- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Ancient Kennewick Man proves politically unpopular

Thank you for Diana Wests April 27 Op-Ed column regarding Kennewick Man ("Long live Kennewick"). I have been disturbed from the moment I learned of the Clinton administrations coverup of the discovery of the remains of a man who predates the American Indian and is believed to have been Caucasian. Showing a disregard for truth, history and science, the Clinton administration sought vehemently to suppress a major scientific and archaeological finding that could have untold implications politically, socially and historically.
Kennewick Man challenges contemporary thought and American Indians who claim that they exclusively have "native" status. As one born within the borders of the United States, I am a native American. Like all whites, blacks and Hispanics born in any of the 50 states, I am a native of this country. No one should claim that title exclusively.
Kennewick Man and the ground on which he was found pose a direct challenge to the propaganda of certain American Indian groups and those who wish to protect their political and social standing even at the expense of truth, science and American history. As you point out, the Army Corps of Engineers, under direction by President Clinton, covered the discovery site with 500 tons of rock and dirt, effectively sealing it from further study.
We can only hope scientists prevail in their suit for the right to study Kennewick Man.

West Des Moines, Iowa

Missile defense more important than outmoded treaty

Michael OHanlons April 26 Op-Ed column proposes to replace the outmoded Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty with a set of unilateral U.S. commitments that would, if anything, be worse ("ABM treaty under attack"). Mr. OHanlon would have the president withdraw from the treaty eventually but promise to continue to comply with most of its provisions for one or two years; deploy no more than 200 interceptors; emphasize land, sea or air-based boost-phase technologies; and consider cooperative efforts such as basing some boost-phase defenses on Russian soil. The results of his proposal would be to tie the United States hands almost as effectively as they are tied under the current regime.
If a national missile defense (NMD) needs to be deployed as soon as possible, waiting several years to begin construction of the needed radar and launch sites makes no sense. Every year of delay is another year in which the United States is undefended. For what reason does Mr. OHanlon propose the limit of 200 interceptors? None, except that that was the number in the ABM treaty, which is outdated and an impediment.
Worst of all, Mr. OHanlon wants the president to deploy a type of defense that cannot offer credible protection of the United States. Even if boost-phase defenses can be made to work after all, the concept is untested deployment and employment limitations make them largely unsuitable for the NMD mission. Boost-phase defenses may, in some instances, provide a second layer of protection, but the principal defense against ballistic missiles must be deployed in the United States.

Senior fellow
Lexington Institute

Baltic states would be strategic boon for NATO

By announcing that none of the nine central European nations seeking membership in NATO is qualified, NATO Ambassador Alexander Vershbow poured cold water on the Baltic states aspirations to join at the next NATO summit in 2002 (Embassy Row, April 18).
Mr. Vershbows arguments are not convincing. He states that these countries must boost their military spending. No country, however, not even the United States, can be completely ready for armed conflict, and NATO criticizes many of its current member states for not spending enough on their militaries.
NATO membership for the Baltic states will help to keep Europe free and whole, enhancing the continents security and stability. Membership will also help to compensate former captive nations for the division of Europe at the Yalta Conference. However, for politicians whose main concern is that NATO does not antagonize Russia, these arguments do not mean much. They understand little that, between World War I and World War II, the Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fulfilled an essential task by providing peace in Europe. These countries formed a bulwark against Russian penetration at least until the ill-fated German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 1939, which divided the whole of Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.
The people of the Baltic states hope that long-term considerations will eventually prevail in the minds of congressional leaders and the president. After all, we cannot predict whether Russia will make the transition to real democracy and a free market or revert to its dismal past and become a threat not only to the Baltics, but to the entirety of Europe.


Free market derailment

Your April 22 front-page special report on the nations bus industry painted a picture of an impressive group of entrepreneurs, principally with small businesses, relying on their vision and ingenuity to stay alive ("Bus stop down the road: Industry fights rising costs, competition").
The article correctly noted that American buses carried an incredible 860 million passengers in 1999, 38 times the number of Amtrak riders that year. However, it didnt report that providing federal subsidies for the financially beleaguered intercity rail service amounts to financing the competition against an unsubsidized bus industry. (To be more precise: a study of competitors found that annual government subsidies total 5 cents for each bus passenger, $6 for each airline passenger and a whopping $54.88 for each Amtrak customer.)
Amtrak swears it wants to be weaned from the public teat. However, after pledging four years ago that it would be financially self-sufficient by next year, Amtraks president and chief executive officer told Congress in February that federal subsidies must be tripled this year, from $522 million to $1.5 billion, if the ailing passenger railroad is to survive. In other words, in year four of a five-year plan toward self-sufficiency, Amtrak is more dependent than ever on Uncle Sams largess.
The nations bus industry stands as a paragon of our system of free enterprise so why is Congress financing its competition?

President and CEO
American Highway Users Alliance

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