- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2001

Helms will be missed, but attack on Dole is unjustified

Columnist Michelle Malkin's attack on Elizabeth Dole, summed up by her clever but unfair suggestion that Mrs. Dole may be "Jim Jeffords in a skirt," does not hold up to scrutiny ("No replacing him," Commentary, Aug. 27). Is Mrs. Dole "soft" on assault weapons? Sure. Ditto for air bags (as if that makes one a liberal). But look further.
Mrs. Dole vocally supports abandoning the anti-ballistic missile treaty, deploying a missile defense system, supporting Taiwan, protecting children from Internet porn (she called for this even when most politicians were afraid of offending the dot-com billionaires) and expanding free trade. She supports a moment of silence and the right to display the Ten Commandments in public schools. On abortion, she holds the same position as Ronald Reagan and our current president.
Though Mrs. Dole may not be a "movement" conservative, the Bible-reading former Cabinet secretary holds heartfelt conservative views on a whole host of issues. If she is unwelcome as a Republican, then about 80 percent of the GOP also should be cast out of the party.
Of course, Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican, cannot be replaced. He is a once-in-a-generation leader. Sadness over his retirement, however, does not justify a flimsy attack on an honorable conservative such as Mrs. Dole.

MICHAEL D. PARANZINO
Rockville

The writer was press secretary for the Dole Presidential Exploratory Committee in the summer of 1999.

Malaysia's Anwar is no Islamic militant

Amy Ridenour's description of Malaysia's political environment is reckless and misleading, as was her assessment of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim ("Turmoil in Malaysia," Op-Ed, Aug. 15).
I recently visited Malaysia to investigate the arbitrary arrest of several Anwar supporters by the government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA). These brave individuals were not arrested for fomenting Islamic revolution but for speaking out against government corruption and mismanagement at public gatherings and for running political Web sites. Some were not even Malay or Muslim but were of Chinese or Indian descent.
Malaysia has enjoyed some economic successes under Mr. Mahathir, but his desire to maintain his power has far outstripped his respect for the fundamental freedoms of speech, assembly and the news media. Recent measures to silence political debate have included a ban on opposition political meetings and rallies, expulsion for public university students who oppose the government, and the introduction of loyalty oaths for public school teachers.
Mr. Anwar is no Islamic militant. After his unceremonious sacking and conviction on fabricated charges, he became a symbol for Malaysians of all races and religions who are tired of Mr. Mahathir's abuse of power and disregard for fundamental rights.

TIOULONG SAUMURA
Member of Parliament
Kingdom of Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Faith-based top man responds to editorial

I appreciate your words about me as one "dedicated to the faith-based cause," but your Aug. 26 editorial "The politics of faith" left a few false impressions.
No "polling data" were ever consulted, either with respect to my appointment or about how to translate the president's vision of faith-based and community initiatives into action. We faithfully followed the letter of the relevant executive orders and the spirit of the president's consistent calls to level the federal funding playing field for qualified community-based social service organizations, both sacred and secular.
My dear friend Stephen Goldsmith, former mayor of Indianapolis, did not favor a "more laissez-faire approach." Rather, he has worked closely with me at every step along the way, including in his new role as chairman of the Corporation for National Service.
Whatever precise form a "voucherized approach to a faith-based initiative" might take, both the president's plan and the legislation drafted by reps. J.C. Watts Jr., Oklahoma Republican, and Tony P. Hall, Ohio Democrat, called instead for an expansion of Charitable Choice. Charitable Choice neither requires nor embodies any choice whatsoever between vouchers and direct grants. Rather, Charitable Choice applies to existing programs and their extant disbursement procedures.
Many programs feature both direct grants and vouchers. Charitable Choice protects religious organizations that seek to administer federal social service delivery programs whether the programs work via direct grants, vouchers or other disbursement procedures.
The crux of the president's plan has been, and will continue to be, fostering an increase in support, both public and private (corporate, philanthropic and individual), for community-serving ministers and others who truly serve the least, the last and the lost of our society.
Because of the president's steadfast leadership, godly people of all faiths, and good people of no particular faith, are once again being welcomed back into the public square to serve their own needy and neglected neighbors.

JOHN DIIULIO
Assistant to the president and Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
White House
Washington

The DEA's deadly obsession

In a sense, I agree with Oliver North's Aug. 26 column: There is too much focus on marijuana, and not enough on truly dangerous drugs ("Media grass fires face DEA chief," Commentary).
Coincidentally, syndicated columnist Steven Chapman said the same day (in his home paper, the Chicago Tribune) what I have said for years: It is the Drug Enforcement Administration's focus on marijuana that has allowed other, more harmful drugs to flow seemingly unchecked across our borders.
The Supreme Court opinion Mr. North mentions is itself part of the problem: Instead of considering three decades of scientific research proving that marijuana is about on a par with alcohol, the court defers to an act of Congress that classifies cannabis as a Schedule I narcotic right up there with heroin and cocaine.
Let's face it no politician would have the guts to rewrite that law to reflect scientific reality because that likely would be a political death sentence.
What Mr. North and others overlook, however, is a concept with which your writers and editors should be more than familiar. Again, I defer to Mr. Chapman:
"The problem lies in the law of supply and demand, which no government can repeal. The flow of drugs will continue as long as there are Americans willing to pay handsomely to get high. So maybe we should stop expecting the rest of the world to save us from ourselves."
Well said, indeed.

JEFFREY L. FISHBEIN
Selinsgrove, Pa.


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