- The Washington Times - Monday, April 30, 2001

Rummy submarines show subversive acquisition

President Bush approved the sale of eight diesel submarines to Taiwan, but the United States does not build diesel submarines. Bill Gertz article on the Pentagons search for a foreign submarine design that can be licensed to an American shipbuilder was instructive to the damage that can be done to U.S. policy when the country does not possess the means to carry out its policy ("Pentagon searching for sub builders," April 26).

That the Dutch government was quick to reject the Pentagon´s overtures on the subs was instructive in regard to another issue. The Dutch firm ASM Lithography wants to buy Silicon Valley Group, the only American producer of state-of-the-art lithography technology used to make lenses for spy satellites and high-speed computer chips for advanced weapons.

The Pentagon has opposed this purchase because of concern that ASM Lithography will share the technology with potentially hostile countries. But there is also the concern that the United States will lose the capability to develop and produce lithography equipment if Silicon Valley Group becomes foreign owned.

On what other issues could Dutch and U.S. policy diverge? Providing lithography equipment or chips for a U.S. missile defense system about which the European Union has misgivings? Equipment requirements during a conflict or emergency where Dutch priorities don´t match ours?

The strategy review ordered by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is expected to recommend a jump to "next generation" weapons that will require much faster computer systems. SVG´s capabilities in research and manufacturing are vital to such systems. America dares not lose control of this technology and risk giving a foreign firm or government veto power over U.S. policy.


WILLIAM R. HAWKINS

Senior Fellow for National Security

U.S. Business and Industry Council

Washington

Coming from the PRC, anger is a compliment

You cant pick up a newspaper of late without seeing reports that American actions and statements are making the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) angry ("Taiwan request sure to anger Beijing," April 28).

The PRC´s communist government has been murderous and oppressive since Mao Tse-tung took power in the early 1930s.

Though the PRC has allowed more freedoms as the country has moved from Maoist Communism to police-state socialism, it is no less threatening to the world. The PRC writes the laws that it intends to obey as it goes along. It issues threats to the world as if they were popcorn. It promotes the impression that it would be willing to murder millions of Taiwanese if it so pleased.

It seems to me that, if we are angering this sort of country, we must be doing something very, very right.


DON JONES

Annandale

Brightest leave over curriculum-lite

Thank you for William Rushers April 28 Commentary column "Shafting the smart students." I learned firsthand that the public school in my area of Anne Arundel County, Md., did not challenge my children. Programs for the above-average student were nearly non-existent. The child who could already read when he started kindergarten had to spend time "learning" an alphabet he had obviously already mastered. It was recommended that students be given "enrichment" classes after school. The children had already been bored by school for six hours why should they and their parents have to spend more time, effort and money for courses when the school had failed to challenge the students? By taking my son out of the system to home-school we were able to skip three grades in math, work at his level and still have time for extracurricular activities.

By not challenging students, the schools lose their best and brightest. The children are shortchanged because everything comes so easily they fail to learn the discipline and study skills required for really tough subjects. In the end, everyone loses.


KATHERINE BUTCHER

Gambrills, Md.

It's time to withhold 'warm and fuzzy' feelings

Why do Americans continue to tolerate the obscene tax day mess every April, which Paul Greenberg describes well in "Tax code disposal proposal" (Commentary, April 18)? Two words: rebates and withholding. Citizens feel warm and fuzzy about their rebates. They forget, however, that their rebate checks are money that was ripped from their pay check each pay period money the government uses interest-free. Rather, they foolishly think of it as a "gift." Withholding laws cleverly allow the Internal Revenue Service to siphon our money in quiet increments, so painlessly that taxpayers accept it without a whimper or a whine.

Until this April, I had not done my taxes in more than 30 years, because my spouse had done them. I was amazed at the brute power of the IRS withholding laws when I confronted them this year as a single taxpayer again. It is not enough that I willingly write the large check, send it in on time and do not complain. I am subject to a fine for not having "withheld" an amount the IRS deems adequate for my income. This dumbfounded me.

We have become too accepting of the tax-day fiasco. It is time for a change.


WANDA SHOEMAKER

Fairfax

Congress should take strong stance against Zimbabwe despots

Your April 26 Embassy Row report quotes Zimbabwe Ambassador Simbi Veke Mubakos hateful rhetoric that a bill that would punish Zimbabwe is "unfair, unjust and racially motivated" because it would support white farmers fighting efforts to redistribute land to poor blacks. This is just another example of this despotic African regime attempting to divert attention from its own dismal record.

As a prelude to elections last year, in which Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe´s 20-year ruling party lost seats to a fledgling opposition party, the government encouraged the illegal occupation of white-owned farms. The squatters, unrestrained by the rule of law, acted with impunity, as farmers and their workers looked on helplessly. A growing number of white farmers have been brutally murdered, most recently a 72-year-old widow gunned down by attackers using military-style weapons. Hundreds of farm workers have been beaten and raped. Supporters of Zimbabwe´s opposition have been maimed and killed. State-sponsored terrorism is the norm. The country´s highest court, which ruled the land invasions illegal, has itself become a target. The chief justice was forced to retire and has been replaced by a Mugabe crony. The remaining justices have received death threats. An independent newspaper critical of Mr. Mugabe has seen its presses bombed; foreign journalists have been expelled.

Many respected international organizations, including just this week the International Bar Association, have expressed alarm about the assault on democracy taking place in Zimbabwe. Sens. Bill Frist and Russell D. Feingold have introduced legislation to restore democracy and economic recovery in Zimbabwe. They are to be commended. The United States should take a hard stand against despots such as Mr. Mugabe. The bill deserves quick passage by Congress.


EWEN M. WILSON

Falls Church

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