- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Rioters, editorial unfairly lay siege on IMF

Your rhetorical incitement to riot ("International misery fund," Editorials, April 30) places The Washington Times in the same camp as the anti-globalization crowd that tried to lay siege to the Summit of the Americas in Quebec.

Your image of International Monetary Fund (IMF) handouts is simply wrong. Fund programs are endorsed by the international community including the Bush administration precisely because they require reforms that help a country to return to stability and growth. The trade liberalization that you say you support is an important part of IMF advice.

From Eastern Europe to Latin America and Asia, countries have worked closely with the IMF and made measurable progress. Fund financing supports these reform programs, but, of course, it is a country´s commitment to change that determines success. In Turkey, reforms have not "slowed," as your editorial claims. Rather, they have accelerated, with the banking sector, for example, undergoing major restructuring.

Investors who lost billions in Russia would be surprised to learn, as you claim, that "IMF loans bail out high-rolling speculators while the taxpayers are left with the bill." The emerging market crises of the 1990s were a painful reminder to investors of time-tested truths about risk and return. A more cautious approach to investment, combined with concrete reforms in many former crisis countries, has made a difference as the international community moves to assist Turkey and Argentina.

Before you take President Bush to task for supporting Turkey´s efforts to address its current economic straits, it is worth remembering that as presidential candidate, Mr. Bush supported recent IMF assistance to Mexico, another country that has done very well with the type of international support you appear to abhor.


THOMAS C. DAWSON

Director

External Relations Department

International Monetary Fund

Washington

Kerrey defenders hypocritical in pursuit of 'war criminals

There is much that will likely remain hazy about that night in 1969 when Kerreys Raiders entered a village in Vietnam ("Bob Kerreys battle," Editorials, April 30). We may never know for sure if events happened as former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey described, or if events unfolded as one of Mr. Kerreys squad members and a Vietnamese civilian remember.

One thing, however, is clear: The news media, military and Congress are exuding hypocrisy.

Many have stepped forward to defend Mr. Kerrey, saying in war nothing is clear and that everyone who has seen combat has had his share of horrible experiences. We find, and rightfully so, that we can understand the terror and confusion into which brave and decent American men have been thrown. We deem in our compassion that these good American soldiers, fighting an enemy who was indistinguishable from the general populace, must be forgiven their unintentional sins: It was the war, not the men.

Yet, at the same time, we are the leading proponents of pursuing Serbian soldiers for similar or lesser crimes to bring them to The Hague war crimes tribunal. We are relentlessly pursuing men accused of crimes similar to those Mr. Kerrey is defending himself against.

These Serbian soldiers were also fighting a guerrilla war, only on their own soil. Their enemies hid among the villagers. Their ranks included men and women. They fired from within villages for protection. It was often impossible to tell villagers from combatants.

If we continue to track down Serbs for crimes allegedly committed while fighting guerrillas during a civil war on Serbian soil, but turn a blind eye to alleged crimes by U.S. soldiers while fighting guerrillas in a civil war on foreign soil, the rest of the world will not respect us. We must either have understanding for all, or justice for all.


BODIE PLECAS

Los Angeles

An example of the 'new isolationism?

If reports are true that Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld has called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the multinational force of observers in the Sinai Desert, this is a tragic mistake ("U.S. tells Israel it wants to retrench," World, April 20).

At a time of rising tensions in the Middle East, not only between Israel and the Palestinians, but also between Israel and Egypt, it would be a major error to eliminate one of the security measures that helps maintain peace between Israel and Egypt.

If this is an example of the Bush administration´s "new isolationism," it should reverse this misguided policy as soon as possible.


ROBERT O. FREEDMAN

Peggy Meyerhoff Pearlstone Professor of Political Science

Baltimore Hebrew University

Baltimore

Story of foster care bureaucracy hits home

Your front-page special report on foster care negligence deeply moved me ("Lost in foster care?" April 29).

My adopted son recently had his first birthday. His birth father, a man who spent his entire childhood in "serial" foster care, wanted the adoption because he honestly thought that he knew nothing about being a father and that he and his girlfriend did not have the wherewithal to raise the child. I wonder if perhaps he too was one of those children who woke up every day thinking, "Maybe today they´ll find me parents."

I weep to think that his dreams never came true. He never had the father he deserved. He never knew the joys of a secure family life. But, to his eternal credit, he wanted his son to have the home life that he never had, and so he placed his son with Christie and me. I do not think I fully appreciated why he did it until I read your article. He was determined that his son would not suffer the same fate: always hoping for a father who never materialized.

God helps us. However, we´re destroying our children, some through the surgeon´s scalpel, others through benign, bureaucratic neglect.


TIM A. MEECE

Frisco, Texas

Corrrection to Letters

In the April 21 letter to the editor "Vets disabled upon retirement make financial sacrifice," an editing error made it appear as if the author, William L. Parker Sr., was the Air Forces chief enlisted man upon retirement. Rather, the letter writer was simply of the rank of chief master sergeant upon retirement.


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