- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 8, 2007

No amnesty for Mugabe

The article by Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai can best be described as an insult to thousands of Robert Mugabe’s victims (“A way out for Mugabe,” Op-Ed, Friday.

How can one support a proposal that Mr. Mugabe should be allowed to go free? What about justice for the more than 20,000 Ndebele people Mr. Mugabe killed in Matabeleland and the midland regions in the 1980s?

Mr. Tsvangirai made the call for amnesty because he, too, will be covered: When the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) committed the massacres against the Ndebele, Mr. Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change party leaders were part and parcel of the killing machine.

We the victims and survivors of the genocide in Matabeleland will never forgive Mr. Mugabe and some leaders in Mr. Tsvangirai’s MDC Party who were part of ZANU-PF at that time.

MZIMKHULU MADONSELA

Cape Town, South Africa

Gun control and mental patients

Steve Chapman is right in detecting that someone failed to put a known mental patient on the “do not sell” list, and it was bad judgment (“Gun control for psychotics?” Commentary, Saturday).

Virginia officials announced they could not put him on the gun check list because of a flaw in state law, but that is not true. A careful reading shows that the law says officials were not required to put him on the list. They could have, but were not required. Most people are not good at these routine decisions and that is why it must be mandated. Then the mental-health professional does not have to be the decision maker.

K.L. TUTTLE

Chester, Md.

Liberal Democratic elitists

The liberal Democratic leadership in the Congress says that they want to stop the war in Iraq and bring the troops home. The reason given is to avoid more American soldiers dying in this “unwinnable” war, which is already “lost.” The elite liberal Democrats have never really cared about American soldiers, their families or the U.S. military as an institution. The liberal elite consider our military power a main cause of what is wrong with America (“Democrats eye limit on war mandate,” Page 1, Friday).

The true reason for stopping the war as soon as possible is that the liberal Democrats want a defeat of the United States in Iraq during President Bush’s tenure. They want the defeat of the American forces in Iraq in order to wrap it around the president’s neck, for purely partisan political purposes.

The liberal Democrats have calculated and said so several times (in statements by Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York and Majority Leader Harry Reid) that a defeat in Iraq will win them more seats in Congress in the next general election. Also a defeat in Iraq will almost guarantee them the White House.

The huge damage done to our national security by their raw political ambitions is of no consequence to the Democrat liberal elite; winning the next general election is all that matters.

When the American public internalizes the real purpose of why the liberal elite want the defeat and humiliation of America in the war in Iraq, they will be voted out of office for a generation.

To call the elitist liberal Democratic Party leadership unpatriotic for their calculated defeatist actions in the Iraq war is being generous to them. Treason more aptly describes their cowardly actions against their country in time of war.

The United States faces many challenges in this very unstable and dangerous world. Prominent among them is the terrible and very real threat of radical Islam. A united America can accomplish anything, including the defeat of radical Islam. The undermining of our will to fight in Iraq, avoiding victory at all cost — which is pursued by the American liberal elite — is but one of the many ways in which liberals are putting this country at risk.

ARNALDO VAQUER

Arlington

The Western Sahara tragedy

The editorial “Improving prospects in the Western Sahara” (Saturday) presented an unbalanced picture of the Western Sahara dispute. It failed to mention a letter, signed by 45 members of Congress, that denounces Morocco’s autonomy plan as a “violation of international law.”

Additionally, while the Polisario Front does refuse to modify its absolutist stance on self-determination, Morocco’s behavior is hardly conciliatory. In April, the same month that the autonomy plan was presented, Moroccan police in the Western Sahara arrested and beat several peaceful, pro-independence Sahrawi activists.

It’s admirable of The Washington Times to take an interest in resolving this often-ignored conflict. Morocco’s autonomy plan, however, is not the right way to do it. A true conclusion to the Western Sahara tragedy can come only through a free and fair referendum on independence.

WILL SOMMER

Washington

Taiwanese leader shows restraint

Before we fete Taiwan’s new Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh as a moderate toward China (“Moderate candidate brings hope to U.S.,” World, yesterday), let us first remember that the same title was also once given President Chen Shui-bian upon his 2000 inauguration.

Mr. Chen proactively adopted the “five no’s,” a set of promises geared toward alleviating U.S. and Chinese fears over his purported “pro-independence” policies. Since then, he has repeatedly held to the five no’s in the face of constant Chinese harassment and military intimidation. To wit, Taiwan has seen its bids to join the United Nations and World Health Organization repeatedly squelched by Chinese interference. It is also currently the target of an arsenal of more than 900 Chinese missiles.

Over the past seven years, China has also passed an “anti-secession” law mandating the use of force to annex Taiwan, employed a strategy to co-opt Taiwan’s opposition parties and blocked Taiwan’s attempts to engage with the world in almost every way imaginable. Yet Mr. Chen has remained relatively restrained and has avoided the issue of de jure independence, concentrating instead on cultivating a collective Taiwanese identity. It is this very drive to foster a healthy, unified society that has earned him Beijing’s enmity.

The “Mad Chen” angle is in reality a Beijing-constructed talking point swallowed hook, line and sinker by the international media, allowing China to repeatedly change the status quo while placing the blame for heightened tensions squarely on Taiwan.

Whenever the Taiwanese government moves to modernize its constitution, textbooks or military, the “Madman Chen is forcing us to war” rhetoric is trotted out to justify further Chinese intransigence. In reality, Mr. Chen has shown admirable restraint and has in fact made several peace overtures toward Beijing including proposed military confidence-building measures, loosened cross-strait investment regulations and even liberalized tourism rules that will allow large numbers of Chinese tourists into Taiwan for the first time.

These are not exactly the moves of a madman bent on Taiwanese independence; they are the policies of a president committed to peaceful coexistence with a larger neighbor. Looking back over the past seven years, Mr. Chen has done much more to avoid a shooting war in the Strait than he is given credit for. As for Mr. Hsieh, I’d be interested to see how much of a “moderate” Beijing paints him to be once he begins defending his countrymen’s hard-won democracy as president.

J. WRIGHT

Arlington

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