Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Democrat? Democratic? Let’s call the whole thing off

A Republican Party member is known as a “Republican” the adjective and noun are the same. A member of the Democratic Party, however, is a “Democrat,” not a “Democratic.” To add to the confusion, a proper noun (let us say, “the Republican Party”) may be used correctly as an adjective: “In newly introduced Republican Party legislation …”

With this in mind, is a bill sponsored by a Democrat a Democrat bill or a Democratic bill? Given that too few public speakers punctiliously observe the rules of grammar anyway, we had best cut some slack on this one.



House Policy Committee

U.S. House of Representatives


Clinton’s shtick not so slick anymore

In January 1998, President Clinton defended himself on national television by saying: “I want to say one thing to the American people. I’m going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie. Not a single time. Never. These allegations are false and I need to go back to work for the American people.”

This month, Mr. Clinton defended himself yet again in a New York Times Op-Ed column, saying: “I want every American to know that, while you may disagree with this decision, I made it on the merits, as I saw them, and I take full responsibility for it.”

Claiming responsibility while denying the consequences is typical of the Clinton “legacy.” But, his shtick is not as slick as it once was.


Laguna Woods, Calif.

Qatar’s claim to islands is far-fetched, say neighbors

In his Feb. 5 Commentary column, “Doing the right thing in Arab-Arab dispute,” Frank J. Gaffney Jr. presents the Qatari view of the Bahrain-Qatar border dispute, apparently without any attempt to present Bahrain’s side.

Any alert reader would find that the column on its face is incongruous when it asserts that Qatar’s claim has been “endorsed by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),” of which Bahrain is a member. It is hard to imagine that the GCC would take sides against one of its members and all the more so at a time when Bahrain occupies the presidency of the GCC.

Uncritically accepting Qatar’s brief, the column concludes that “justice and the rule of law” would be served by accepting Qatar’s claim.

Yet Qatar’s claim to the Hawar Islands could not be more unprincipled. During the proceedings before The Hague International Court of Justice, Qatar submitted 82 forged documents in support of its claim. In light of compelling evidence of the forgeries, Qatar was forced to withdraw these documents. On the other hand, Bahrain has submitted to the court more than 80 examples of Bahraini settlement on and control of the Hawar Islands dating from the 1820s. In 1939, Britain adjudicated each state’s claims to the islands and held that the islands were Bahraini. Then, as now, Qatar failed to provide any authentic evidence that the islands belonged to it or even that a single Qatari national has ever resided there.

The column contains several other erroneous claims. Most egregiously, it asserts that “[t]he Hawar Islands lie as close as a quarter mile from the western coast of Qatar (in fact, at times, the Hawars are actually connected to the Qatari mainland).” Qatar and its sympathizers are entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts. The Hawar Islands are islands they are not connected to Qatar. Even Qatar itself has never made such an assertion. Bahrain has with little difficulty demonstrated that at low tide, the spit of Hawar is located a full three miles across the open sea from the coast of Qatar. Qatar has not even attempted to rebut this fact.

Bahrain is the longstanding and rightful owner of the Hawar Islands based on established principles of international law. Bahrain believes these principles, not Qatar’s distorted view of the facts as reported in Mr. Gaffney’s column, will govern the court’s decision.


Director, Foreign Media Directorate

Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Information

State of Bahrain

Questionable ‘morality’ in Kosovo intervention

As admirable as it may be that Georgie Anne Geyer traveled to Kosovo before opining (“Defining the U.N. mission in Kosovo,” Commentary, Feb. 19), she sadly seems to have learned little from her efforts.. Miss Geyer speaks in adoring terms of the new U.N. commissar in Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, for his “highly unusual moral position” in favor of Western intervention in Kosovo.

Let us briefly examine this “moral intervention” thus far:

Since Kosovo was “liberated” by NATO for the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the province has been almost completely cleansed of Serbs, Roma and Jews by the KLA under our watchful eye. In addition, Albanians not sympathetic to the KLA cause have been singled out for intimidation and murder. It seems that only certain instances of “ethnic cleansing” warrant NATO’s attention.

Just Friday, at least 10 Serb civilians were murdered brutally as they traveled by bus to visit the graves of their dead relatives in U.N./NATO-occupied Kosovo. The convoy was escorted by NATO’s Kosovo implementation force (Kfor), yet adequate steps had not been taken to prevent the massacre.

Over the weekend, a Serbian police van inside Serbia was blown up by Albanian rebels not satisfied with controlling Kosovo they now demand, from their base located not far from the American Kfor contingent, that part of Serbia be broken off and added to their gains.

Add to this the fact that the main motivation for NATO’s bombing of Kosovo the “Racak massacre” was found in a just-released report by a Finnish forensic team not to have been a massacre after all.

In other words, the bloody shirt that former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and her eager left-wing European counterparts waved to justify the bombing was a fake. This month, Willi Wiemer, the former deputy speaker of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe parliamentary assembly and a member of the (conservative) German opposition Christian Democratic Union, called the Kosovo debacle a “classic war of aggression.” He claimed the left-wing German government pushed for intervention because it “wanted war.”

Finally, Mr. Haekkerup’s own United Nations found in its 2000 World Drug Report that Kosovo was the trans-shipment point for 80 percent of the heroin entering Europe.

With no massacres to justify the intervention and the region now controlled by a violent drug mafia, one wonders how much longer we will be made to suffer praise of this “highly moral intervention.”


British Helsinki Human Rights Group


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