- The Washington Times - Friday, February 9, 2001

Forest fire prevention not responsible for 'tinderbox'

Unfortunately, columnist Robert H. Nelson makes the common mistake of assuming that forest fire control is responsible for making our national forests more susceptible to fires ("Forest Service tinderbox policies," Commentary, Jan. 29). The Society for Environmental Truth has made an analysis of 40 years of forest fire data relating to our national forests and have reached the inescapable conclusion that fire suppression, while a factor in forest fires, is only a minor one. The main reasons for the explosive growth in acreage burned by forest fires are the decline in the harvesting of mature trees and the decline in the thinning of smaller diameter, both caused by the intercession of environmental extremists such as the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society. The resulting buildup of timber volume created an untenable position.

Forest fire suppression has been a major tenet of Forest Service policy dating from the 1920s. At that time, timber harvesting and stand improvement programs were carried out, and national forests were improving in health and productivity. For more than 60 years, the average acreage burned each year by forest fires remained at a very low level 162,276 acres. If fire suppression policies were solely responsible for fuel buildup, it would have been apparent long ago.

In 1976, the National Forest Management Act was passed, which turned professional forest management upside down, taking the authority to make management decisions from the Forest Service giving it to the "local people," who turned out to be environmental extremists. Timber harvesting declined, and the Endangered Species Act created new obstacles to professional management of this national resource.

As a result, from 1985 to 1998 the average acreage burned exploded to 670,018 acres per year a four-fold increase. Official figures are not yet available for the year 2000, but it is estimated that we lost more than 2 million acres of national forest to fire an all time high.

The only solution to this problem is to completely revise our forest management laws and policies and to take management of this precious national resource away from well-meaning but unknowledgeable amateurs and return it to professional foresters.

RICHARD BENNETT

President

Society for Environmental Truth

Corpus Christi, Texas

Tapping oil in Alaskan wildlife refuge won't lower energy prices

While I respect the need to develop domestic sources of energy, proposing new drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as a price solution is fallacious ("Help for California's energy," Op-Ed, Feb. 8).

According to columnist Paul Driessen, the estimated six to 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil there would supply California with energy for 30 years. Unfortunately, this would not reduce prices one iota.

Under our agreement with the World Trade Organization, the United States is required to sell oil on the international market. Increasing supply will decrease the price. Unfortunately, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) simply will reduce supply from its end and wait us out. When ANWR is dry in 20 years, voila the monopoly returns to OPEC.

Instead of spending money and resources in pursuit of cheaper oil, the government and industry should be pursuing conservation and renewable energy sources, the only real long-term solutions.

JOSHUA STEVENS

Washington

Armenian 'genocide' bill a failed attempt to legislate history

Accusing a nation of having committed genocide is very serious.. Thus, I feel compelled to respond in length to the editorial "Genocidal politics," which appeared in your newspaper Feb. 5.

The Ottomans have not committed the crime of genocide against Armenians. What transpired in 1915 was an armed uprising by the Armenian inhabitants of eastern Anatolia. Instigated by invading Russians, the Armenians wanted to establish an independent state in the region even though they did not constitute the majority. The Ottoman army found itself having to fight both the Russians and the Armenians at a very critical juncture of the war. Unfortunately, this revolt turned into an intercommunal fight between the Armenians and the Turks living in the region. As the empire was disintegrating and the Ottomans were engaged on numerous fronts, they could not re-establish law and order in eastern Anatolia. To bring the chaos to an end, an attempt was made to relocate the Armenian population of the area to Syria, away from the war zone. Tragic events took place during both the intercommunal warfare and the relocation process. Plague, famine and difficult wartime conditions also took their toll on the Armenians. The Armenians living in other parts of the empire and in Istanbul were in no way affected by these events. Thus, insisting on a so-called "genocide" is a misrepresentation and distortion of facts. Quite a number of Ottoman Turks lost their lives during all those events. In Turkey, you can find a great number of families that will complain to you about the atrocities committed against their relatives by Armenians. Incidentally, I also lost my uncle to fighting on the Russian front.

Let me quote what some independent sources have said about the so-called "genocide":

• In a letter dated March 25, 1921, to the relevant authorities in Washington, Rear Adm. Mark L. Bristol, U.S. high commissioner to the Ottoman government, wrote " … I see that reports are being freely circulated in the U.S. that the Turks massacred thousands of Armenians. … The Near East Relief have the reports from Yarrow and our own American people which show absolutely that such Armenian reports are absolutely false. … In addition to the reports from our own American Relief workers that were in Kars and Alexandrople, and reports from such men as Yarrow, I have reports from my own Intelligence Officer and know that the Armenian reports are not true. … " The letter also refers to outrages committed by the Armenians against Kurds, Turks and Tatars.

• The British Embassy in Washington reported back to London on July 13, 1921, concerning the results of its research in the U.S. archives to find evidence that would incriminate the Ottomans. After mentioning that embassy staff had been permitted to see a selection of reports, including those judged by the State Department to be most useful, a representativewrote: " … I regret to inform Your Lordship that there was nothing therein which could be used as evidence against the Turks who are being detained for trial at Malta… ."

Immediately after World War I , the British rounded up all the high-ranking Ottoman officials and sent them to Malta to be tried. Despite their extensive research in the Ottoman, British and American archives, they could not find any evidence to justify legal action and had to release the detainees.

• More recently, Keith Vaz, secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, responded in the following manner to a question posed to him on this issue at the House of Commons on Jan. 15, " … neither this government nor previous British Governments have judged the evidence to be sufficiently unequivocal to persuade us that these events should be categorized as genocide as defined by the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide."

I could go on citing similar evidence. However, I wish to add that the British archives, where I had the opportunity to conduct extensive research, clearly indicate that all sides suffered alike in 1915.

The present Armenian administration and some of the radical Armenian lobbies abroad are trying to push resolutions and bills in different countries to have their claims endorsed. They have had some success on the eve of elections in countries where they may affect the outcome of those elections with their sizable communities. That is what was tried here in the United States last year, and that is what has taken place in France.

It should be emphasized that national parliaments should not "determine" historical events through voting. This could lead to rewriting history according to the prevailing political considerations.

Finally, such unfounded resolutions or bills will have no bearing on what really transpired in 1915. I also am afraid they will in no way contribute to the improvement of relations between Turkey and Armenia. If the radical Armenian lobbies wish to harm relations with Turkey, I have nothing more to add.

BAKI ILKIN

Ambassador

Turkish Embassy

Washington

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide