- The Washington Times - Monday, April 8, 2002

The rapacious reparations scam

In her April 2 column titled "Stretch of victim standards," Debra Saunders correctly said that a lawsuit seeking reparations from three corporations because of their enrichment from slave labor seeks a punishment that fits someone else's crimes.
My father did not own slaves. My grandfather, who emigrated from Poland seeking freedom, did not own slaves. Why should I, the son of a bus driver, or anyone else whose descendants came to the United States after the Civil War, owe the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton money?
The legacy of slavery is not the problem facing blacks in America, and reparations is not the solution. Is it the fault of slavery that minority youngsters don't stay in school, don't learn to read or do basic math, don't graduate, don't even take books home to do their homework lest they be accused of "acting white?" Is it slavery's fault that illegitimacy and crime continue to ravage inner cities?
Blacks are suffering from the legacy of a welfare system that encouraged black males to abandon their families and rewarded illegitimacy with a check. They are suffering from the legacy of an educational establishment that continues to imprison blacks and other minorities in failing schools, while opposing school choice and school vouchers.
Indeed, if this suit succeeds almost every American, including blacks with pensions or stocks will suffer. Looting the retirement funds of people who had nothing to do with slavery is not justice. It will breed resentment, not racial harmony.
Success in life should be the result of hard work, not racial blackmail. In the case of Holocaust survivors and those of Japanese origins interned during World War II, we were able to identify the people who suffered crimes during their lifetimes, or their immediate descendants.
We should not benefit an entire ethnic group and demand that those who committed no crime pay them money.

DANIEL JOHN SOBIESKI
Chicago

A righteous resistance movement in Iran

The March 31 article titled "Foggy Bottom in a fog over Iran?" by Arnold Beichman was insightful. Due to my personal relations with Iranians in exile, I've been puzzled by the State Department's policy toward Tehran and the Iranian resistance movement. For the past several years, I have interviewed many Iranians about their views on the ruling Islamic clerics, the mullahs. They all consider the mullahs to be a threat to humanity and they therefore support another revolution in their homeland.
As Mr. Beichman rightfully pointed out, the real threat is Islamic fundamentalism. Since September 11, this has become a global threat; therefore, it is disappointing to see the old-school attitude of the State Department. In search of moderates and reformers, it has labeled the Iranian resistance group, known as the People's Mojahedin, a terrorist organization. The Mojahedin is legally and rightfully challenging this designation.
Mr. Beichman articulated how Mojahedin fighters are regarded as freedom fighters around the world. I was proud that in 2000, the majority of members of Congress declared that the Mojahedin was a "legitimate resistance movement" and asked the State Department to amend its policies.
One would have hoped that after President Bush declared during his State of the Union speech that Iran was part of an "axis of evil," the fog would have cleared up in Foggy Bottom. I urge the policymakers in the State Department to move toward a long-term and sustainable policy on Iran, rather than pursue a never-ending search for moderates in the mullahs' government. I would like to see our government reach out to the true representatives of the Iranian people: the People's Mojahedin. This outreach would surely be appreciated by a future democratic Iran.

DAVID A. JOHNSON
ViennaWashington

The true guardians of freedom

In David Limbaugh's March 25 column titled "Forsaken benchmarks of liberty," he chastised Republican politicians who voted for the campaign finance reform bill. Feeling betrayed, he wrote, "The Republican Party holds itself out as the guardian of the Constitution."
On just what planet does Mr. Limbaugh reside? With the exception of election reform, I can't even remember the last time Republican or Democratic politicians opposed a bill on constitutional grounds. If they bothered to do so more often, the vast majority of bills that are passed each legislative session would never be enacted into law.
The only congressman who consistently considers the constitutionality of legislation is Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Although he ran for office as a Republican, Mr. Paul has been a longtime member of the Libertarian Party and was the party's presidential candidate in 1988.
On every single issue, from free speech to gun rights to taxes to national defense, the Libertarian Party is the only party that consistently upholds and defends the Constitution. I encourage everyone to check out and consider joining the party that takes a principled stand on behalf of liberty.
Are Libertarian candidates winning major elections? Not yet. But if you care about the Constitution and still vote for Republican or Democratic candidates, you haven't been on the winning side either.

JONATHAN TRAGER
Staff Writer
Libertarian Party USA


Who's fooling whom on missile defense?

In his March 23 column "On course for missile defense," James Hackett praises President Bush's recent decision to pull out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) and expresses his belief in the near-term viability of missile defenses. Mr. Hackett should consider that the United States is far from deploying any system capable of destroying an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), after spending approximately $85 billion since President Reagan announced in 1983 his vision for deploying strategic defenses.
Although the intercept test conducted on March 15 succeeded, the rudimentary missile-defensive capability that this might lead to in the next several years will still be vulnerable to missiles accompanied by various countermeasures and would be far from reliable. Just prior to the president's December decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, 50 Nobel laureates penned a letter to Congress, citing that even after years of research, the difficulties of "hitting a bullet with a bullet" have not been overcome. It is irresponsible to suggest to the American people that a missile defense is close at hand.
Additionally, Mr. Hackett's reference to a 1984 intercept test, which he claimed proves the potential success of hit-to-kill technology, is misleading. The test he alludes to could only be considered a triumph if you consider the destruction of a heated warhead a demonstration of effective technology. Heating the target warhead to 100 degrees Fahrenheit made it much easier for the heat-seeking system to locate the target in space. It was later revealed that this experiment was orchestrated to deceive the Soviets and Congress into thinking that the United States had a viable ICBM-intercept system. It appears that nearly two decades later, the Defense Department has successfully fooled Mr. Hackett as well.

BENJAMIN JOSEPH RUSEK
Granville, Ohio



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