- The Washington Times - Friday, November 2, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Unthinking alarmism

Nat Hentoff’s libertarian warnings in “The ‘Orwellian’ Bush administration” (Op-Ed, Monday) are just unthinking alarmism.

I am your basic average citizen going about my business — raising a family, working and interacting with various people, groups and institutions in society. Call me naive, but I don’t think for one minute that anyone is “targeting my fundamental freedoms,” nor do I think my civil rights are threatened. Life is actually pretty darn good in the United States. If anyone from so-called “Big Brother” happens to stumble on my “information” during their work to root out the bad guys in today’s world, I really don’t care. I’ve got nothing to hide.

Mr. Hentoff wants the reader to think we’ve got a problem, but he can only come up with the example of a not-yet-adjudicated claim by the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation that it was “subject to secret government surveillance.” Until Mr. Hentoff can document a case in which your basic John Q. Public, going about life as an ordinary citizen, is willfully and purposefully violated by the government (so far, it hasn’t happened), his arguments don’t rise above noise level with me.

CHRIS J. KRISINGER

Burke, Va.

Clinton’s dubious record

Regarding an apparent connection between a $3,000 contribution to her campaign by a controversial and perhaps racist DNA researcher and the subsequent involvement of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in earmarking a $900,000 grant for his research lab, we are told by Mrs. Clinton’s spokesman, “One thing had nothing to do with the other.” (“Hillary backed lab of donor,” Page 1, Tuesday).

Similarly, we were once assured that there was no quid pro quo relationship between the orchestration by an executive of a chicken-processing company, aided by a shady securities dealer, of a profit of $100,000 on Hillary’s $1,000 investment in the volatile cattle futures market and the relaxation, let us say, of environmental laws by then Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton while that same company dumped massive quantities of its waste into once pristine rivers.

Also, Mrs. Clinton has adamantly denied that payments to her brothers by people seeking presidential pardons from her husband had anything whatsoever to do with his granting pardons to those same people.

There may be times when inferences of wrongdoing from such circumstances would be appropriate. But given Mrs. Clinton’s unblemished record over many years of candor, probity and veracity, she must be accorded the full benefit of the doubt with respect to these occasions, the many comparable ones that have occurred in the past, the ones that are occurring as I write and the host of those that no doubt will occur in the future.

BARRY C. STEEL

Phoenix, Md.

LOST has many flaws

John B. Bellinger III claims President Reagan rejected the Law of the Sea Treaty solely because of objectionable “deep seabed” provisions (“LOST will benefit U.S.,” Letters, Wednesday). He’s wrong.

Mr. Reagan’s June 29, 1982 diary entry reads: “Decided in meeting will not sign ‘Law of the Sea’ treaty even without seabed mining provisions.”

Ambassador James Malone, Mr. Reagan’s chief LOST negotiator, subsequently explained Mr. Reagan’s rationale quite plainly: “It is not true, as argued by some, and frequently mentioned, that the U.S. rejected the Convention in 1982 solely because of technical difficulties with . The collectivist and redistributions provisions of the treaty were at the core of the U.S. refusal to sign.

“This remains the case today,” Mr. Malone added. He said that in 1995 after reviewing the 1994 agreement that Mr. Bellinger and other LOST apologists erroneously claim “fixed all the problems” identified by Mr. Reagan.

During his presidency, Mr. Reagan raised many serious and all-too-well-founded objections to LOST.Readers can learn more by reading the article by Steven Groves “Why Reagan Would Still Reject the Law of the Sea Treaty” at heritage.org. These critical problems have never been addressed, much less resolved.

EDWIN J. FEULNER

President

Heritage Foundation

Washington

Mukasey a poor choice

Attorney General nominee Judge Michael Mukasey has once again disappointed our national expectations. (“Mukasey refuses to call waterboarding illegal,” Nation, yesterday).

All four currently serving judge advocate generals for the armed forces are on record in qualifying waterboarding as torture and constituting a war crime.

The attorney general is the nation’s chief law enforcement officer and is tasked with the application of the rule of law. The attorney general must be able to maintain the delicate balance between national security and individual liberties and rights.

Mr. Mukasey’s hesitancy on this matter, his doubts as to whether noncitizens in U.S. custody should enjoy the protection of the U.S. Constitution and his prior advocacy for the creation of separate national security courts to hear terrorism-related cases foreshadow a possible unwillingness on his part to enforce the rule of law, including that of our Constitution and international legal standards that our nation has championed for decades.

It is time for President Bush to nominate an attorney general who stands up for the true values that have defined our nation; Mr. Mukasey is not such a nominee.

KAREEM SHORA

National executive director

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Washington

Blundering against Turkey

According to Tulin Daloglu’s Op-Ed column “Kurdish terror and the West” (Tuesday), Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice advises Turkey to restrain itself and suggests “the only way to fight PKK terrorism is through diplomacy.”

If memory serves, restraint and diplomacy were part of the advice she offered to her own boss the day after September 11. Perhaps she can heed her own advice to Turkey today and invite Osama bin Laden to the White House for talks with President Bush. And perhaps she can meet in Geneva with her counterpart Ayman al-Zawahiri, the prominent al Qaeda member.

What al Qaeda is to the United States, the PKK is to our NATO ally Turkey. In fact, before Miss Rice ever heard of bin Laden and his goon squad, the previous occupiers of her office had labeled the PKK “the bloodiest terror organization in the world.” So if we want the cooperation of our allies in fighting terrorism, we ought to do a little cooperating ourselves. At the least, we should not make it more difficult for them in their fight. As we learned recently, American arms, supposedly intended for our “ally” the warlord and leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party Massoud Barzani, are in the hands of PKK thugs who use them to murder Turkish soldiers and civilians. What explanation does Miss Rice have for this fiasco?

As for the spiteful-sounding “absolutely nothing” remark of Gen. Benjamin Mixon regarding any plans against the PKK, he should be fired posthaste. We don’t need blundering generals who bear a grudge against our Turkish ally. We need competent commanders who succeed in the field. If the ilk of Gen. Mixon are the best we have, we are doomed in Iraq or anywhere else for that matter.

ILYAS BOTAS

Paterson, N.J.

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