- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

DNC rules

The Democratic National Committee ruling to seat half of the Florida and Michigan delegations is right for a number of reasons: Both of these states are swing states, and it would be wrong to disenfranchise those who went through the trouble of voting. At the same, time it shows that there will be punishment for those states that tried to get around the party rules to vote early. This ruling shows respect for the rules of the process. With this behind us, and as the primary season comes to an end, Democrats must unite for what will be a formidable challenge from Sen. John McCain.

STEVEN M. CLAYTON

Ocean, N.J.

Sufficient volunteers

Your Monday editorial cartoon showing a group of U.S. Foreign Service members holding signs saying “Heck no, we don’t want to go” [to serve in the war on terror] does not reflect reality.

First, by representing the Foreign Service as being made up only of white males, the cartoon’s conception of our nation’s career diplomats appears to be stuck in the year 1950.

Second, the cartoon also misrepresents recent historical fact. All Foreign Service members currently serving in Iraq are volunteers. All Foreign Service members who will rotate to Iraq this summer are volunteers. All Foreign Service members who have served in Iraq since 2003 have been volunteers.

No Foreign Service member has ever had to be ordered to serve in Iraq. The same is true for our diplomats serving in Afghanistan and the dozen other locations designated by the Department of Defense as being combat zones.

The State Department is in the process of selecting Foreign Service volunteers to rotate to Iraq in summer 2009. I am confident that, once again, sufficient volunteers will step forward. I will be one of them.

JOHN K. NALAND

President

American Foreign Service Association

Washington

Father’s Day tributes

Sunday’s “Family Times” section carried an Associated Press story titled “Dad-as-dimwit humor wears thin.” It was about the not-funny negative stereotypes of fathers in Father’s Day cards, as contrasted with the sometimes breathless praise of mothers on Mother’s Day cards.

It got me to thinking about the most poignant and moving Father’s Day message I ever saw. It was about 25 years or so ago. Unfortunately, it was an advertisement, not a card. But whoever was responsible for it should be consulted about making Father’s Day cards more sympathetic to Dad.

It was an advertisement for Chivas Regal Scotch whisky. It consisted of little more than a pile of canceled checks obviously spanning the first 20 years or so of someone’s life. All the checks were signed by one man, presumably the dad, and they started out covering things like diaper service and pediatricians, then moved on to things like bicycles, orthodontists, summer camp, Little League and so on, finally concluding with a big one written to a college for tuition. The simple message at the end read, “You can never thank your father enough. But you can give him Chivas Regal.”

We need to see more of that spirit, sans the commercial message, in Father’s Day tributes.

KELLEY DUPUIS

Editor, the Liberator

American Coalition for Fathers & Children

Washington

Wishing peace for Israel

I found interesting and thought-provoking the two commentaries regarding the current peace speculation between Israel and Syria, “Syria’s genocidal intentions,” by Zalman Shoval and Louis Rene Beres (Op-Ed, Friday) and “Will Israel and Syria get serious?” by Claude Salhani (Commentary, Saturday). While Mr. Salhani talked about the huge steps along the road, Mr. Shoval and Mr. Beres took a much more pragmatic approach and looked into what this was really all about.

It’s incredible how many people in this world are just wishin’ and hopin’ that peace will come to Israel. In spite of all the history and evidence, including every pronouncement by Iran and extremist leaders and terrorists in the Middle East that they “will bury Israel” and in spite of the continuous brainwashing of their young children by parents and schools that the Jews should be hated and exterminated, people still wish and hope.

In this current go-around, the Syrians want something for nothing. The big prize to the Syrians in these talks is the Golan Heights. Strategically, this 452-square-mile strip of the highest land in Israel is the most critical area for Israel’s protection and survival. Further, the Golan is the source of the majority of Israel’s natural water supply.

This should make all people with family or inspirational interest in Israel, not to mention all who want to faithfully support our treaties and commitments, wonder what Sen. Barack Obama would do in an effort to bring about peace in the Middle East. He says we wants to negotiate with the leaders of countries such as Iran and Syria. Will he force upon Israel (threatening to cut off funding, arms and assistance) a treaty which gives away the Golan Heights or other areas of strategic value so he can make a name for himself and perhaps therefore unwittingly be instrumental in the eventual downfall of the Jewish state? A liberal slant and lack of experience in foreign affairs could be very costly.

CHRISTOPHER S. MOODY

Gaithersburg

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