- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2000

Bill a comprehensive strategy to curb TB

As The Washington Times reported, The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on June 12 that superdiseases are being created by overuse of antibiotics ("Bipartisan duo sees antibiotics overuse as a threat to security," World, June 13). Concerned leaders of the House International Relations Committee plan to hold a hearing on the risks this poses to U.S. security.

Other members of Congress already have introduced legislation to step up the U.S. response to drug-resistant diseases, particularly tuberculosis. Sen. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican, and Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Democrat, introduced the Stop TB Now Act of 2000 (S.2643) on May 25. "The bill has two components," Mr. Stevens told colleagues, "a treatment strategy and the goal of arresting the rise of more resistant strains of tuberculosis." This bill calls for a larger portion of U.S. foreign aid to be devoted to international TB control, $100 million per year in 2001 and 2002.

The Stevens-Inouye bill joins one introduced earlier in the House by Rep. Sherrod Brown, Ohio Democrat, and Rep. Constance A. Morella, Maryland Democrat.

Upon introducing the Senate bill, Mr. Stevens said, "According to the World Health Organization, in another three to five years, without a comprehensive prevention and treatment strategy, drug-resistant strains of TB will be the dominant form of the disease."

In this era of global trade and jet-speed movement of people, Americans in every state are at risk. In this country, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is costly to treat up to $250,000 per patient and even with our advanced medical care, still kills half of its victims.

There is a relatively cheap and successful treatment for ordinary TB that cures 95 percent of patients and stops development of MDR-TB. Unfortunately, this WHO-recommended regime is only reaching one out of five people sick with active TB. Because we can't seal our borders against TB, our best defense against MDR-TB is effective treatment for everyone in the hardest-hit countries. Congress should adopt the provisions of the Stop TB Now Act.

JOANNE CARTER

Washington

No better time for Baltic States to join NATO

In the timely and informative column "Under Soviet rule" (Op-Ed, June 15), commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of the Baltic States, Lawrence E. Murphy pleaded strongly for the admittance of the Baltic States into NATO because Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians came close to being exterminated by the Soviet Union. Eliminating a menacing security gap in this part of Europe is an even more compelling reason to extend NATO's protection to the Baltic States.

After the Baltic States entered the world stage at the end of World War I by detaching themselves from the crumbling czarist empire and defending their independence against the subjugating communist forces, peace treaties between them and Russia in 1920 not only became the cornerstone of Baltic independence, but for two decades guaranteed peace and security in the region.

The Nazi-Soviet conspiracy, which manifested itself in the notorious Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939, shattered this peace and security and robbed the Baltic people of their freedom and independence for 50 years. But the annexation of the Baltic States was not a blessing for the Soviet Union, either. According to Jack Matlock, our former ambassador in Moscow, independence movements sprang up in the Soviet Union because of the subduing of the Baltic people, playing a key role in breaking up the Soviet Union.

Today, Russian officials are speaking of a rise in neo-fascism in Latvia and Estonia and are accusing Latvians and Estonians of violating the human rights of aging Soviet war veterans. The charges of neo-fascism are without foundation, and the timing of the charges is suspicious. As to the charge of discrimination, not a single international human rights organization that has examined the situation of the Russian population in the Baltic States has found any violation.

We do not know whether such Russian accusations are intended to delay or suppress applications of the Baltic States to join NATO or whether Russian officials have a more sinister plan. What we do know is that among the applicant countries, the Baltic States have the most urgent need to join NATO.

CAMILLA KUUS

Washington

Heritage Foundation far from invisible on Kosovo

The Washington Times should have done some simple fact checking before repeating the preposterous claims of unnamed "Senate and House aides" and an unidentified "former top-ranking Heritage [Foundation] director" that "Heritage was virtually invisible last year at the height of the Kosovo crisis and during the congressional push for U.N. reforms" ("Think tank to revive foreign-policy initiative," June 17).

On Kosovo, for example, our silence was expressed in 1999 papers on "Helping Kosovo Help Itself" (April 5), "The Kosovo Liberation Army and the Future of Kosovo" (May 13), "Catalogue of Confusion: The Clinton Administration's War Aims in Kosovo" (May 13) and "Lessons from the War in Kosovo" (July 22).

These followed several 1998 titles, including "No U.S. Ground Troops in Kosovo" (Oct. 8) and "Dampening the Tinderbox: What the U.S. Should Do About Kosovo" (June 5). And more recently (though the focus of your article was 1999), we weighed in with "Kosovo: The Way Out of the Quagmire" (Feb. 25, 2000)

On U.N. reform issues, we were similarly mute in 1999, publishing papers discussing "The International Criminal Court vs. the American People" (Feb. 5), how "Congress Should Hold the Line on U.N. Reform" (June 4) and "Does U.S. Foreign assistance Elicit Support for U.S. Policy? Not at the United Nations" (Oct. 22).

The purpose of the fund-raising appeal discussed in your article is to raise money so we can do even more on such issues. Your reporter appears to be the only reporter in Washington who doesn't realize that our foreign-policy team already does as much as, or more than, anyone else in town.

HERB BERKOWITZ

Vice president

Heritage Foundation

Washington

PETA says those hooked on fishing should put away rod and reel

Allow me to respond to Michelle Malkin's put-down of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for standing up for fish ("Tangled line on fishing," Commentary, June 19).

Like Ms. Malkin, I spent many summers fishing with my dad. He was a superb fisherman who often guided others to the best fishing spots in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. He was a gentle man, but he had been raised to believe the myth that fish feel no pain. He taught my brother Bob and me to cast a Stanley Weedless or Daredevil lure, to lie it down as pretty as you please next to a log in the shallows, where a big one might be snoozing in the sun. Our family cast for muskies, trolled for northerns, fly-fished for trout (in beautiful Canadian lakes) and still-fished for walleyes. I hated to see a fish thrashing on a hook, so I would go fishing with Dad and hope I wouldn't catch a fish. I hoped that if I hooked any, they would be little so I could throw them back. Then I learned that most fish thrown back die later. That's when I abandoned my rod and reel. So did my brother.

Some years later, when my Dad caught a huge muskie and held him up for others to see, he had a sad smile on his face. "I feel sorry for him," he said with embarrassment. Not long after that, he put away his tackle for good.

I believe that fishermen, by and large, are a gentle lot who are interested mainly in spending enjoyable time on the water. I think many of them will take a good hard look at the fact that hooked fish do suffer and decide to stop fishing in favor of boating, swimming, snorkeling, hiking, biking or just sitting on the shore talking together or reading a good book.

CARLA BENNETT

Senior writer

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk

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