- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Founders found culpable; column not chronological

In the July 16 Op-Ed column "The architect of freedom," columnist Nat Hentoff rightly criticizes David McCullough's failure to more forcefully condemn President John Adams for supporting the Alien and Sedition Act. Mr. McCullough warns that we should not apply our modern standards in judging Adams. But, as Mr. Hentoff points out, even at that early period in American history, many people realized the obvious danger that the Alien and Sedition Act posed to civil liberties and press freedoms. I completely agree.

But why is it that when the issue is slavery or the cultural and institutional racism that used to plague this county, we often are asked to reserve judgment to look at people of previous eras as simply "people of their time," not fully deserving of our condemnation? Clearly, from the beginning of American history, many people recognized the evil of slavery. By Mr. Hentoff's logic, those who supported the institution of slavery should be held responsible for their actions, as Mr. Adams should be for his.


Newark, Del.

Columnist Nat Hentoff's defense of Thomas Jefferson is quite appropriate ("The architect of freedom," Op-Ed, July 16). But Mr. Hentoff's assertion that the Constitution was not ratified by the states until the Bill of Rights was added is grossly wrong. The Constitution was ratified when New Hampshire voted yes on June 21, 1788; it was the ninth state to ratify the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was not submitted to the states until Sept. 25, 1789, when the First Congress met at its first session in New York City. It did not go in force until Dec. 15, 1791. Three of the original 13 states did not ratify the Bill of Rights until 1939: Massachusetts, Georgia and Connecticut.


Ann Arbor, Mich.

Pakistan's 'irrational jihad factory' a threat to global stability

In "Overlooking terrorism," Khalid Duran advocates putting Pakistan on the United States' list of states sponsoring terrorism (Op-Ed, June 26). Since its birth in 1947, Pakistan has used terrorism as a tool for Islamic expansion in South Asia. Substantial non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan and what was then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) have been reduced to tiny levels, thanks to ethnic cleansing and discriminatory Islamic laws. These people were driven away to secular India and made to forsake their properties. Pakistan is attempting to destroy India and Islamize it by indoctrinating the rapidly growing Indian Muslim population. The ongoing Pakistan-sponsored Islamic insurgency in Kashmir is a cornerstone of such a policy.

Pakistan's irrational jihad factory does not bode well for the stability of the world. It becomes all the more frightening when one realizes that Pakistan is in possession of nuclear weapons and a powerful military.


Coram, N.Y.

Singapore internet story full of Western hypocrisy

As an American living in Singapore, I found the July 16 article about Singapore highly stereotyped and an example of why many in Asia are cynical about appeals for "freedom of speech" ("Singapore eyes stricter control over Internet," World).

The report, from the Associated Press, states that the Singapore government has a "firm grip on the flow of information." I'm in Singapore, and I used the Internet to read this one-sided story. I also can access any Web site in the world critical of Singapore's government. In addition, the BBC World Service Radio airs here. The Singaporean government certainly cannot control what BBC broadcasts from London. The major American newsmagazines are sold here as well. They are required to be fair and allow the government a "right of reply" when it perceives they are unfair. This seems, however, to be asking for no more than journalistic integrity.

Sadly, it was integrity that this report lacked. No regulation has yet been introduced in Singapore, but the reporter sounds as if he is sure it will be draconian. Meanwhile, the U.S. government has been busy trying to regulate Americans' freedom of speech during elections. Is it just that we're (mostly) white and Western that we believe we can be trusted with such regulations, while Asians cannot?



Columnist derives lesson of 'true feminism' from Condit story

Thank you for publishing Mona Charen's July 16 Commentary column, "Levy, Condit and lessons learned." Miss Charen has identified several startling trends: first, the propensity for politicians to have adulterous relationships with women half their age;second, the willingness of the public to accept and excuse such behavior; and third, the willingness of otherwise intelligent and self-assured women to demean themselves by becoming one of many conquests. Men like California Rep. Gary Condit and former President Bill Clinton care so little for their own families that they expose their families to profound humiliation. They care so little for these young women that they are willing to toss the women away in a heartbeat for the sake of their own reputations.

My heart breaks for Chandra Levy and her family. I hope she is found alive soon. I also believe Americans should stop treating abominable behavior as being acceptable as long as it is kept private. Finally, it is time that young women value themselves as more than powerful men's mistresses. Thanks to Miss Charen for reminding us what true feminism is about.


Charlotte, N.C.

Bush budget scuttles Pluto mission

The president's current budget plan has hurt many programs significantly, especially scientific programs. For instance, there will no longer be sufficient funding for exploration programs such as a probe mission to Pluto. That mysterious, unvisited planet holds important clues to understanding the evolution of the solar system.

I believe a mission to Pluto is a special case, worthy of extra consideration in the budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. If the mission is canceled now, we will lose the opportunity to explore this planet for decades, if not centuries. Pluto is the only unexplored planet in the solar system. Certainly, the one-third of 1 percent increase in the NASA budget such a mission would require is justifiable and would have public support.


Oak Hill, Va.

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