- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Sri Lankan conflict

Bruce Fein bemoaned the “Plucked peace flower” (Commentary, Tuesday) ignoring that the Tamil Tiger rebel group (known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE) violently plucked the blossoming peace flower on April 21, 2003, when it unceremoniously walked away from negotiations.

Sri Lanka was not “expelled” from the U.N. Human Rights Council, as Mr. Fein states. It was not re-elected, like several other countries. Mr. Fein attributes that decision to the government’s renunciation of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA). On the contrary, in terms of the agreement, the government gave 14 days’ notice of “termination” of a CFA, which had been violated more than 3,830 times by the LTTE.

Mr. Fein’s view of global conflicts appears simplistic, lumping together situations in Sudan, Quebec, Puerto Rico and East Timor as if they all are comparable and trying to foist a solution on Sri Lanka without in-depth knowledge of the dynamics of Sri Lanka’s conflict.

Mr. Fein refers to “a Tamil referendum on statehood.” There cannot be a process of consultation limiting ballots to Tamils. Thanks to LTTE’s ethnic cleansing, the population in the north today is mainly Tamil, but the east is undeniably multiethnic, with Muslims forming the majority and Tamils and Sinhalese forming the balance. Moreover, whatever consultation of the people takes place, it needs to comply with the constitution of the country.

The LTTE has, over the years, tried to impose itself as sole representative of the Tamil people, and in so doing, it has prevented holding democratic elections in areas under its hegemony.

In his Oxford Union address on May 13, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that “we are firm in our resolve to have a negotiated solution to the crisis in Sri Lanka. I do not believe in a military solution.”

The peace flower needs space to bloom once again in Sri Lanka.

BERNARD GOONETILLEKE

Ambassador for Sri Lanka Washington

Search for a proper term

John Solomon, The Washington Times’ new executive editor was quoted recently (The Washington Post, Style, Tuesday) as saying he wanted to “make sure opinion … didn’t bleed into the news pages.”

While this is a worthy goal for all free press, it is befuddling why Mr. Solomon then issued a memo banning the term “illegal aliens” from the paper. Shaping words to fit politically correct molds is interjecting opinion as surely as other forms of media manipulation he claims he wants to avoid.

“Alien” is a term defined in the federal code (8 U.S.C. Section 1101) and means “any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.” The term “illegal alien” is used by legal professionals across the board, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

One has to wonder, then, what alternative term would be as objective and appropriate. “Undocumented workers”?

With a few keystrokes, the illegality is removed, and it suggests these aliens are gainfully employed, which they’re not. “Undocumented Immigrants” is similarly empty and an oxymoron to boot, as immigrants by definition have green cards.

Our nation’s immigration policy is in tatters, as evidenced by the flood of 13 million aliens who have illegally crossed our borders. Euphemisms and heated rhetoric from either side are counterproductive to a meaningful and civil public policy debate. Keep the term as is. As Edmund Burke said, “A very great part of the mischiefs that vex this world arise from words.”

Dan Stein

President

Federation for American Immigration Reform

Washington

Ready to serve in Iraq

I am writing from the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, where I am serving as a Foreign Service officer. Over dinner last night, I was telling my wife how a clear majority of the other Foreign Service officers in the embassy have volunteered for tours of service in Iraq (or have already served there at least once) including every diplomat in my own section.

The next day, I was alerted to Bill Garner’s editorial cartoon (“War on terror era,” Monday). Lord knows what ax you have to grind against the Foreign Service, but get your facts straight before you slander the desperately short-staffed diplomatic corps, a significant proportion of whom have served or will serve in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.

I am agonizing over a tour in Iraq. I have the will and expertise to contribute, but I also have a very young family. Like all Foreign Service officers, I will serve there or in another conflict-affected area in the coming years. It’s depressing to be subjected to ideological attacks when one is contemplating leaving one’s young children and wife for a year or longer.

LUDOVIC HOOD

Kuwait City

List for GOP success

Though I agree with many items listed by Paul M. Weyrich in his column “Agenda Needed on Capitol Hill,” (Commentary, Sunday), he does not go far enough and is not comprehensive enough.

The Republicans in Congress are rudderless and getting a bad case of “Democrat-itis,” a malignant and terminal disease for Republicans that does not cause untoward symptoms in Democrats.

The Republicans just feasted at the trough with the farm bill and will feast some more with an aid package for the mortgage mess. As a collective group, the moron Republicans in Congress do not realize that the Democrats can tax and spend and get re-elected, but Republicans can’t. A lot of them who voted for the farm bill will learn that.

In case they care, I propose my list below. They can publish something like this list of national priorities and emphasize them in their campaigns.

1) Defeat liberalism in America. Liberalism is America’s worst enemy.

2) Win the war on terror.

3) Support the economy, eliminate the tax code (flat tax) and strengthen the dollar.

4) Vote for fiscal responsibility, limited government and no earmarks.

5) Become energy independent with oil and nuclear power.

There are other very important issues, including immigration, health care, Social Security, our education system and the Supreme Court, but if the first five are handled first, that would be an excellent start.

ARNALDO VAQUER

Arlington

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