- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2000

Taiwan story stumbles on some facts

The Sept. 1 article "Taiwanese see legendary hero in justice minister" praises a cabinet member of the 3-month-old government. Several confusing and less-than-fair statements appear in the article, however.

The reporter writes: "After the 1949 defeat by the Communists in China, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists (who later became the Kuomintang) fled to Taiwan." Literally, the name Kuomintang (KMT) in Chinese is exactly the same as the name Nationalist Party in English. Kuomintang consists of three characters (or syllables) in Chinese: "kuo," "min" and "tang." "Kuo min" means nationalist; "tang" means party. This name has not changed since the party was founded.

The article also criticizes all the country's prosecutors by stating: "For the first time, Taiwan's prosecutors are aggressively pursuing public officials suspected of wrongdoing." This implies that these prosecutors did not do their jobs aggressively in former years. Presumably, these are the same prosecutors who worked under the past KMT administration.

According to Taiwan's law, only the top two officials of a ministry (minister and first vice minister) should tender their resignations upon a change in administration. The current premier, Tang Fei, is an active KMT member.

Rome was not built in a day. It is premature to evaluate the performance of a fresh cabinet member of a 3-month-old government.



Bush needs to prove he has the right stuff

Since George W. Bush is making his big tax cut proposal the economic backbone of his campaign, one would think he would have little trouble communicating clearly a policy he fervently believes is right.

On the campaign trail, the Texas governor calls his tax cut an act of compassion. He can bring clarity to his communication by explaining how a tax cut that benefits primarily the privileged few is compassionate.

Mr. Bush also should make clear to a majority middle class why his tax-cut plan is better for them than Vice President Al Gore's plan of targeting tax cuts for those who need the money most. Mr. Bush's cry of class warfare that divides is a weak rebuttal to those critical of his plan.

I believe Mr. Gore's plan is better, fairer and more compassionate.


Louisville, Ky.


In an Aug. 31 Commentary column, "Into the media trivia trap," Donald Lambro blames the news media for criticizing Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush's failure to clearly articulate his tax plan. Mr. Lambro's solution is for Mr. Bush to bring his advisers along to explain the details to the press corps.

I do not think Mr. Lambro gets it: We voters want the president, not some mouthpiece, to be able to demonstrate an ability for discussing details, particularly the details of his own policies. Let Mr. Bush stand up and prove he has the right stuff.


Kapaa, Hawaii

Government buys public liberty with programs

Every time Congress passes a law or the president issues an executive order, we lose a liberty. Good or bad, that liberty is sacrificed for the good of the whole. As our world becomes more complex, we haven't evaluated the real effects of those losses.

Taxes are power. They feed the bureaucratic base of our government and increase the power of those who control them. When taxes are increased, Congress and the president are essentially buying our liberties. They are marketing programs to take care of our health, retirement, security, etc. As citizens, when we do not protest, we show we are willing to tradeour liberties and our taxes to the U.S. government for entitlements. (If it were a private business, the government would have collapsed long ago).

The real problem here is the American people. As our world becomes more complex, we tend to pursue only those issues that immediately affect us. In the confusion of politics and a booming economy, we simply want a quick answer to our problems. Congress and especially the president are more than happy to exploit our confusion by taking our liberties and tax dollars in exchange for services for ourselves. This is their power base. We are literally addicted to the process of social engineering being practiced by the current administration and major media outlets. To break this addiction, the American people need to question some of the rhetoric and find out exactly what liberties are being sacrificed.

Some questions we should ask are:

• When I turn 65, will I have the liberty to choose my family doctor under Medicare? Will I even be able to choose not to use Medicare?

• When I turn 65, will the government increase my taxes if I work and receive Social Security? Is it limiting my income?

• In pursuit of their education and welfare, will my children be penalized because they are not part of one of the special interest groups designated by the president?

• As a married person, will I have to continue to pay more taxes than a single person?

James Madison wrote, "I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."


Peyton, Colo.

Next administration should advance missile defense

Perhaps President Clinton was wise to postpone the decision on whether to deploy an anti-ballistic missile system and to leave it on the table for the next administration. Nonetheless, such a missile defense should be approved. The argument against it fails on several levels. Simply put, the program and testing should continue for the sake of technological readiness. We may never need missile defense, and if that proves to be the case, we will owe gratitude to those who had the foresight to make it available. Good fences make good neighbors.

On the grand scale of foreign affairs and national security, the United States ideally must hope for the best but plan for the worst. Therefore, our policy should not center on the actions of nations of concern but on potential threats and our own defense initiatives. The only real decision is: What course of action shall we pursue to ensure the safety of our citizens? We should not allow other nations to dictate this policy. Allied nations and nations without apprehensions toward the United States need not concern themselves with how we intend to defend our interests.

History has given us cause for concern over the growing ties between Russia and China. Such an alliance may benefit world peace and should be encouraged. However, it should be embraced cautiously. Why should we assume that the anti-democratic ideologies those countries held in the 1930s will not gain dominance again? China's President Jiang Zemin and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, already have demonstrated that there is a growing resentment of the United States' sole superpower status. Before we doom ourselves to repeat history, we should take a note from it and prepare ourselves, at least to an acceptable degree.

Beyond foreign affairs and national security is the simpler issue of advancing technology. At a minimum, missile defense systems are necessary for Department of Defense research and development. To suggest that it will not work or to point out only failures is to turn a blind eye to Thomas Edison's lesson that every failure is a successful way of not doing it. Or, in the words of Robert Browning, "most progress is most failure." The deficiencies revealed in the test are comprehendible and can be resolved.


Blacksburg, Va.

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