- The Washington Times - Monday, April 15, 2002

Turks up to task in Kabul

The thrust of the April 8 story "Turkish forces seen unfit for peace duty" was based solely on the views of those interviewed in Kabul, Afghanistan. They argued that Turks are ill-prepared to assume the important task of commanding the International Security Assistance Force, based in Kabul.
The article must be offensive and humiliating to Turks. Americans who have worked with Turks must have seen it as either humorous (if one has a strange sense of humor), disgusting or another example of Turk-bashing by people who do not really know Turks. Every country's armed forces have a right to be proud of their capabilities, and it makes sense that the Turkish military believes it is better qualified to take command, especially in this situation, than any other. Writing an article quoting primarily low-ranking military personnel and individuals who do not want to be identified, without any indication of their experience with Turks, is shameful and unfair.
The Turks have been members of NATO for 50 years. During the Cold War, they protected the important southeastern flank of NATO, facing such potentially threatening neighbors as Syria, Iraq, Iran, the Soviet Union and Bulgaria. They were on the front lines 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We were able to trust them then as soldiers and leaders, as we did later during Desert Storm, Bosnia, Kosovo, et al. We have respected, supported and relied on the Turks for 50 years. Whether you like it or not, the United States is on the same team as Turkey.
If you want to know if the Turks are up to the job, ask President Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair or the Turks themselves, and see what kind of an answer you get. It is certainly not in the best interest of Great Britain, the United States, Turkey or any of our other allies to invest so much into something destined for failure. If the Turks receive the outside support they are apparently being promised, we believe that others will see the Turks as we see them: tough when it is time to be tough and compassionate and understanding when that is the approach to take. They are a great people, and it is essential that we work together, support each other and avoid using stereotypes to ensure and maintain world peace.

The American-Turkish Council

Episcopal bishop shirks responsibility

When I read your report that Peter James Lee, the Episcopal Bishop of Virginia, is not a "censor of unorthodoxy and a guarantor of tradition," I experienced several successive emotions ("Bishop refuses to censor speaker," April 11).
At first, I was genuinely confused. The tasks that the bishop declines to perform are precisely those he is charged with carrying out. As the "chief pastor and teacher" of his diocese, a bishop's principal duty is to guard the orthodoxy of teaching, and to pass on the tradition undiminished and unimpaired. As the Book of Common Prayer puts it, he is "to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God's word; and both privately and openly to call upon others to do the same."
Next, I felt sad and angry that one charged with such a solemn responsibility could so lightly fail to carry out a duty laid on him by divine commission.
At last, I found encouragement. The bishop cannot simply declare the Episcopal Church inhospitable to those seeking what he calls "dogmatic clarity." The global Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is but a tiny and shrinking part (perhaps one-fortieth), is full of millions of faithful Christians who have both doctrinal and moral "clarity," and who are unafraid to say so. Perhaps Bishop Lee should look from the comfort of his Richmond offices to the persecuted and suffering Anglicans of Nigeria, Sudan and elsewhere for examples of how to proclaim the faith clearly and boldly.
The immediate cause of this sad episode the febrile yammering of an eccentric professor is of little actual importance. A simple disavowal by the bishop is all that is required, but he is apparently incapable of it. There are no new heresies. They were all thought of in the first four centuries of the church's history, and they are periodically recycled by those who know so little history as to think they have discovered something new. Likewise, there is no new orthodox faith; there is just the one faith, "once delivered," and held in trust by each generation of Christians for the next. May we be worthy of that trust and discharge it faithfully.
A bishop is called to be the focus of unity in his diocese. If Bishop Lee persists in his course, he can be the focus of only division and strife.


Animal 'party' at public expense

Kudos on your April 12 editorial "Taxing 'party animals'." You are right to condemn politicians who waste the taxpayers' hard-earned money on silly and discriminatory art.
However, it should come as no surprise that Democrats and Republicans would use whatever means at their disposal to advertise themselves even taxing the workers of this city for their shameless self-promotion. Forget campaign finance reform. These politicians aren't after hard money or soft money; they're after public money.

Libertarian Party of D.C.

Only in the District could an idea that has been a proven moneymaker throughout "flyover" country become a cost (and a controversy). In my former home state of New York, among other states, organizations in several cities have auctioned the rights to decorate carousel horses and other figures to raise funds for community causes or charities. In the District, the government is paying people to decorate donkeys and elephants. In other cities, this type of project has been a positive experience. In the District, it has become a political fight and resulted in a lawsuit. It's one more reason to work in the Washington area but live elsewhere.

Hanover, Pa.

Don't blame Canada for insecure border

Yet again, Arnold Beichman has it wrong ("Northern security exposure," April 10). His description of Canada's immigration and refugee systems is out-of-date, as is his penchant for quoting long-retired Canadian public servants. Canadians are every bit as determined as Americans are to address illegal immigration. The Canadian government has increased its screening of immigrants, refugee claimants and visitors (including detention and removal activities); sped up the determination of refugee claims; and introduced new fraud-resistant permanent-resident cards. These are all elements of the "Smart Border" declaration signed by U.S. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Deputy Prime Minister John Manley in December.
Mr. Beichman's concept of a common perimeter policy, which would be the equivalent of putting an immigration wall around our countries, may suit those who think inside a box, but in today's world, territory matters little. Those who wish to do harm in North America need to be identified before they get on an airplane. It is to this end that Canadian and U.S. immigration authorities are collaborating as never before.

Minister, political and public affairs
Canadian Embassy

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