- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 6, 2001

Pakistan's support of U.S. goes unrewarded

Your Nov. 4 editorial "Pakistan's big lie" unfortunately is based on surmises, conjecture and hearsay evidence rather than any incontrovertible proof. Quoting the Deccan Herald of Bangalore as a credible source about goings on in Pakistan is like quoting Pravda or Izvestia (in the Soviet days) to prove an assertion about the United States.

The Washington Times, it seems, is used occasionally by various elements that have an inherent and primordial antipathy toward Pakistan and will never be willing to give the government and leadership of Pakistan the benefit of the doubt.

Furthermore, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell have been on record reposing full faith and confidence in the statements, actions, conduct and policies of the government of Pakistan.

The history of the Afghan war against the Soviets (1979-89) and U.S.-Pakistani relations show that whenever the United States has needed Pakistan's assistance, Pakistan always has been there to lend a helping hand unconditionally: in containing and rolling back communism, apprehending international terrorists wanted by the United States and winning the war against the international narcotics trade.

In the end, there should be no doubt that what Pakistan says is what it does.


ASAD HAYAUDDIN

Press attache

Information Division

Embassy of Pakistan

Washington




At a time when Pakistan is facing considerable internal and external pressures for supporting the United States in its hour of need, I found your editorial "Pakistan's big lie" extremely objectionable. May I remind you of a few facts:

• Without Pakistani bases, U.S. U2 spy flights over the USSR's Central Asian republics in the 1960s would not have been possible. (Some Americans may recall the flight of Captain Francis Gary Powers.)

• Without Pakistan's key mediation with China, President Nixon's historic trip to Beijing may never have happened in the 1970s.

• Without Pakistan's support of U.S. policy to assist Afghanis against Soviet occupation, the Red Army may never have been defeated in the 1980s.

• Without Pakistani troops on UN duty riding to the rescue of U.S. forces in downtown Mogadishu, perhaps many more GI's would have perished in Somalia in the 1990s.

• It does not surprise me that an Indian newspaper, the Deccan Herald, is accusing Pakistan at this point in time. This is a time-honored practice of our neighbors' media. It does surprise me that your editorial staff are naive enough to accept such charges without independently verifying the facts.

• Finally, I wonder whether the United States will stand by Pakistan when the dust settles. Since the United States lost interest in Afghanistan over a decade ago, Pakistan has been left alone to deal with the blowback of that conflict; drugs, CIA-supplied guns and missiles, and yes, the hundreds of extremists including Osama bin Laden that the CIA flew from all over the world to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets.

The question is not whether the United States can trust Pakistan. History speaks for itself. The question is whether Pakistanis can trust the U.S. government.


UMAR ALI

London

OSHA clears the air about Post Office dust masks

The Nov. 2 front-page story "Postal service buys masks, but OSHA halts use" provides misleading information about the guidance of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding voluntary use of respirators in mail-handling facilities.

OSHA did not stop or prevent Postal Service employees from voluntarily using dust-mask-type respirators until they had received lengthy training, as the article states. According to our published guidance, employees can use simple dust respirators or masks on a voluntary basis without going through a lengthy training or fit-testing program. All that is required in such cases is that employees receive basic information about using respirators. This can be done as the respirators are distributed to the employees. The purpose of this basic information is to ensure that respirators are not misused, placing the employees in even greater danger.

OSHA has been working very closely with the U.S. Postal Service and its employees on how best to protect workers. The current anthrax situation is, as you know, very fluid, and we are learning daily. We will continue to work with all parties, including all appropriate federal agencies, to ensure that workers are properly protected.

Today, more than ever, we all must do our part to preserve and protect the national interest and the working men and women of this country. Misleading stories undermine this effort. Getting the story straight is the media's responsibility. Please do better in the future.


JOHN L. HENSHAW

Assistant secretary

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

U.S. Department of Labor

Washington

Putin's change of heart should be put to the test

The Oct. 26 Op-Ed column "A brave new Russia," by Edward Lozansky and Paul Weyrich, was not the first opinion column to praise Russian President Vladimir Putin for his decision to join the West and be an ally in our fight against terrorism. Nor will it be the last. I hope you will give your readers who have a different opinion a chance to express their views.

The authors advise our government to make several concessions to Russia in reciprocation for Mr. Putin's help. The first of these to write off or restructure Russia's foreign debt is the most controversial. This debt did not originate entirely in the Soviet era, but was acquired by the newly established Russian Federation. Its cancellation would ultimately harm Russia. Potential future creditors would have no confidence that Russia could pay its foreign debt in full. As to the restructuring of the debt, Western creditors already have been very generous.

Mr. Putin knows very well that Russia's security will not be compromised by our cancellation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty or by the enlargement of NATO. Some Russians could be upset by these moves, but we should not make concessions simply to raise their self-esteem. Those who advocate one day making Russia a full-fledged member of NATO should take note of what Czech President Vaclav Havel said at a May 11 conference in Bratislava, Slovakia. Mr. Havel pointed out that with Russia as a member, NATO eventually would become a toothless replica of the United Nations.

Mr. Putin can take specific actions to make himself a more believable ally of the West. First, he should come to an agreement with the Chechens without any unacceptable preconditions. Second, Russia should pull its troops out of Georgia and cease to interfere with that country's internal affairs. Third, Mr. Putin should admit openly that in 1940, Russia illegally annexed the Baltic States and Bessarabia (now Moldova) and apologize for their brutal occupation. Finally, Russia should sign a border agreement with Estonia and abolish double duties on Estonian exports.

Any freedom-loving country would welcome Mr. Putin's change of heart with open arms, but his change of heart must be genuine and not just dictated by Russia's immediate policy objectives. In other words, we should not get carried away with wishful thinking. We must keep in mind that actions speak louder than words.


CAMILLA KUUS

Washington


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