- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Battle over construction of WWII Memorial lingers on

The National Coalition to Save Our Mall fully supports a World War II Memorial on the Mall, contrary to the propaganda put out by the World War II Memorial boosters ("Veteran seeks end to memorial delay," Sgt. Shaft, June 4). What we oppose and our numbers include World War II veterans, historians, artists and concerned citizens from around the nation is the illegally approved Rainbow Pool site on the Lincoln Memorial grounds and the World War II Memorial design, which would destroy the Malls symbolism and magnificent vistas and impede public gatherings such as the historic March on Washington in 1963.

Congress passed and President Bush signed legislation to expedite the memorial without even hearing what we have been saying about its illegal and undemocratic history. Their legislation attempts to nullify the historically protected L´Enfant and McMillan plans for Washington. It tries to nullify the Commemorative Works Act, which President Reagan signed into law to protect the historic vistas, symbolic meaning and public uses of the Mall. It would permit the killing of many of the historic elms and the pumping of arsenic-contaminated water into the Tidal Basin. Congress and Mr. Bush have tried to reward the lawbreakers and punish the law-abiding citizens who sought relief in the courts. We are responding by asking that the third branch of our government intercede.

The sponsors and politicians suggest that we have caused the delay in building the memorial, but here are the facts and the truth. Congress took 40 years to come up with the idea of a World War II Memorial, then took an additional seven years from 1987 through 1993 just to pass legislation authorizing it. The sponsor, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), then took another seven years to come up with a design, and only after changing it four times. It still is not complete. We could file our lawsuit only last October, at the end of that long process. If not for the Justice Department´s request for a stay on the lawsuit last March, our case would have been heard months ago. We are still asking for our day in court.

There is a solution to the bitter controversy over the memorial that would give us a dedication of the memorial by next Memorial Day, without the three-year delay the current plan entails. That solution is to move the memorial back to the original site unanimously approved by the sponsor, the ABMC, only 100 feet to the north, at Constitution Gardens on the Mall.



National Coalition to Save Our Mall


Here we go again. Despite the passage of legislation to delay no longer the construction of the World War II Memorial, a selfish group of petty little people will again attempt to thwart the will of the president, the Congress and oh, yes the World War II veterans, without whom there might not have been a Mall to "protect." We have heard a great deal about the sanctity of real estate and precious little about the feelings of us World War II veterans. Makes one feel a tad insignificant, doesn´t it?


Woodbridge, Va.

Defense in murder case strains credibility, even for those who have little

The extraordinary allegation by defense attorneys Mary Sigfried and Brian D. Shefferman that Robert Lucas murdered Monsignor Thomas Wells because the priest made homosexual advances toward him makes me wonder: Why is the homosexual community not outraged? ("Holdout juror threatens a mistrial," Metro, June 5).

Now that it appears that this case is headed for a mistrial, maybe the state´s attorney can consider prosecuting Mr. Lucas for a hate crime. Politically correct Montgomery County and the homosexual lobby will surely support that.


Silver Spring

More than one new bridge needed to help relieve District gridlock

Regarding your June 4 editorial "A bridge not far enough," you need to take some leadership with the following points:

• We actually need six bridges to catch up with the traffic flow in and out of the District three between the American Legion Bridge and the Point of Rocks Bridge and three between the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the U.S. Route 301 bridge. We should start planning for a suite of six bridges with associated roads right now. The environmentalist zealots need to realize that gridlock does not improve air quality and mass transit can help but not solve the problem.

• We need to solve the property-compensation problem right away so that people who lose their homes and property for the public good are justly compensated. The first step is to commission a study to find out what "multiplier" the average family will accept for the loss of its home. It probably is between 2 and 3. That is, if your home is worth $500,000, what will you accept to give it up for a new highway: $1 million, $1.5 million or another amount? Once we establish a fair compensation scheme that rewards people for dislocation, we can resume developing our infrastructure.



Khatami's new key to heaven

Exploiting young teen-agers pure emotions for political ends, while deplorable, is not unprecedented in Iran under the clerics rule ("Iran president proves popular in campaign," World Scene, June 3).

For years, as the chairman of Iran´s War Propaganda Headquarters during the Iran-Iraq war, President Mohammed Khatami played a crucial role in advancing the regime´s policy of recruitment and mobilization of boys in their early teens for the war front.

We are all familiar with the horrific scenes of these boys, with the "key to heaven" around their neck, dispatched by the thousands to front lines to "sweep" the minefields. Now, we read that Mr. Khatami is working hard to recruit Iran´s 15-year-olds for election day. He is desperate to ignite his lackluster campaign, in the face of massive voter apathy, for the presidential elections on Friday . Mr. Khatami needs votes to better his position in Iran´s political balance of power. This time, however, the means of deception, instead of a "key to heaven," are the promised land of a "civil society" and "rule of law."

Mr. Khatami talked the same talk to 15-year-old first-time voters in the last election. He knows very well that the majority of them, who now recognize that he will not and cannot walk the walk, are not going to vote for him. That is why he is again going after the "cannon fodder" this election round.



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