- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Author didn't stand a ghost of a chance in article

I was very disappointed to read such unfair criticism of Charles Colson in "Ghostwriting trend haunts Christian publishing world" (Culture, et cetera, July 7). Mr. Colson is one of the few best-selling authors Christian or otherwise who consistently give full acknowledgment to all of their "ghostwriters" and, in many cases, even give them cover credit as co-authors.

Take the cover of "How Now Shall We Live," Mr. Colson's most recent book and the one that was criticized in the article for having his name appear larger than Nancy Pearcey's, for example. Big deal. There is no question that Mrs. Pearcey's name is displayed prominently on both the cover and the binding. I am confused as to how this can be interpreted as anything but Mr. Colson giving Mrs. Pearcey full credit as a co-author.

As one of Mr. Colson's employees during much of the time this book was being written, I know firsthand that he did indeed spend seven years conceptualizing, preparing for and writing this book much longer than Mrs. Pearcey's formal assignment on the project. A vast majority of ideas and stories and, frankly, the overall vision for the book were Mr. Colson's. Yes, Harold Fickett was a ghostwriter, but he is given his due in the book's credits. I also can assure The Washington Times that Mr. Fickett researched and wrote specifically according to Mr. Colson's instructions. Can Mr. Colson be to blame if Mrs. Pearcey is not mentioned in book reviews? Hardly. On the contrary, Mr. Colson went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that Mrs. Pearcey was included in interviews and publicity despite the fact that she was not the focus of media attention.

Rather than being criticized, Mr. Colson should be praised for his integrity and forthrightness regarding contributions to his many books. He should be heralded as an example for the rest of the Christian writing world to follow.



More support for the World War II Memorial

It seems that much of the discussion of the World War II Memorial has centered on how it impacts the vista of the Mall. I have seen images of the memorial design, and I question how anyone can claim that the memorial blocks views up and down the Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. It doesn't. Do the people making these claims think others can't see and draw conclusions for themselves?

The more important issue is that the memorial be placed in the correct historical context. Some point out that memorials commemorating the Vietnam and Korean wars aren't on the center line of the Mall. They shouldn't be. The men and women who fought in those conflicts were as courageous as any soldiers in American history, but those wars did not have the national and global impact of World War II.

In Korea and Vietnam, we fought for the survival of others. In World War II, we fought for our own survival. There is a magnitude of difference among these wars in terms of their importance in American and world history that must be recognized. Using that criteria, the World War II Memorial belongs at the Rainbow Pool site on the central axis of the Mall, for its importance in preserving democracy is every bit as great as the founding of our nation and its reunification a century later.

The World War II generation, as Tom Brokaw stated, is "The Greatest Generation." We deserve the memorial in its preliminarily approved design and location.


National commander

American Ex-Prisoners of War


Editorial gets it right on marching season

It is nice to see that The Washington Times has identified the troubled and hazardous position of the Orange Order ("Orange order march of anger," Editorial, July 12).

While the Irish Republican Army, Nationalist and Unionist organizations all have made significant sacrifices including a complete and substantial cessation of violence hard-line Protestant loyalists, as they are called, have filled the streets of Belfast and other towns of the north with scenes of violence and destruction. Unfortunately, the mainstream American media have ignored this perilous behavior. A fundamental double standard that frequently ignores the violent actions of loyalists is applied to the news coverage coming out of Northern Ireland.

In the future, it is necessary to include greater coverage of the true nature of the Orange Order's marching season. By marching through Catholic neighborhoods, the Orangemen celebrate the victory of William of Orange over the exiled Catholic King James and thereby attempt to reaffirm Protestant supremacy. The Times editorial did, thankfully, mention the historical origin of marching season. The Orangemen's display is painfully similar to Ku Klux Klansmen stomping through the streets of a predominately black neighborhood to affirm their authority, which would be utterly unacceptable. Marching Orangemen, no matter what historical importance they profess to represent, should not have the right to march through neighborhoods in which they are unwelcome.

In the end, it is refreshing to see some attention given to the situation in Northern Ireland and the struggle for all its citizens to find a lasting solution to this age-old conflict.



Behind the wheel not the best way to see Yosemite

The one ray of hope for the notion of getting through to someone like Thomas Sowell and his views on crowding in Yosemite National Park is that at least he recognizes the park is worth visiting ("Duplicity about Yosemite," Commentary, July 8). Otherwise, unfortunately, it seems he equates this jewel of a national park with downtown Manhattan. His judgment of human impacts on wildlife, vegetation, air quality, noise and all the rest comes down to this: Hey, I could find a parking spot.

It should be obvious to most who pay attention to park issues that finding a parking spot is not a proper litmus test. My own experience in Yosemite goes back to my first trip in 1970, and I have visited parks all over the country countless times. I have been to Yosemite 15 to 20 times, doing everything from staying in hotels to backpacking in remote areas.

I found it stunning that Mr. Sowell would equate the attempt to reduce the automobile's impact in the park with keeping certain people out. He even goes so far as to imply that "hardy outdoorsy" types don't use cars and that only the folks that "green bigots" want to keep out do. Good grief. Do I have to inform him that we all drive to the park and that the few shuttle bus systems available in parks work perfectly well to transport children and the elderly? I found Mr. Sowell's name-calling to be deeply offensive.

It might interest Mr. Sowell to know that as a backpacker, I often have been denied access to popular areas that are controlled to ensure that I and others of my ilk don't trample national parks by our sheer numbers. We backpackers don't whine about being discriminated against. We understand that we have to do our part to conserve the park.

It was difficult to find the thread of logic in Mr. Sowell's piece. He points to removal of a filling station as evidence of the jihad to get rid of certain people, stating that it was not spoiling any view. What does he think I fill my tank with, Gatorade? Should we build a roller coaster in the park if it doesn't spoil a view or is near existing structures? Mr. Sowell tries to bolster his opinion with warnings of "sweeping restrictions" the Clinton administration is supposed to be ramming through, but he does it without any explanation of what those restrictions are or what they are supposed to do.

Finally, he states that only the most hardy set foot beyond the parking lots in Yosemite. This is wrong and revealing. There are, in fact, many trails in national parks designed for those who can only stroll a short distance. There are many more for those who have some semblance of physical fitness. I suspect part of Mr. Sowell's problem is that he remains tethered to the parking lots and his car. Come on down the trail a way, Mr. Sowell. It's really not that bad.



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