- The Washington Times - Friday, December 21, 2001

Good fences are still needed in Cyprus

In Andrew Borowiec's Nov. 28 article "Turkey ponders problem," former Greek Cypriot President George Vassiliou wrongly disparages the U.N. "Green Line" in Cyprus separating the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus from Greek Cypriot administration in the south as betraying a Turkish Cypriot "Maginot line" mentality. But the line has provided relative security for the Turkish Cypriots for more than three decades, and it was erected to prevent Greek Cypriot genocide of Turkish Cypriots, first attempted in 1963-64.
History books by notably objective authors and U.N. Security Council reports are replete with documentation of the "reign in terror" that ensued. The international news media for the period 1963 to 1974 carried descriptive accounts of a decade of bloody terror perpetrated by Greek Cypriots and supported by Greece.
That 11-year period saw a complete lack of security for Turkish Cypriots with harassment, intimidation, oppression and economic privation accompanying mass murder. One hundred and three Turkish Cypriot villages were destroyed, and more than one-third of the Turkish Cypriots became refugees living in enclaves, most of the time under subhuman conditions.
Mr. Vassiliou knows very well that neither Turkey nor the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus harbors any territorial ambitions, but they seek only to reinstate Turkish Cypriot people's sovereign equal rights, enshrined in the relevant international treaties.
Good fences do not invariably make good neighbors, but, as in Cyprus and elsewhere, sometimes they do. Once that is understood by the international community and the Greek Cypriot leadership, the Cyprus issue can be solved quickly and happily.

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

To mess up the environment is human

Michelle Malkin's Dec. 11 Commentary column, "Hostile fire from eco-extremists," failed to consider the impacts of human activities on native species and ecosystems. We are in the midst of the most severe extinction episode in 65 million years, and anthropogenic causes are responsible. We humans tend to distinguish ourselves (rightly or wrongly) from the rest of nature on the basis of our capacity for self-reflection. Yet Miss Malkin's commentary ridicules those of us who suggest self-reflectiveness and consequent restraint among humans. Clear cutting is resulting in mudslides, unsustainable farming is resulting in topsoil loss, pesticides and hormones are resulting in human illness, overgrazing is resulting in range deterioration. All of these dynamics directly impact humans and also imperil the native species and ecosystems that make up our surrounding environment. It is folly to destroy one's own home, but that is exactly what humans are doing.
There are more- and less-important human activities, for certain, but environmentalists owe it to the nonhuman world to defend it when there is any threat from human beings to exterminate any life-form. In fact, that is the environmentalists' mandate to look at the big picture, in terms of ecosystem and regional impacts and longer time frames. While industry continues to think of profits in the next quarter and politicians tend to think in two- to four-year re-election cycles, some of us have to think in terms of decades and centuries. Without this broader and longer-term perspective, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. This myopia and shortsightedness will ensure that U.S. environmental laws will continue to be underenforced and human quality of life will suffer for it.
There is no doubt that the United States has some of the best environmental laws in the world. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a good example. That act was based on the view that species extinction was the "consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation." The 1973 Congress adopted the ESA because lawmakers thought the United States could do better on behalf of imperiled species and future generations of Americans. However, this powerful law is hindered by a lack of enforcement. Commentaries such as Miss Malkin's that ridicule the implementation of the ESA whether for fairy shrimp or bald eagles sanction the continued flouting of environmental protection by the Bush administration. In effect, they endorse violation of American law at the highest levels of the federal government.
Moreover, there is a well-established basis for valuing nature from a variety of perspectives. Whether one prioritizes economic vitality, natural beauty, intact ecosystems or scientific progress, there are many reasons to protect species and ecosystems. Since the Tellico Dam controversy of 1978, those who prefer to discount the future and therefore shift our present policy burdens onto future generations (of humans and nonhumans alike) have engaged in name-calling and diversion. They have described various obscure species as "slimy" and "worthless" in order to attain their own narrow interests.
Miss Malkin should refrain from following suit. Certainly, national security is on everyone's mind. As the richest country on the face of the Earth, however, we can do better. Congress believed as much in 1973, and the basis for that belief as demonstrated by American power and resources has grown greater in subsequent decades. The dichotomy of national security vs. imperiled species and environmental protection is a false one. We possess enough resources to have both.

Endangered species coordinator
Forest Guardians
Pritchett, Colo.

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