- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 19, 2001

Bush, Family Research Council hinder U.N. human rights work

Your front-page article about the United Nations banning private human rights advocacy groups is misleading and reveals a bias against the international body ("U.N. panel now aims to banish private groups," May 17).
The United Nations opens its doors to the voices of hundreds of private groups, making necessary some restrictions. Claiming that the Family Research Council (FRC) is an advocate for "human rights" is like saying the Ku Klux Klan is an advocacy group for race relations.
The FRCs definition of human rights is so limited that it does nothing about the millions of women and children who die each year from lack of vaccines, antibiotics and other basic, lifesaving health services. These are the most fundamental human rights that promote and strengthen families, but the FRCs focus is on preventing family planning an essential service that is part of any respectable public health package and that ultimately results in both healthier women and children and fewer abortions.
Your coverage would have had some balance if you had included the Bush administrations efforts to exclude some of the oldest, most respected health associations in existence. For purely ideological reasons, the administration banished the participation of both the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the American Public Health Association (APHA) from this weeks World Health Assembly in Geneva.
APHA, the oldest and largest association of public health professionals, has been a delegate to the assembly for many years. The ANA, also a regular delegate, represents millions of underpaid U.S. nurses, our nations last line of defense against the global rise of infectious diseases and the best intelligence source our nation has for other emerging health and medical problems.
Arbitrarily excluding delegates from these organizations was not only politically foolish, it was medically dangerous. The contributions they make in the World Health Assembly in areas related to child survival, mental health, infectious disease control, maternal health, environmental quality and overall family welfare are profound. Their absence will be costly.
At least when the United States was booted from the U.N. Human Rights Commission, it was a democratic process. Perhaps President Bushs shortsighted, unilateral, ideologically based actions are yet another example of why our allies are losing their interest in having the United States participate in the United Nations.

CHUCK WOOLERY
Issues advocacy director
World Federalist Association
Washington

Downsizing also responsible for poor military command climate

The survey by Lt. Col. Albert Johnson Jr., senior military fellow at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which blames senior officers for failing to employ effective communication to bridge the generation gap with junior officers, should not be the last word on the subject ("Army report finds why officers leave," Nation, May 16).
Rather, it should be seen as a supplement to David McCormicks study "The Downsized Warrior" if only because recent downsizing caused the changes in the "command climate," as will future downsizing.
Although less serious in its implications, a future survey might examine the impact of our civilian-military cultural gap on the weapons-acquisition process. Too often, cultural separatism, careerism, ticket punching, loyalty to the chain of command, and senior officers excessive concern with passing through the revolving door to industry (rotating in and out every few years) disrupt and demoralize the lives of civilian acquisition specialists.

WALTER C. UHLER
Philadelphia

Make moratorium on Internet taxation permanent

I agree with your assessment that Sen. George Allen will have to "buck the tide" to get his bill that permanently bans Internet taxation passed ("No new Internet taxes," Editorials, May 17). As you may know, a measure to extend the moratorium sailed through the House earlier this week. Meanwhile, the Senate continues to negotiate the moratorium, with 7,500 hungry tax entities awaiting their decision in the wings.
Should we lift the moratorium, extend it or make it permanent? Lifting the moratorium would create a tax collection under our structure nothing short of a nightmare. If pro-tax lobbies are successful, electronic commerce entrepreneurs would be forced to interpret and attempt to manage a myriad of tax rules, regulations and rate structures across America.
To solve this, a number of proposals have been floated, calling for the creation of a "tax cartel," among other schemes. But to "level the playing field" as pro-tax advocates such as Sen. Byron L. Dorgan would like, states would have to streamline their tax structures, thus reducing tax rate competition between local authorities, ultimately resulting in a de facto national sales tax on interstate commerce that limits the control tax authorities have over establishing and defining their own tax rates.
The states may cry to Congress that they are losing their tax revenue base to electronic commerce, but the numbers dont lie. Most states have consistently run a surplus, and the Cato Institute reports that last year, revenues from existing sales taxes rose 7.3 percent.
If the states are so in need of this "lost revenue," which by best estimates represents less than 1 percent of their total revenues, why then have 21 states chosen to cut taxes and lower their existing sales tax collections by a total of $1.6 billion?
Extending the moratorium would allow for significant debate to continue on the issue, but it is nothing short of a stalling measure, leaving the inevitable question yet to be addressed. The truth is that minor changes in Internet taxation and regulation have far-reaching effects we cannot accurately predict.
The Internet is worthy of defense for the revolutionary impact it has had on all of our lives. It has created jobs, economic growth, prosperity and opportunities for all Americans.
As Mr. Allen and Sens. Conrad Burns, Judd Gregg and John W. Warner have advocated with S. 777, we must make permanent the moratorium on the Internet. President Bush is on board. All thats left to make the moratorium permanent is a nod from Capitol Hill.

JENNIFER HOLDER
Executive vice president
NoInternetTax.org
Bellevue, Wash.

U.N. 'tyrants cant touch international court

Adrian Karatnycky, president of Freedom House, is correct in asserting that the recent votes to remove the United States from the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and the U.N. International Narcotics Control Board do less damage to U.S. interests than they do to the effectiveness of the United Nations ("Tyrants rule," Op-Ed, May 17). His assertion, however, that the International Criminal Court will be manipulated in the same way illustrates his lack of knowledge about the court.

Unlike the U.N. Economic and Social Council, the U.N. body that elected France, Austria and Sweden instead of the United States to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the International Criminal Courts governing Assembly of States Parties will be open only to those countries that ratify the courts statute and choose to accept the courts jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The worlds human rights violators that wrongfully have a place on the Human Rights Commission, such as China and Sudan, are not the countries that are ratifying the International Criminal Court statute, because that would open them to the courts jurisdiction for violations committed on their territory.

Rather, the statute is being ratified by the community of nations that firmly supports the impartial enforcement of laws against the worlds most heinous crimes. This community of nations includes Italy, Norway, Germany, France, South Africa and Argentina. Eighteen of nineteen NATO allies (excluding Turkey) have signed the treaty, and nine have already ratified, with more to come in the next few months.

On the same day the U.S. House of Representatives passed the ill-advised and misnamed "American Servicemembers Protection Act" to bar any U.S. cooperation with future international efforts to bring tyrants before the International Criminal Court, the British Parliament passed the U.K. bill of ratification, which will be deposited shortly with the United Nations.

The International Criminal Court will not be a club of tyrants but rather a much-needed mechanism for bringing them to justice for their atrocious crimes.

HEATHER B. HAMILTON

Washington


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