- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 8, 2001

'Protection no defense against AIDS

In his May 5 letter to the editor, "United States must do more to fight AIDS worldwide," David Bryden writes that the United States must spend "billions, not millions" using "proven means of prevention" to attack AIDS. He apparently is unaware that the only "proven means of prevention" of AIDS is abstinence, which costs nothing. The condom has not eliminated AIDS in the United States because it is only 70 percent effective in preventing the transmission of HIV. Consider the following facts:

C.M. Roland, when he was editor of Rubber Chemistry and Technology, said the AIDS virus is 50 times smaller than the voids (holes) in condoms. This is comparable to a dime passing through a basketball hoop.

Dr. Willard Cates Jr., former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "Clearly, sexual abstinence will eliminate all the risk. However use of condoms reduces by approximately 70 percent the total risk between unprotected sex and complete sexual abstinence."

Dr. Cates verified the findings of Dr. Susan Weller of the University of Texas, who said, "It is a disservice to encourage the belief that condoms will prevent sexual transmission of HIV." Her studies show condoms are only 69 percent effective in preventing HIV infection.

A British study concluded that the promotion of condoms as the solution to AIDS may be backfiring, as people are engaging in riskier behavior because they think condoms will protect them. The U.S. program should inform people that the best solution to AIDS is abstinence and monogamous marriage.


CAROLYN NAUGHTON

Silver Spring

Flag represents pride in hisotry, not racial prejudice

Congratulations on your thoughtful and candid editorial on the debate over Mississippis state flag, which bears the stars and bars of St. Andrews Cross ("Mississippis flag," April 21). As a life-long Mississippian and now a proud resident of Virginia, I appreciate the serious and dignified manner with which you treated the overwhelming vote of Mississippians to retain the 107-year-old flag.

Unlike the politically correct editorials in the New York Times and The Washington Post, yours demonstrated an understanding for the "will of the people" as expressed in that vote. That vote reflects pride in a shared heritage and history, imperfect as history is for us all, not any lingering racial bias or division. This is particularly obvious because the will of the people in Mississippi also has resulted in the largest number of black elected officials in any U.S. state.

Let´s respect the democratic wishes of our fellow Americans and not be swayed by the narrow-minded negativism of the purveyors of political correctness. Thanks to The Washington Times for not being afraid to take a principled stand.


HARRY DOLTON

Alexandria

Missile defense untenable, global laws needed

"Americas enemies are spreading nuclear, chemical and biological technologies to rogue states and terrorist groups around the world," Commentary columnist Cal Thomas states ("Security awakening," May 6).

Mr. Thomas may well be right that there are individuals in the world who would not shrink from obtaining and using such weapons of mass destruction. Those individuals most likely would try to use them against the countries, such as the United States, that are the most vulnerable. In fact, Mr. Thomas may not be aware of it, but scientists have been warning about the dangers of proliferation for decades.

The increasing threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction must be addressed, but it cannot be addressed meaningfully by "star wars" or a national missile defense. Mr. Thomas appears to think of national missile defense as an issue of left vs. right. I do not agree. Nonetheless, I cannot agree with either the right or the left as Mr. Thomas presents them. His right advocates a national missile defense, while his left holds that such a system simply might not work. I would go a step further and say that the whole idea of national missile defense is an impractical pipe dream that never can be put into practice.

Whether we like it or not, the capability for massive destruction has become cheap, plentiful and relatively accessible. A missile capable of destroying a city might cost a few million dollars. A target city is, of course, infinitely more valuable because of the lives and property within it. The cost of a missile defense system lies somewhere in between.

All a determined enemy has to do to accomplish his objective is to make a single hit. He merely needs to accommodate for a defense system by calculating how many missiles he needs to send in order to get one through. Even more tellingly, he does not even have to use a missile; a smuggler with a large suitcase can cause immense damage without anyone ever being able to find out who did it. In short, even an immensely expensive national missile defense system cannot knock out every last missile, and such a system will not defend against an attacker who chooses a delivery method other than missiles.

However much we might wish it were different, there is no technological solution to the problem of weapons proliferation. Rather, our country must do its part to create a civilized world in which conflicts are solved through the force of law rather than by the law of force. Our only rational choice for achieving a degree of safety from nuclear terrorism and other dangers is to develop the United Nations into a democratic world federation with proper institutions for the enactment, enforcement and adjudication of democratic world law. More than 200 years ago, the Founding Fathers of the United States accomplished this goal by developing a Constitution for our country. We must learn to follow in their footsteps on a global scale.


FELIX ROSENTHAL

Annandale

That's entertainment?

Thank goodness the television writers strike was averted. Americans can rest easy, knowing there will be no interruption in the constant stream of vulgarity, sexual promiscuity, innuendo and violence that fills the airwaves.

Imagine what would have happened if writers had gone on strike. Americans would have been relegated to: reacquainting themselves with their spouses and children; reading a good book, magazine or newspaper; or perhaps taking an interest in culture, the arts and politics. Perish the thought.

Thank you, writers, for not interrupting our "entertainment."


OREN M. SPIEGLER

Pittsburgh


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