- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

‘Irrational fools’

From my office window yesterday morning, I heard twice the usually heart-stirring notes of “Taps” played from somewhere amid a rabble of war protesters in McPherson Square, which included the particularly vitriolic group Code Pink. I say “usually” because today, those notes sounded hallow and, frankly, vulgar (“Anti-war protests muted but disruptive,” Metropolitan, yesterday).

For groups like Code Pink to audaciously use in protest the same notes that have bid solemn and final farewell to countless American heroes is to do violence against the honor and memory of our dead. This is the same collection of rabid women that protests the recruitment of brave young Americans into the armed services, scorns their protection of our rights and freedoms and regularly defiles their reputations.

As these protesters march effigies of dead Iraqis and bloodstained American hands down K Street, they add insult in their juxtaposition of those images with our military’s most somber salute. If they think they can insult and honor our troops simultaneously, they prove themselves the irrational fools I always have thought them to be.

ALEX COLEMAN

Washington

Environmental zealotry

After reading the column “Illuminating incident” (Commentary, Tuesday) I was both alarmed and infuriated.

When our elected officials passed the law mandating the eventual replacement of incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, whose best interest did they have in mind?

Like Mrs. Doane, I felt inclined to be more energy-efficient and acquired several bulbs for our home. I thank Mrs. Doane for sharing her experience with the public because we have six lovely and very lively children. I shudder at the thought of mercury in the air.

Now, based on my newly acquired knowledge, I am seriously considering removing all the compact fluorescent lights in my home.

I do not want to take any chances that my family might be contaminated with mercury if any of the bulbs break. I can’t help but wonder whether the environmental zealots are trying to preserve the planet at the cost of the health the people who inhabit it.

SONIA MCCULLOUGH

Springfield

Allied on visa program

I want to add to the “Lofty goals” item (Embassy Row, World, Tuesday) and say that Hungarian Ambassador Ferenc Somogyi and U.S. Ambassador to Hungary April Foley deserve our sincere support and gratitude as this quest for visa equality continues.

We still have several months ahead of us before we can see the final success of Hungary joining the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, but after 18 months of what appeared to be an endless effort, we’re pleased to see that a memorandum of understanding has been signed between the United States and Hungary.

More important, we’re seeing that in this step, the United States is also acknowledging the inequities and poor diplomacy of treating the citizens of an ally like Hungary less than fairly.

Those of us involved with this intense effort know how vital a role the embassies played, and despite last summer’s legislative challenges, we can see true progress.

I’m proud of the work we’ve done on behalf of our membership and the community at large along with many others to reach this point. However, we must not rest until Hungary and many other allies are admitted to this visa program.

We must treat all of our allies as we would like to be treated. As Mr. Somogyi noted, liberty manifests itself in the freedom to travel, and equality, in some respects, means equal access to each other’s countries.

In other words, equality and respect must exist among friends.

MAXIMILIAN N. TELEKI

President

Hungarian American Coalition

Washington

The ballistic missile threat

Joseph Cirincione’s “Missile defense” letter yesterday continues his confused view of the issue. In my Monday Op-Ed column, “Ploughshares blather,” I readily acknowledged his support for short-range ballistic missile defenses “his own view that short-range missiles can in fact be defended against with missile defenses” although I also pointed out that Mr. Cirincione appears to contradict himself by declaring in his March 5 House testimony that all “missile defense” programs were the “biggest scam” in Pentagon history. He claims in his letter that missile threats can be dealt with through “military preparedness,” including missile defenses, if proved feasible except, of course, defenses against long-range missiles, which he inexplicably says “cannot effectively intercept long-range enemy missiles.”

Defenses against long-range rockets have repeatedly been shown to work. Their benefits have been demonstrated in a new study by Baker Spring of the Heritage Foundation and by recent comments of retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey that missile defense is indispensable for both maintaining U.S. security and securing the capability to deter the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Finally, contrary to Mr. Cirincione’s claim, the Joint Chiefs have supported the missile-defense budget as critical to our security. This was highlighted recently by the testimony of our commander of U.S. Forces in Korea, where he said the North Korean ballistic missile threat remains serious. The facts remain: (1) the ballistic missile threat to the United States remains serious and is growing, and (2) America has no wish to be forced into a “mutual assured destruction” relationship with unstable rogue states, a condition inevitable if we should mistakenly eliminate the long-range missile defenses we have now deployed.

PETER HUESSY

President

GeoStrategic Analysis

Potomac

Media credibility

Monday’s and Tuesday’s editions carried reports from the Project for Excellence in Journalism, providing useful data on what is ailing print journalism (“Journalism ‘troubled,’ not lost, report suggests,” Nation, and “Right underrepresented in press’s diversity,” Nation).

I submit that both reports ignored a major reason for an ailing industry the increasing lack of credibility as the public realizes that many stories reflect more the views of the writers and the editors than the actual facts. In other words, the writers and editors are shaping the news rather than reporting it. The television news outlets are not immune to this problem. Journalistic ethics and integrity seem to be secondary to getting out the news, regardless of its slant or completeness.

In a sense, we see a semblance of a controlled press today, like Izvestia or Pravda in the old Soviet Union. There, the government controlled what and how something was presented to the public. Today, too much of the press appears to be controlled by a culture that arrogantly determines how to tailor a story.

We have seen major news organizations such as the New York Times decide to reveal a top-secret government program intended to protect Americans from terrorism. We have seen The Washington Post refuse to label terrorists as such when it reports attacks against Israel but have seen that it had no trouble calling the London bombers or the Madrid bombers what they were terrorists. We see the running count of Americans and Iraqis killed, but never do we see a running count of the number of terrorists killed in Iraq nor coverage of the progress being made. Why?

WARREN A. MANISON

Potomac

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