- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Kerrey defenders 'everybody did it insulting to vets

Although I agree with Col. David Hackworth about "serial military bashers" and "reporters like Rather" using former Sen. Bob Kerreys story to rehash their pet theories about the Vietnam War, Im afraid the colonel missed the point of the controversy ("Bringing Vietnam to the front line again," May 12).
He is right about the politicians who got us into the war. He is right about the tragedies of war when innocent civilians are killed during attacks on legitimate military targets. He is also right that GIs sometimes face kill or be killed situations that may involve a woman or a child; but thats not what the Kerrey controversy is all about.
If the civilians women, old men and children were killed as Mr. Kerrey said it happened, it was a tragedy, but it was not a war crime; if he ordered them lined up and killed the way his accuser and fellow SEAL, Gerhard Klann, said it happened, then it was murder and Mr. Kerrey is no better than William Calley, who ordered the massacre at My Lai. Well probably never know the truth. However, I am sickened by Mr. Kerreys Clinton-like verbal tap dancing, and those on the left who defend him, claiming that "everybody did it." First of all, everybody didnt do it. And that comes from a number of Special Forces veterans who, contrary to Col. Hackworths claim of a Vietnam vet backlash, are outraged by the suggestion that being in combat means we throw rules, honor and ethics out the window and become barbarians. Secondly, Col. Hackworth should be more careful in how he frames his argument, lest he gives the cowards who dodged the draft more ammunition to claim that they were right and that the rest of us were "baby killers."

U.S. Air Force, retired
Sterling, Va.

New drug czar, same old story

In his vigorous support of new drug czar John P. Walters and the continuation of failed drug war policies, columnist Robert Charles bemoans the "well-funded legalization movement" ("New drug czars mission," Commentary, May 14). I find it humorous that so paltry a sum as a few million dollars has done so much to influence public attitudes. I say "paltry" because the opposition (the Drug Enforcement Agency, the FBI, Customs, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, etc.) has spent untold billions in the pursuit of a drug-free America. Yet drugs are as cheap and available as ever.
It is even more ironic that Mr. Charles encourages the new czar to "think outside of the box," but at the same time promotes the business as usual approach of days gone by. Hows this for "outside-the-box" thinking: learn from our own history that prohibition causes tremendous problems; decriminalize and regulate drugs so that youngsters have less access; dismantle all the enforcement agencies, which drain billions of tax dollars, and use the money for treatment and education instead; and maybe even restore the Bill of Rights, which has been shredded in our pursuit of drug users and producers.
The only people benefiting from the drug war are those in the black market and those drawing paychecks to stop them. We can only hope that common sense eventually prevails.

Marshall, Texas

Working mothers' reversal of fortune

Enough already. As that most evil of all creatures, a working mother who chooses to work, I was incensed to open the newspaper this Mothers Day morning to see yet another article berating me for my selfishness, my inability to nurture my children and my obsession with "a bulging Filofax, a tailored wardrobe and a corporate expense account" ("A mothers rewards and remembrance," Commentary, May 13). Did we not learn a lesson when, just a few years ago, stay-at-home mothers were derided as less than bright, subservient, second-class citizens? Are these women who have apparently sacrificed so much to care for their children so bitter that they now must return the viciousness and incivility?
As my 2-year-old wriggles around on my lap and reaches up to hug me, I believe that I have earned Mothers Day as much as columnist Michelle Malkin. I would dare say that my child is as well-adjusted as hers and is as happy being tucked into bed and read a story every night. Ms. Malkin, I applaud your choice. I think it is wonderful that you are being rewarded so handsomely for your terrible sacrifices. I sacrifice, too, in a different way. But I would request that you and other mothers who have chosen your path respect me for my choices. And perhaps, in 20 years, we can introduce our children and congratulate each other on a job well done. I have to go, the Cheerios and banana chunks need to be cleaned off my Filofax.

Callaway, Md.

Blue dogs sniff out budget flaws

As the communications chairman for the Blue Dog Coalition, I would like to highlight just a few of the misguided opinions Donald Lambro expresses in his May 14 Commentary column, "Tax cut finale amid the howling."
First, Mr. Lambro seems to have trouble differentiating between debt reduction and debt swapping. To most Americans, using your Mastercard to pay off your Visa would not be considered "paying down debt," yet that is exactly what the Republican budget resolution does. As Mr. Lambro notes, the debt reduction in the budget resolution comes from surplus payroll taxes. He neglects to mention that these funds are "off budget," meaning they are already committed to the Social Security Trust Fund. Therefore, the presidents budget borrows $2.4 trillion from Social Security to pay down the publicly held debt. This places the tremendous strain of funding Social Security for the baby boomers on the next generation.
Second, President Bush has already stated that he would use the Social Security Trust Fund surplus to pay for reforming Social Security and to finance the transition to personal accounts. The major flaw with this plan is that it relies on the same funds the president uses to fund debt reduction. Everyone knows you cant spend the same dollar twice.
Third, Mr. Lambro claims that Blue Dogs are using, "fearmongering at its worst" when we state that this budget will put us at risk of returning to deficit spending financed by borrowing from the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. Yet, in the very next sentence of his column, he states "we could borrow a little to tide us over" if the projected surpluses do not materialize. "Borrowing a little" for 30 years is exactly how we ended up with a $5.7 trillion debt in the first place.
In closing, Mr. Lambros charge that the Blue Dog Coalition is addicted to spending and big government is totally inaccurate. The Blue Dog Coalition has worked tirelessly to hold the line on growth in federal spending. We worked with the Republican leadership and the Clinton administration in passing the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and remain advocates of realistic spending caps.


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