- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2001

State Department employees appeal to Powell for reform

The article "State awaits word on Ross successor" (Jan. 5) missed the point about why 1,000 State Department employees have signed a letter to Colin Powell, the nominee for Secretary of State. While the petition, titled "An Open Letter to the Next Secretary of State," did call for increased resources, this was a secondary consideration. The letter's primary goal was institutional reform. As it states, "the organization structure [of State] is dysfunctional. … [and its] traditions and culture block needed change while its dedicated employees are distracted with trivia and drift without a common institutional vision."

The letter does mention the hope for additional resources, not surprising given the many years of budget reductions and reduced hiring at the same time the number of embassies have increased. Nonetheless, it is the wish of many in the department that the new leadership focus on modernizing the antiquated hierarchy and highly bureaucratized internal administrative procedures that limit the productivity of highly educated and motivated foreign affairs personnel. Many of us hope that the new leadership is open to new ways of doing things, whether derived from the private sector, adapted from other government agencies or internally inspired.

BENJAMIN DILLE

Managua, Nicaragua

Benjamin Dille is a U.S. diplomat based in Managua.

International court hypocrisy

In the 11th hour, outgoing President Clinton ordered the U.S. ambassador at large for war-crimes issues to the United Nations to sign, on behalf of the U.S. government, the treaty establishing the U.N. International Criminal Court (ICC) ("International Kangaroo Court," Jan. 5). The ICC turns back the clock on due process, by U.S. standards. For example, defendants may never face their accusers, and an entire trial could be held behind closed doors, reminiscent of the black days of communism. At the same time, the United Nations, with the assistance of Massachusetts Democrat Sen. John Kerry, negotiated with Vietnamese-backed Cambodian strongman and former Khmer Rouge leader Prime Minister Hun Sen a dumbed-down, impotent trial for the former leaders of the genocidal Khmer Rouge.

Under the ICC, a U.S. soldier or civilian could be apprehended by local authorities for an alleged offense and turned over to the ICC and tried without due process. In the United Nations/Kerry-negotiated court in Cambodia, there are three prosecutors, two from the corrupt and inept Cambodian judicial system, and one from the United Nations. In order to bring any of the genocidal Khmer Rouge leaders to trial, there must be an agreement from at least one Cambodian and the one U.N. prosecutor. However, if both Cambodian prosecutors decide not to prosecute any one of the Khmer Rouge leaders, the U.N. prosecutor is rendered impotent.

Why are the United Nations and Mr. Kerry giving the genocidal Khmer Rouge a better deal than will be given to U.S. citizens under the ICC?

MICHAEL D. BENGE

Falls Church

Prosecuting gun-toting teacher sends wrong message

According to your Jan. 5 article, "Gun-toting teacher gets fine and probation", a Manassas teacher was convicted of a felony because she accidentally brought a loaded gun onto school property in her closed purse. The woman, a devoted teacher with no history of violence, had a permit to carry the weapon, and there was absolutely no evidence that she had any criminal intent. Now branded a felon, she must pay a fine and will likely lose her teaching job and career.

Is this what gun control advocates wish to achieve with their so-called "sensible gun laws"?

Prosecuting and convicting gun owners of crimes when there is no criminal intent discourages good citizens from protecting themselves by possessing or carrying a firearm. The legal and financial risks become too high.

It's ironic. Virginia prosecutes a teacher who, in protecting herself, accidentally breaks a rule. Meanwhile, prosecutors and police are not held responsible when citizens are unable to protect themselves from criminal attacks due to gun control laws.

Americans use firearms more than 5,000 times per day to deter and prevent crime. Armed, the Manassas teacher would be prepared to save a life or stop a criminal. But gun control has forbidden her and discouraged many others from defensive firearms use.

Texas state Rep. Suzanna Hupp, afraid of violating a gun control law by carrying her sidearm into a Luby's Cafeteria, left the gun in her car. Minutes later she was crouched under a table, helpless as a man shot and killed her parents and many other patrons right before her eyes. Gun control had scared her into defenselessness; gun control did nothing to stop the killer.

Doubtless the gun control lobby is celebrating the conviction of the Manassas teacher as a great victory of "sensible gun laws."

RICHARD STEVENS

Alexandria

Abortion degrades everyone involved

In the editorial, "Abortion fare wars" (Jan. 3), Dr. William Ramos of Las Vegas is quoted about performing abortions, "I find this to be a very rewarding practice, emotionally and financially." He goes on to say that the only thing keeping more doctors from doing abortions is "the social stigma."

Doing abortions is certainly financially rewarding. But based on what abortionists say about themselves, it is the only benefit. Here are a few examples:

The abortionist who took slain abortionist David Gunn's place "said working in abortion clinics has made him an outcast among physicians and denied him 'a life with a house and a white picket fence and a wife and three children.' He lives alone, he said, 'thrown into a war zone,' and he 'drinks beer at night to ease the pain.'" (The Washington Post, May 7, 1993)

"This shadow world (of abortion) makes the providing of abortions less and less appealing, even to those doctors who consider themselves 'pro-choice' … The passage of Roe v. Wade did not erase a medical history in which 'abortionist' was an insult worse than 'quack.'" (The New York Times Magazine, Jan. 18, 1998)

Abortion is "the dirty work of our field. The sad truth is that the people who moonlight at the clinics are grade-B doctors. They're not the cream of the crop. And it's not because they're committed. It's because they can't find steady work." (unidentified pro-abortion obstetrician-gynecologist, the New York Times Magazine, Jan. 18, 1998)

"I used to be an ordinary person and have a nice enjoyable life. Now I have a life where a great number of people in Arizona hate me and wish me harm." (Brian Finkel, abortionist, the Arizona Republic, Oct. 28, 1998)

"It's true that abortion providers are perceived as not very good doctors that they have no alternative, so they do abortions, that they cannot earn a living any other way." (Richard Hausknecht, abortionist, the New York Times Magazine, Jan. 18, 1998)

"Slowly but surely, you become more ostracized. People who support me don't really want to be around me anyway, and people who don't support me don't want to be around me." (Wayne Goldner, abortionist, the Concord Monitor, Sept. 19, 2000)

"Abortion really has never come out of the back alley. What everyone thinks about is these greedy, untrained, kind of seedy characters." (Rachel Atkins, abortionist, National Abortion Federation Annual Meeting, May 1998)

Abortion abuses women, kills their babies and demeans everyone associated with it.

THARPA C. ROBERTS

Secretary

Right to Life of Montgomery County Inc.

Rockville


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