- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 7, 2001

Navy shouldn't be teaching China how to sweep mines

If there is one thing the U.S. Navy should not be doing, it is teaching Chinese military forces how to sweep naval mines ("Chinese forces observe joint mine-sweeping exercise," Nation, June 15). One look at a map should tell any strategic planner that one of China's biggest vulnerabilities is its Pacific coast. It is China's primary military and economic door to the rest of the world. If the Chinese coastline were to be shut tight with a sophisticated naval mine barrage, China would regress to the status of a third-rate power.

Teaching the Chinese military to sweep mines disables one of our most important strategic tactics, endangering Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, the U.S. Navy and the rest of the world. The Navy seems to have forgotten the impact naval mine warfare had on Japan in 1944 and 1945. It was devastating to Japan's economy.

Half of China's internal trade moves from north to south along that coast. Virtually all of its international trade moves across it. A mine barrage might be the only thing able to protect our naval forces from the devastating effects of Chinese supersonic anti-ship missiles.

We are shooting ourselves in the foot. Something is amiss within the Pentagon.



Readers respond to 'Israel in pieces' column

How has Jackie Mason, a comedian, become such an expert on Israeli-Palestinian discord? In the June 29 Op-Ed column "Israel in pieces," which he wrote with lawyer Raoul Felder, Mr. Mason begins virtually every sentence with "Arabs" this and "Arabs" that as if 300 million Arabs from Morocco to Iraq are as homogenous as the populations of Kansas and Nebraska.

There is no lesson in Palestinian schools titled "How to drive the Jews into the sea." The lessons Palestinian children learn come from their everyday lives: their homes demolished, their brothers and fathers arrested without reason, checkpoints passed on the way home, more and more acres of land appropriated by the ever-expanding settlements (despite what the Israeli government might contend) and life spent with less hope each passing day that they will know anything but occupation in their homeland.

In this day and age, one should not have to suffer from the vices of colonialism, even under sacred Israel. The Palestinians must not roll over and ignore the injustice. Before complaining that the Jewish people of Israel (also not a homogenous bunch) are again being threatened as they were during 2,000 years of diaspora, Mr. Mason and Mr. Felder should check to see who is occupying Gaza and the West Bank and who is being oppressed.



I am deeply concerned that your June 29 Op-Ed column "Israel in pieces" propagates hatred against the Palestinians and distorts truth by portraying all Palestinians as violent Jew-haters. After all, more than 500 Palestinians have died, so they must not be the only ones doing the killing.



It would take the creative talent of Jackie Mason and the muckraking mastery of a sharp-tongued lawyer such as Raoul Felder to conjure up an analysis of the Middle East conflict that is as cynical and distorted as "Israel in pieces." Their piece was replete with racist generalizations regarding "the Arabs" and "the Arab mentality." I am amazed that such a hate-filled diatribe can pass for critical analysis in one of America's leading newspapers. Their words reflect the mind-set that allows Israel to kill and dehumanize Palestinians.

It is ironic that they would attempt to paint the Palestinians, who are merely trying to resist being dehumanized, as Ku Klux Klan-type hatemongers. The KKK has warned Americans for decades of the threat of blacks being "free to multiply" or to have a "presence" in America and has warned about how the "black mentality" contradicts the values of God-fearing white European Americans. Mr. Mason and Mr. Felder have shamefully aped the same despicable propaganda lines but simply replaced the words "whites" with "Israel" and "blacks" with "Arabs."

It is even more ironic that they compare the Palestinians to the Nazis. Didn't the Nazis justify the ethnic cleansing of Germany of "the Jews," and the effects of "the Jewish mentality" on German culture, in much the same way that Mr. Mason and Mr. Felder advocate the ethnic cleansing of Israel's Arab population? Is it not the Israelis who, in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, refused to allow the 3.5 million Palestinian refugees they expelled from Palestine to return to their homes and land in order to ensure the racial purity of "the Jewish state"?

The internationally recognized truth that Mr. Felder and Mr. Mason deliberately avoid is that 3 million Palestinian civilians have lived under a brutal 34-year Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and Arab East Jerusalem. The occupation has been characterized by murder, beatings, torture, mass arrests, collective punishment, intimidation, ethnic cleansing, home demolitions, land confiscation and harassment. Every human rights organization operating in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories has consistently condemned Israel for its gross violations of the human and political rights of the Palestinian people. Besides the fact that Israel is in violation of dozens of United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, its latest attacks and terror against a defenseless Palestinian civilian population have been wholly condemned by Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross as "war crimes."


Thornwood, N.Y.

NEA in need of education

One has to marvel at the irony of three articles appearing on July 4 in The Washington Times. One is "Teens lack knowledge of American history," which documents high schoolers' startling ignorance of their country's history. Another, "NEA ready to vote on gay resolution," reports that 10,000 delegates convened at the National Education Association's annual convention in Los Angeles this week through Saturday. The third, "Variety is the spice of U.S. celebrations," reports on the various July 4 festivities in "small-town America."

The nation's largest teachers union chose to hold its convention on and around our nation's Independence Day. That speaks volumes about NEA's interest in American history as a subject and, more likely, its view of the nation's culture. It also may go a long way in explaining why teen-agers do not know from whom we declared our independence.

The NEA should have put all 10,000 delegates on buses Wednesday morning and taken them out to Sierra Madre or Kenwood, Calif., for those towns' celebrations. Perhaps the "educators" would have learned something about the nation they claim to be educating.



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