- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 13, 2001

Though critical of America, Egyptians steadfastly oppose terrorism

The Dec. 5 article "Egyptians ambivalent about war on terrorism" paints Egyptians as opportunistic and moody people. Like Americans and most human beings Egyptians are motivated by their economic well-being and are interested in maintaining their sources of livelihood. However, they are acutely aware of their political environment and are unafraid of expressing their disdain for any form of injustice. This is why Egyptians, though critical of some American policies, have steadfastly condemned terrorism in all its forms.
The article asserts that Arab regimes treated so-called "Arab Afghans" as heroes during the war against the Soviets and as they returned to their native lands in the early 1990s. The truth is that these "fighters" received the bulk of their support from Western sources before they embarked on their brutal campaign of terror in their homelands, where they justifiably were considered terrorists.
Furthermore, the author wrongly correlates the rise of terrorism and dissent in Egypt to an economic slowdown. On the contrary, the inception and culmination of the terrorist campaign in Egypt came at a time of relative economic prosperity.
Finally, the author disregards the many legal opposition groups within the Egyptian political arena, including many moderate Islamic groups, that have expressed their solidarity and support for President Hosni Mubarak's government.

HESHAM EL NAKIB
Press counselor
Embassy of Egypt
Washington

No parity for 'imaginary' diseases

Bravo for the Dec. 9 Commentary by Thomas Szasz, "Thumbs on the parity scale for psychiatrists." A less courtly debater than Dr. Szasz might have called it "Pigs in the Pantry."
The federal government at the instigation of the pharmaceutical industry is poised to require Americans to pay for mental health coverage on the pretext of prohibiting "discrimination" against those with mental illness.
Politicians who never cracked open a pathology text or attended an autopsy fall over each other to proclaim mental illness a disease like any other.
No one really believes this. In 25 years of neurology practice, I have never seen a biopsy come back "manic" or a brain scan "schizophrenic" or a blood test "bipolar." Nor will this ever happen, for the simplest of reasons: The brain is a thing, but the mind isn't.
So what will it cost to cure imaginary diseases such as attention deficit disorder and alcoholism? Whatever psychiatrists say. Watch your premiums take off and find out.
The fact remains that doctors have no way to determine whose mind is sick and what mental health treatments should cost. The avaricious attempts of mental health mercenaries to divide every health budget by the zero of mental illness and reap an infinite amount of dollars will lead to confrontation as certainly as the Taliban's committee on vice and virtue purified people to death.

JOHN M. FRIEDBERG, M.D.
Berkeley, Calif.

Though restraint is praiseworthy, nukes still an option

Following the September 11 attacks, there were numerous calls for President Bush to authorize the use of nuclear weapons. Although such a response would have been justified given the circumstances, both the administration and our military should be commended for having fought this war successfully using only conventional weapons.
Civilian casualties have been kept to a minimum, and our objectives have been achieved with few losses to our own military. The nuclear option, of course, is still available if it becomes necessary in combating terrorism. This should give pause to any country thinking of giving refuge to terrorists.

ROGER JOHNSON
Kensington

Environmental groups seek a different kind of green

In his Dec. 12 letter to the editor ("Illusions of energy security"), Alan Metrick of the Natural Resources Defense Council shamelessly uses a standard ploy of the environmental pressure groups to attack Commentary columnist Patrick J. Michaels, who argues against the alarmist theory of catastrophic man-made global warming ("Energy supply illogic," Commentary, Dec. 6). Mr. Michaels, a respected professor and credentialed scientist, may receive "industry" money to support his research and writing. However, so-called "climate skeptics" including about 19,000 scientists, who massively outnumber the 2,000 scientists on record in support of the global warming theory point out, in defense, that funding cannot change facts.
In truth, most if not all "green" groups are industry-funded. "Industry" funds those with whom it agrees, and rather often that coincides with its business interests whether wrapped in green or market principles. Traditionally, industries fund green pressure groups because they're basically told, "Nice place you got here; sure be a shame if we said you're killing children."
Industry has refined the practice of funding green pressure groups to disable the funder's competition. Enron, for example, went out of its way to partner with these sorts of groups, seeking to build a governmental preference for its product (gas) and create a market in which it was uniquely positioned to make millions (trading carbon-dioxide credits). For reasons particular to their operations, all companies in the Pew Center on Global Climate Change's Business Environmental Leadership Council stand to gain if Pew's climate alarmism becomes accepted or reflected in regulatory policy.
Sure, most often the money is run through a foundation first, and sometimes these groups maintain subsidiary bodies so they can claim they don't accept corporate money. Still, when you next hear environmental pressure groups causing hysteria over this or that, remember that industry money is enabling it, frequently because a company stands to benefit. Visit www.Green-Watch.com for an eye-opening view of who funds what.

CHRISTOPHER C. HORNER
Counsel, Cooler Heads Coalition
Senior fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Washington

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