- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2000

Support of Republican Party becoming difficult

When I switched my party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1981, it was because I believed our new president, Ronald Reagan, had most if not all of the the right ideas. His belief in a free economy, lower taxes and freedom from government restraints for all citizens was also my creed. I have voted a straight Republican ticket in every local and national election since, with no exceptions, but no more.

The reason for this change of heart is the failure of the Republican majority in Congress to protect the interests of its constituents. The straw that broke this camel's back was the front page of The Washington Times on March 15. The headlines "Republicans not eager to repeal 'Gore gas tax' " and "Casualties feared as Clinton, NRA spar" woke me up to the fact that the majority party in Congress is not willing to fight for what most Americans believe in lower taxes, be it the gasoline tax or income tax, and the end of the government's infringing on our Second Amendment rights.

If my party is going to live in fear of a disgraced, impeached and dishonest president, I may just as well vote for Democrats in November's general election and assist them as they lead us on our slow slouch to Gomorrah.



Request for delay more of the same from president

President Clinton bestrides the narrow legal world like a colossus and proclaims to petty citizens that he is not bound by the same laws as they. How so? The rascal wants a delay in his Arkansas disbarment hearing until he is out of office for 30 days. This request is as preposterous as his parsing of "is" and other circumlocutions.

Surely he does not seek a delay to build a better case; none can be built, for he already has been caught in flagrante delicto. But in Mr. Clinton's legal wonderland, he complains and wallows in unreality and hubris, accustomed as he is by now to mainstream media kowtowing.

It will take more than five-dollar words and a smirk to save Mr. Clinton from his lies this time. Disbarment will go far to soften him up and relegate his presidency to the level where it belongs.

Of course, Mr. Clinton could just 'fess up and resign from the bar now and save us all a lot of trouble, but in a conflict of interest between the public good and his own, the public be damned. (Is there a pattern here?)


Lompoc, Calif.

Guam ready to take a larger role in U.S. military presence

The Briefing/Pacific Rim feature articles on U.S. bases in Japan (World, March 10) captured a paradox for the U.S. military whether the U.S. presence in Asia is truly appreciated or simply tolerated.

Any long-term planning for the security of Asia, especially in light of the end of the Cold War, must take into account the growing unease among Japanese civilians about the U.S. military presence in their country. Perhaps now is the time for our military planners to reconsider the role Guam can play in regional stability. As U.S. soil, Guam offers the maximum flexibility to the U.S. military. Military forces on Guam would be able to respond to crises in Asia unimpeded by political considerations of the host nation. How solid a partner would Japan be on the Taiwan question?

The interview of Joseph Nye, dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, on the subject is most telling ("Treaty vital to stability of East Asia," World, March 10). He likens the situation to a "not in my backyard" mind-set. In case the Pentagon has forgotten, Guam has served proudly as America's forward defense in Asia. In Guam's case, our mind-set is, "look in our front yard before you get thrown out of their back yard."


Governor of Guam

Agana, Guam

Not all Republicans believe in drug prohibition

I must object to your labeling of New Mexico's governor as "pro-drug" ("New Mexico Republicans wary of pro-drug governor," March 14). Gov. Gary E. Johnson, like many other truly conservative Republicans like myself, simply believes there is little question that prohibition has significantly increased murders, crime, overdoses, the size of the federal government and tax rates.

If conservatives truly understand and believe in the principles of states' rights, low taxation and personal liberty, why is it that most of us support a drug policy that violates those beliefs?

If we believe in respect for the law and honest enforcement of the law, why do we favor a system that breeds police corruption and contempt for the law?

If conservatives truly believe in the Second Amendment, why do we favor a system that has caused an explosion in gang warfare and drive-by shootings, thereby leading to a serious erosion in the support for the right to bear arms?

Our drug policy violates nearly every core "conservative" belief most Times readers claim to hold dear. Until we realize that our war-on-drugs policy actually follows the basic tenets of modern liberalism, we will never be able to develop an effective alternative.

It is a sad irony that most conservatives not only support a "liberal" policy approach to drugs in our society, but use the same old fallback that liberals use when one of their policies fails, i.e. we need to spend more money to make it work.

A real discussion within the Republican Party on these issues is long overdue. Describing Mr. Johnson as pro-drug not only does not contribute to the debate, but is far less accurate than describing prohibitionists as pro-murder, pro-crime and pro-high taxation. Unless, of course, The Times' readers are truly liberal and believe the good intentions of our drug policies are more important than the manifest effects of those policies.



Adverse-reaction rates to anthrax vaccine higher than columnist claims

The usual signs of intellectual bankruptcy are discredited arguments repeated ad nauseam. Michael Fumento has amply displayed his cognitive poverty regarding the Pentagon's Anthrax Vaccine Inoculation Program (AVIP) boondoggle ("Spreading anthrax hysteria," Commentary, March 14).

Mr. Fumento's column nearly identical to a column published last December in the Wall Street Journal repeats the fiction that adverse-reaction rates to the vaccine have been minimal. Two internal Army studies (completed in 1997 and 1998) that used active adverse-reaction monitoring (not the passive variety touted by Mr. Fumento) showed that serious adverse-reaction rates were in the range of 5 percent to 14 percent, dozens of times higher than original claims by the Pentagon and Food and Drug Administration. In May 1998, one U.S. sailor experienced a life-threatening neurological reaction to the vaccine, as declassified internal Pentagon documents clearly show.

Mr. Fumento's attempt to paint AVIP critics such as myself and Rep. Christopher Shays, Connecticut Republican, as "rumor mongers" is typical of his ad hominem style. In reality, Republicans and Democrats on the entire House Government Reform Committee endorsed Mr. Shays' conclusion that the AVIP is "a medical Maginot Line" employing a vaccine the Department of Defense touts with "an excess of faith but a paucity of science."

These are only some of the stubborn, inconvenient facts Mr. Fumento elected not to share with Times readers. Fortunately, more responsible authorities on Capitol Hill are taking these facts seriously, and the coming congressional session promises increased scrutiny of a Pentagon program that clearly has run amok. Such intervention by the people's representatives is long overdue.



Patrick Eddington is a former CIA analyst, author and international security specialist.

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