Stolen American jobs
By awarding a $40 billion aerial-refueling tanker contract to the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. (EADS)/Airbus) ("Air Force contract under fire," Nation, Thursday), the Air Force flew tens of thousands of American jobs across the high seas to a company the United States has accused in a World Trade Organization lawsuit of accepting $100 billion in illegal subsidies that have contributed to the loss of tens of thousands of aerospace jobs.
Amazingly, the U.S. Air Force said that it did not take into account the devastating job impact of outsourcing 44,000 tanker jobs to Europe. Of course, technically, it is not required to do so.
However, procurement laws shouldn't allow the Defense Department to ignore the fact that the Airbus 330 — the French-based airframe chosen by the department — receives billions in illegal European subsidies that enable EADS to undercut American airframe manufacturers.
These ham-handed actions by defense officials are tailor-made for a Keystone Kops-style political cartoon. We build the best aerospace industry in the world.
The Europeans try to steal market share by dumping billions of subsidies into French-based EADS. Our U.S. trade representative fights these trade subsidies. Now defense rewards the wrongdoers with the most important defense contract in decades.
At best, the department must be asleep at the switch. Its senior officials should join the French Legionnaires.
General vice president
International Association of
Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Upper Marlboro, Md.
Sing a song
Thanks to Dick Armey ("Airing on free use," Commentary, Friday) for defending intellectual property in broadcast radio as a matter of justice to the creators.
Today's producers of music artists, management and record companies offer consumers around the world a vast array of music for all tastes. Those producers deserve to be rewarded handsomely for their efforts, not cheated of royalties by legal loopholes for broadcast radio or online file sharing.
Without the producers of music, we'd be stuck listening to our own off-key shower singing.
Edd Doerr indicates that public opinion has been against school voucher plans ("Aiding Catholic schools," Letters, Friday).
I doubt this would have been the case without the vociferous objections of teachers unions to vouchers. Mr. Doerr also points out that Catholic school enrollment has declined significantly since 1965. It would be more correct to note that this is not an enrollment problem, but is caused by the disappearance of Catholic schools.
This is the result of the literal dying off of the nuns who are willing to devote their lives to our children.
Unfortunately, the greed and narcissism of our modern culture is not encouraging replacement of this source of support for Catholic schools, and those attitudes are producing teachers whose priority seems to be focused on collective bargaining over selflessly teaching our children.
If the current approach of shoveling so much money into public-school coffers is so successful, why is the number of private schools at an all-time high?
Individual gun rights
Edwin M. Yoder Jr.'s reasoning in his March 5 Commentary column, "Bearing arms and verbal harms," is questionable.
His view of rights given to "the people" as being rights given to the community, which could in turn confer those rights on specific individuals (e.g., granting only militia members the right to bear arms) is contrary to the generally accepted meaning of the Constitution.
If we followed this line of reasoning, the "right of people to peaceably assemble" would apply only in regard to issues authorized by the community, to be exercised only by those to whom the community granted the right to assemble. This clearly is inimical to the views of the framers.
Another problem with Mr. Yoder's view: Exactly what constitutes a "community," and what level of authority does it have? The 10th Amendment to the Constitution makes a clear distinction between the individual "States" and "the people," so the "community" is not the state.
Under his interpretation, the Constitution grants gun rights not to the state or to individuals but to some entity in between, a community. However, that would mean that the Constitution empowers a community to override the laws of the state in which it is located on how and to whom certain constitutional rights should be conferred. Again, this is inconsistent with the intent of the Framers.
Also, for Mr. Yoder's argument to hold would mean that the framers had discarded the previously prevailing right of the individual to keep and bear arms as enshrined in the 1688 Rights of Englishmen.
In the early days of the republic, guns were essential for self-defense against criminals, wild animals and hostile Indian tribes. Any proposal to eliminate such a cherished fundamental right surely would have provoked a major debate. But there is no evidence of such a debate.
Finally, Mr. Yoder's argument that supporters of gun rights are akin to those who would eliminate all rules on automobile operation and ownership is misguided. In the automobile analogy, the supporters of gun rights advocate reasonable restrictions such as stop signs and rules of the road. The opponents of gun rights are the ones who would allow you to own a car but require that it be disassembled and locked in your garage.
According to Rep. Frank Wolf, Virginia Republican ("Wolf's crusade," Inside Politics, Friday), President Bush's appearance at the forthcoming Beijing Olympics "would be akin to President Franklin D. Roosevelt sitting in the same stands as Germany's Adolf Hitler in 1936."
Roosevelt did not attend the Berlin Olympics, but he refused to do anything to discourage American athletes from taking part. The United States Olympic Committee favored participating in the games despite the Nazis' persecution of German Jewry, and the Roosevelt administration, which at that time was still interested in maintaining friendly relations with Germany, claimed it could not "interfere with the freedom of decision" of the USOC. (The U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics later vividly demonstrated the lengths to which a president in fact can go in this regard.) Nor did Roosevelt later regret his stance. After the games, he told Rabbi Stephen S. Wise that Americans who attended the Olympics "tell me that they saw that the synagogues were crowded and apparently there is nothing very wrong."
Mr. Wolf is correct when he suggests that by not only supporting U.S. participation but also accepting China's invitation to personally attend the 2008 Olympics, Mr. Bush is stepping into a controversy that carries disturbing reminders of 1936. What remains to be seen is whether Mr. Bush will learn from Roosevelt's mistake and speak out against Beijing's human-rights abuses, its supply of advanced weapons to rogue regimes and its support for the genocidal government of Sudan.
David S. Wyman Institute for