- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Kamikaze, carrier collision correction

The photo caption in your Sept. 21 World story "'Kamikazes' of a modern-day battle" identifies the ship under attack as an aircraft carrier. In fact, the ship depicted is the heavy cruiser USS Louisville.
Also, the article states that the kamikaze pilots sank no U.S. aircraft carriers. Although they did not sink any of the "fast carriers," they did sink two of the smaller, slower escort carriers: the USS St. Lo and the USS Ommaney Bay. The latter was hit by one kamikaze, which severed all water mains and caused fires which could not be extinguished; the ship was abandoned and then torpedoed by a U.S. destroyer. The ship in which I was serving took aboard about 30 of her survivors.
Although the bulk of the kamikaze attacks came in the Okinawa operation, 128 American and Australian ships were either sunk or damaged in operations in and near the Philippines.


Battle over judges threatens to tip scales of balance of powers

The Sept. 12 Commentary column by Lloyd Cutler and Mickey Edwards misses the primary reason why the confirmation of federal judges has become such a ferocious battle ("A case of the judgeless benches"). Simply, the judicial branch has a place and power far in excess of anything the framers of the Constitution ever dreamed or, for that matter, anything most elected officials would have dreamed of just 40 years ago.
For years, the left has used the judicial branch as the means to advance its agenda, which is consistently outside of the mainstream. When the left fails to get what it wants through the legislative branch (which is often), it resorts to the courts. Liberals are intent upon turning the courts into a supra-legislative branch, which has the power to trump the laws created by our elected officials. They wish to fill the courts with activist judges who view the Constitution as, as they put it, a "living, evolving" document.
How should we respond? Roll back the power of the courts and return them to the role of interpreting law rather than making new law.
The left views the judicial branch as its special purview to make laws our representatives refuse to make. Conservatives must fight for the integrity of the courts with the same ferocity as the left fights to usurp them.

Chesapeake, Va.

Muslim leaders must define 'jihad'

In arguing that terrorists acting in the name of Islam are "heretics" rather than "fundamentalists," Commentary columnist Alan Reynolds omits a core teaching of Islam: maintaining the purity of the Word of Allah ("This is no holy war," Sept. 16).
Islam is built on the premise that God has revealed His Will through his prophets, but that His Word has been perverted by the people. The revelation to the prophet Mohammed in the 7th century is thus perceived as the attempt, to use a colloquialism, "to set the record straight." The Koran teaches that the Word of Allah was distorted by the Jews because they "debarred others from the path of Allah practice usury and cheat others of their possessions" and by Christians because "Jesus the son of Mary, was no more than Allah's apostle Allah forbid that He should have a son." Jews and Christians, therefore, are guilty of failing to maintain the purity of Allah's Word.
Mr. Reynolds is correct to claim, "Those who are Jews, and Christians whoever believes in God" are accepted into the Muslim community. However, he should add that to fully accept the "Word" as proclaimed in the Koran, one must renounce any opposing beliefs. For the Christian, then, restoring the purity of the Word requires renouncing the incarnation of God.
Modern Islam must come to terms with what I believe is the fundamental dilemma of the faith: How will the "struggle of purity" or Jihad be reconciled in the modern world? Is this to be a spiritual struggle within each believer or a violent confrontation of the "infidels of old"? And if the Koran says Jews should be denied good things, then how can this be reconciled with recognizing the state of Israel? This is the burden the Muslim community has not forthrightly addressed in the past. Now more than ever they need a lucid articulation of their faith.
Islam is a faith of action. Both the Koran and the Hadith urge action and promise great rewards for those who act as opposed to those who have a passive faith. Muslim leadership should rise to the occasion to authoritatively define the tenets of Islam and resolve the paradoxes modern Muslim societies face. Those like Osama bin Laden should not be allowed to define the faith or, worse, use the idea of a pan-Arabic utopia to whip the masses into a frenzy. Islam deserves better.

Largo, Fla.

Pakistan's monkey business with Taliban

There is a story about a scientific experiment on the survival instincts in animals.
A man puts two monkeys a mother and its baby in a big glass tank and begins to fill the tank with water. As the water rises, the mother begins to panic. Initially, the mother puts the baby on her shoulder. As the water rises further to her shoulder, the mother places the baby on her head. When the water reaches her face, the mother takes the baby, puts it under her feet and stands on it to avoid drowning.
This is what Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf has done with his country's baby the Taliban.

New Delhi, India

Sealing cockpit will make another attack impossible

Martin Schram made some excellent suggestions for airline safety in his Sept. 22 Commentary column, "Setting forth what now must be done," but he omitted the one change that would have prevented the catastrophes of Sept. 11: making the cockpit cabin impregnable during flight. If pilots cannot open the cabin door and the terrorists cannot breach it during flight, terrorists will not be able to use civilian aircraft as missiles. While the Airline Pilots Association apparently has opposed this modification in the past, it has worked impeccably for the Israeli airline, El Al. Given the realities of the world we now live in, there can be no justification for not implementing this airplane modification immediately.


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