- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 19, 2001

All men are created equal, not just Americans

Unlike many calling for trial by military tribunal, Doug Bandow appears to have carefully considered the negative effects of setting aside our usual methods of justice ("Preserving freedom in an unfree world," Dec. 18). Still, one point continues to elude me, and Mr. Bandow's article seemed to gloss over it.

While addressing the "tempting circularity" of withholding protections from those whom we "know" to be terrorists, Mr. Bandow goes on to endorse military tribunals for captured members of Al Qaeda because their "complicity" may be presumed. What then is the point of any trial?

Our system of justice does not exist merely to warm the hearts of those lucky enough to be citizens, and it provides poor protection indeed if its precepts can be occasionally ignored. A nation's greatness is judged by what it does in times of trouble by how it treats its weakest members, and even its enemies.

Our stated philosophy is not that all Americans are created equal, but that all men are. There is no room in that statement to pick and choose.


KATE CRAWFORD

Washington

Indians are friends of the United States

I was deeply disturbed by the column ("Hate rooted in envy," Commentary, Dec. 6) written by Thomas Sowell, in which he has generalized some extremely isolated hate crimes in India to create the image that Indians hate the United States or its religious minorities.

All Indians have tremendous respect for America and the American system, and it shows in India's form of government, i.e., a truly secular and democratic government, which is somewhat of a rarity in these regions. The defense minister in the present government is a Christian. In the past, India has had presidents both from Muslim as well as Sikh communities.

Also, there is absolutely no hatred for the United States, as there is in other countries neighboring India, such as Pakistan, where anti-U.S. demonstrations and flag burnings are daily occurrences. Indian immigrants in United States have achieved a lot of success in academia and especially in the software industry.

All Indians admire the democratic way of living and freedom of expression in the United States.

This does not mean that Indians agree with all policies of the United States. One thing that definitely puzzles most Indians is why the United States supports and mollycoddles governments whose people truly hate America, for example, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Almost all the hijackers on September 11 were from Saudi Arabia, and a Pakistani was one of the main accused in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

On the other hand, why is it that governments that truly support and share the same value systems as the United States, as for example, India, are the target of such venomous columns as the one by Mr. Sowell?


SHANTANU DESAI

Boston

Treaties, not missile defense, are our best protection

On Dec. 13, President Bush announced that the United States would withdraw from the bilateral treaty with Russia so the United States can pursue anti-ballistic missile weapons banned under the ABM Treaty of 1972.

China has a relatively small number (about 50) of intercontinental ballistic missiles that it considers an adequate deterrent to the much larger arsenals possessed by the United States and Russia (each in excess of 1,000 missiles). Developing anti-ballistic missile weapons has the potential of neutralizing China's capability to deter attack by the United States. This will pressure China to build more nuclear weapons to overwhelm the system called National Missile Defense. If China builds more nuclear missiles, that would pressure India to build more weapons, which would, in turn, pressure Pakistan to do the same.

Thus, voiding the ABM Treaty without replacing it with a comparable multilateral agreement will probably spur another arms race. A world engaged in a nuclear arms race would make the United States less secure by increasing the number of nuclear weapons owned by unstable and marginally stable regimes. These regimes are the most likely way for terrorists to acquire nuclear weapons.

Overwhelming military capability did not prevent the September 11 attacks, and it won't prevent future asymmetrical warfare with the United States. Instead, the United States should work to create an international system that arbitrates conflicting interests through institutions such as a democratically elected world parliament and a judiciary empowered to make decisions binding upon nation-states.


CARL NYBERG

World Federalist Association

Cheverly

Don't attack Iraq

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, including many innocent Iraqi children, have died as a result of economic sanctions against Iraq. Many in the Bush administration are calling for military action against Saddam Hussein, and President Bush on several occasions has alluded to unspecified plans to punish Iraq. I am worried that as a result of U.S. actions, more innocent people will die.

In the past, under former presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, military actions in Iraq, Bosnia and Yugoslavia have resulted in the destruction of hospitals, schools, apartment buildings and chemical weapons facilities. The latter were executed with no apparent regard for the proximity of U.S. soldiers, who have since suffered from neurological problems, chronic fatigue, memory loss and scarred lungs, among others, as a result.

The supposed end result of these unrelenting tactical bombings is to ensure peace and show the world that the United States is the purveyor of the sanctity of human life. Yet how can that be argued when the government has proven contrary, especially toward our own GIs?

An attack on Iraq now could be construed by many as a merciless attack against an already suffering civilian population and is likely to increase mounting anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world. The United Kingdom and France have already indicated that they will not take part in a campaign against Iraq.

For the sake of the innocents of Iraq, the anti-terrorist coalition and the simple fact that a human life is worth more than the gas in my car, a U.S. attack on Iraq would be a disastrous move.


BRIAN EHRICH

Costa Mesa, Calif.

How anthrax might influence the ABM treaty

The recently released videotape, showing Osama bin Laden never boasting about, and not even mentioning, the U.S. anthrax infections seems to confirm that the infections were not induced by Islamic terrorists.

The list of those who were deliberately sent anthrax-laden letters Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy and members of the news media is consistent with a terrorist motive of attempting to steer political decision away from building an Anti-Ballistic Missile system in the United States. These two senators are in obvious positions to stall ABM development and deflect budget money to other, non-ABM homeland defenses such as bio-defense and air flight safety. Others in position to block ABM withdrawal, namely Sens. Carl Levin and Joseph R. Biden Jr., were already so opposed to that receipt of anthrax letters could not have affected their positions very much.

At the same time, the near hysteria exhibited by some about President Bush's withdrawal from the ABM treaty suggests desperation and frustration on the hard left about this issue. Anti-ABM extremists, analogous to eco-terrorists or animal rights radicals, could be added to a list which includes North Korea, China and Iraq of those who might be interested in preventing the construction of an ABM system through the spread of anthrax infection that piggy-backed on the bin Laden attack.


RICHARD L. SMITH

Silver Spring

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