- The Washington Times - Friday, August 10, 2001

Washington protests against WTO, IMF have been mostly peaceful

In the Aug. 8 Metro story, "Authorities brace for protests of WTO, IMF," both D.C. Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer and your reporters completely ignore the fact that the last two globalization protests in Washington were overwhelmingly peaceful affairs.
Chief Gainer's remarks about activists were confrontational and divisive the very tactics he worries protesters might use when the World Bank meets here in September. Maybe it's time for him to rethink that approach.
The majority of concerned citizens simply want to peacefully exercise their democratic right to call attention to problems such as trade rules that harm the environment and threaten worker rights and World Bank projects that fuel global warming.
Friends of the Earth is calling upon everyone involved to join us in declaring that peaceful protest is a right and violence is wrong. We all need to do whatever we can to ensure a safe environment in which to exercise free speech this September.

Friends of the Earth

More involvement in Balkans causes more violence

The refreshingly analytical argument in your July 31 editorial "Whose NATO?" is hardly served by its conclusion that Europe should share "more of the responsibility for peacekeeping" in the Balkans. U.S. involvement is making things worse for both the local population and American soldiers.
If the United States is doing itself a disfavor by serving the cause of Greater Albania, why should the Europeans join that effort? More to the point, why should the United States continue on this course?
There is a definite causal relationship between the unwavering U.S. commitment to "upholding peace" and the growing Albanian separatist violence. Thank you for pointing it out.


Education reform begins with standards, certification

Deborah Simmons' July 27 Op-ed column, "Let our children go," clearly points out the importance of having a quality teacher in every classroom in the United States. Study after study tells us that education reform begins with accomplished teaching which is what the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is all about.
Created in 1987, NBPTS is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, dedicated to advancing the teaching profession. Initially led by Gov. James B. Hunt Jr., North Carolina Democrat, and a majority of classroom teachers, our mission is to establish high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do, and to develop and operate a national voluntary system to assess and certify teachers who meet these standards.
There are more than 9,500 teachers across the country who have achieved National Board Certification, including 184 in Maryland, 142 in Virginia and five in the District. In addition, more than 13,500 candidates are pursuing National Board Certification this year. We expect to have 100,000 National Board Certified Teachers by 2006.
Forty-four states and almost 300 local school districts (including the nation's capital) have embraced National Board Certification by offering incentives for teachers seeking this professional milestone. I am pleased that more and more state and local policy-makers, educators and business leaders are supporting NBPTS and National Board Certification.
At a time when our nation is facing a serious teacher shortage, National Board Certification is a vehicle firmly in place that creates excellent teachers and mentors while providing first-rate professional development opportunities. For our students to succeed in meeting high standards, we need teachers who meet high standards.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

Letter treats Orthodox Jews, Southern Baptists unfairly

I read with interest Charles David Isbell's letter responding to evangelical and Orthodox Jewish initiatives to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem ("Evangelical, Orthodox Jewish beliefs shouldn't influence U.S. policy," Aug. 9). It seems to illustrate a secularist hatred of religion in general and the above-mentioned groups in particular.
While I don't favor moving the U.S. Embassy, there is nothing inherently unreasonable about it. The Israeli government and U.S. politicians of both parties have long urged the move. To hear Mr. Isbell tell it, moving the embassy will put us on a slippery slope that will lead to back-alley abortions, federally funded efforts to convert Jews, women kept barefoot and pregnant, and the destruction of the Dome of the Rock. Get a grip, professor.
Mr. Isbell then proceeds to libel both the Orthodox and the Southern Baptists as people who don't care "about what happens to the rest of the world as long as their views are adopted" and the Baptists as not caring about Jews "except as potential converts." While I am not a member of either group, I know enough folks who are to know that these assertions are ludicrous and false. Thou shalt not bear false witness, professor.
Finally, the good professor exhorts us to ignore "extremists of all stripes" in making public policy. Does that include pro-abortion extremists such as Kate Michelman and Patricia Ireland? Somehow, I don't think so.

Rome, N.Y.

Japan recognizes WWII atrocities

I would like to state my views on the July 27 Op-ed column "Cold comfort; Japan still in denial over WWII rapes" by Barry A. Fisher and Iris Chang.
On the issue involving former "comfort women," the column gives readers the impression that Japan has not offered any apology nor taken any action. The government and people of Japan, recognizing the grave affronts to the honor and dignity of former "comfort women," established the Asian Women's Fund in July, 1995, with contributions from both the government and the people of Japan to help those women.
The government has made contributions to the fund for its operating costs and its medical and welfare support projects. The fund has extended payments to many of those women; the fund has forwarded a letter to individual former "comfort women" from the Japanese prime minister expressing the government's apologies and remorse; and the fund has implemented medical and welfare support projects, funded by the national budget, which aim to improve the living standards of these women through the provision of goods and services for their care.
The column also suggests that Japanese textbooks cover up the aggression and atrocities caused by the former Japanese military during World War II. A look at Japanese textbooks, however, would reveal that all eight textbooks approved by the Textbook Authorization Council clearly describe the tremendous suffering and devastation that the neighboring countries experienced during Japan's colonial rule and the war.

Minister for public affairs
Embassy of Japan

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