powell went, Armitage went… and [they] got nothing.’ We got plenty,” in reference to their trips to Syria. I imagine Mr. Powell would be just as frustrated with your editorial titled, “Diplomacy with the rogues,” (yesterday) which unfortunately uses the same line of argument he, himself, condemns.

Dialogue will not always yield intended results and sides might not necessarily reach an agreement. However, there is only one way to find out. Trying. At the end, there is not much to lose, but a great deal to gain.

AHMED SALKINI

Press Secretary

Embassy of Syria

Washington

The great whaling debate

Sean Lengell’s article “Whaling ban strains U.S.-Japan relations” (Page 1, April 26) has prompted me to write. To characterize the controversy surrounding the resumption of commercial whaling as a power struggle between the United States and Japan over the control of International Whaling Commission (IWC) not only misstates the real issue, but it also further widens the age-old polarization between the anti- and pro-whaling camps.

Moreover, global media’s constant pitting one side against the other — thus politicizing it — strengthens the resolve of the two opposing views, preventing the full IWC membership from ever reaching an acceptable compromise.

Palau is a relative newcomer, having gained full-fledged IWC membership in its own name and right in April 2002 and made its debut at IWC54 at Simonoseki, Japan. We have actively participated in each annual meeting since and look forward to IWC59 in Anchorage, Alaska, hosted for the first time by the United States.

What we understand about the moratorium on commercial whaling is this: The IWC adopted the ban in 1982 as a temporary conservation measure to last only for 10 years. In the meantime, the Scientific Committee of the IWC developed the Revised Management Procedure (RMP) for calculating quotas for abundant stocks of whales.

The RMP, unfortunately, has not been implemented for more than 15 years, and continues to be polarized while attempting to negotiate an acceptable Revised Management Scheme (RMS) for regulating commercial whaling if and when it is resumed.

Relying, however, on its superior voting majority, the anti-whaling camp has tactfully managed to postpone the resolution of the RMS, and keeps on reneging on its commitment on the ban.

Politicking aside, IWC members should all look inwardly and ask themselves: Who was/is responsible for the eventual demise of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which was established in Washington under the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), and whose mission is “to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry”?

VICTOR UHERBELAU

Alternate whaling commissioner

Koror, Republic of Palau

Undeserving enemies

Nat Hentoff’s column “This is America?” (Op-Ed, yesterday) portrays the plight of enemy combatants detained at Guantanamo Bay as illegal and inhumane; he suggests that what we are doing is un-American. Mr. Hentoff apparently believes that America’s enemies are entitled to the same rights as U.S. citizens but that is not what our laws say.

He complains about the passage of the Military Commission Act of 2006, which received bipartisan support and passed the Senate 65-34 and the House 250-170. Of course, he only mentions that President Bush signed it, not that it received the support of 315 of our 535 legislators.

Mr. Hentoff has obtained the information for his article from the prisoners themselves as relayed to him through their attorneys. Naturally, such information should not be challenged since it comes from such impeccable sources as defense attorneys. And let’s not forget Mr. Hentoff’s other “reliable” sources — Amnesty International and the New York Times, whose antiwar sentiments are well known.

Of course, it is the obligation of any jihadist worth his salt to manipulate the press by complaining of mistreatment in an effort to gain sympathy from the general public. They couldn’t have chosen a more sympathetic spokesman for their cause than Mr. Hentoff.

There is one thing glaringly absent from Mr. Hentoff’s article — an opposing view. Readers are expected to believe every sympathetic word relayed from America’s enemies while official statements are notably absent. Don’t blame officials for not cooperating with journalists who have a long and shameful track record of disseminating what they want us to read, while simply ignoring facts that don’t fit their worldview. With so many journalists against us, is it any wonder that America is losing the public relations battle?

RICHARD W. RESSLER

North Olmsted, Ohio

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