- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 15, 2001

World Banik, IMF impose fees on poor countries, hinder development

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund tie loans to heavily indebted poor countries to "conditions" ("Debt relief without remedial treatment," Commentary, Aug. 8). It's no surprise that these countries remain in debt because the conditions inhibit economic development.
The most valuable economic resource in any country is the health and education of its people. If a country has widespread literacy and its people attend high school and institutions of higher education, they have a chance to participate in the knowledge-based economy instead of the grinding poverty of sweatshops. Where rich and poor alike have access to health care, diseases are prevented and treated, and the labor force is at work not sick in bed or prematurely dead from curable diseases such as tuberculosis or pneumonia.
The World Bank and IMF, however, impose loan "conditions" that inhibit health and education. They impose user fees on the poor to access basic health care and basic education, depriving access to tens of millions of children in sub-Saharan Africa. This is not speculation; this is reality. When Uganda abolished school fees, enrollment jumped from about 50 percent to 90 percent.
In 2000, Congress passed legislation designed to restrict the ability of the World Bank and the IMF to impose such fees. These institutions, however, appear determined to continue these policies anyway.

San Francisco

The Little League's sensitivity training

I was dumbfounded by your Aug. 11 front-page report "Little League teams drop Indian names." How can it be that Richard Regan, of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, is leading a boycott of Maryland businesses because they dare sponsor Little League teams that use the word "Indian" in their name? How is this word offensive when used by the Little League, yet acceptable in the title of the commission?
In addition, since when is it legal for a state commission at least partially funded by taxpayers to make war on legitimate Maryland businesses that have done nothing wrong and broken no laws? This is political correctness run amok, and it should be squelched immediately by our elected officials.


Who is Sen. Leahy kidding?

When Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, chastised Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, for leaving out "so help me God" from the oaths Mr. Leahy administered to nominees testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Leahy indignantly wrapped himself in Catholicism. "If anyone is suggesting that this Irish-Italian Catholic is against religion, they are either biased or ignorant of my background," Mr. Leahy responded ("Sessions assails 'God' omission in Senate oaths," Aug. 3).
Truth to tell, one certainly could be forgiven for believing Catholicism was not particularly significant to Mr. Leahy. Is this not the Mr. Leahy with the overwhelmingly pro-abortion voting record? Maybe he trots out his Catholicism only when it is convenient to do so.
A Catholic "background" is no guarantee that a person will not act against Catholic principles. Witness Stalin and Castro, both of whom had Catholic backgrounds. People have the power to betray their backgrounds.

Senior litigation counsel
The American Center for Law and Justice

Maryland wildlife task force not 'fixated' on hunting

In "Glendening's task force could shoot down hunters' rights," outdoors columnist Gene Mueller asserts that the formation of the Non-Lethal Task Force on Wildlife (NLTF) is "nothing but a scam to do away with recreational hunting" (Sports, Aug. 1). He is wrong. However, his unrelenting fixation on hunting is precisely what has gone wrong with the NLTF process.
As development has increased across Maryland, many wildlife species have adapted quite comfortably to their new environments and have proliferated. The residents of Maryland, 97 percent of whom do not hunt, are interested in solving human/wildlife conflicts humanely by nonlethal means whenever possible, especially in suburban and urban settings where hunting either is not accepted or is illegal.
Far from being fixated on hunting, the NLTF covers two important tasks: 1) recommending practical, humane solutions to human/wildlife conflicts and 2) locating sources of additional funding for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to enable it to meet the needs of a changing society.
Maryland, through the formation of the NLTF, has a unique opportunity to meet this challenge and be in the forefront of other states in promoting nonlethal, humane methods to solve human/wildlife conflicts.

Senior vice president
Wildlife and habitat protection
The Humane Society of the United States

International court wrongly accused

Commentary columnist Brett Schaefer virulently objects to the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the LaGrand case, but he seems to grasp neither the basic facts of the case nor the basic principles of international law ("Politics masked as international justice," Aug. 6).
The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations imposes an affirmative duty on arresting officials to inform foreign defendants of their rights. Sadly, the United States has a record routinely violating this treaty, particularly in capital cases. In just four cases out of the 123 cases of foreign nationals on death row in the past 25 years did the United States comply with the obligations of the Vienna Convention. In a capital case, consular assistance often can mean the difference between life and death because a consulate can hire better attorneys and research mitigating evidence in the defendant's home country.
As the United States acknowledged, it violated the treaty when Arizona officials failed to inform the LaGrands of their rights. Mr. Schaefer is mistaken when he writes that "Arizona police officers had no reason to suspect had foreign citizenship." In fact, Karl LaGrand had listed Germany as his place of birth on his arrest sheet. In 1999, an Arizona official admitted that Arizona had known from the beginning of the LaGrands' foreign citizenship.
Mr. Schaefer argues that the ICJ overstepped its bounds by passing judgment in the LaGrand case. He neglects to inform readers that the United States freely consented to the ICJ's jurisdiction by signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention, which allows the court to decide disputes arising out of differing interpretations of the treaty.
Mr. Schaefer wrongly accuses the ICJ of cheapening the ideal of justice and undermining the rule of law. Rather, these ideals are undermined by the United States' persistent violations of its obligations under a treaty even Mr. Schaefer concedes is vital to protecting U.S. citizens and U.S. interests.

Ann Arbor, Mich.

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