- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 1, 2002

Austria's priestly martyrs

I wish to comment on an article lifted from the Associated Press wire, "Pro-Nazi priests outed" (World, Nov. 24), which focused on the new book by Stefan Moritz, "Gruess Gott und Heil Hitler" ("Greet God and Hail Hitler"). The book reveals the pro-Nazi roles played by some Austrian Catholic clergymen during the Nazi occupation of Austria (1938-1945). Books that expose the pro-Nazi attitude of many Austrians during this period contribute to the necessary healing process that must begin with the acceptance of historic facts.

However, to present an authentic picture of that time, other facts must be included facts that were lacking in the article. For example, the article could have mentioned the resistance and suffering of numerous other Austrian Catholic clergymen. Studies show that from 1938 to 1945, 724 Austrian priests served time in prison, and seven of them died there. Another 110 were sent to concentration camps, where 90 of them perished. Fifteen were sentenced to death and executed. Almost 300 priests were expelled from their parishes, and more than 1,500 were banned from preaching or teaching. (The source for this information is "Austria in the Twentieth Century," edited by Rolf Steininger, Gunter Bischof and Michael Gehler, Transaction Publishers, 2002).


CHRISTOPH MERAN

Director of the Austrian Press and Information Service

Embassy of Austria

Washington

Pakistan deals back

Sol Sander's column "High-stakes poker with Pakistan" (Op-Ed, Thursday), though appearing to convey a sense of understanding of Pakistan and its reason for existing, unfortunately is a rather shallow analysis that is essentially presumptive in nature.

For the third time in its 55 years of existence, Pakistan has become a frontline state in a strategic confrontation between the United States and its antagonists. (The other instances were Gary Powers' U-2 flight from Peshawar and the 1979-89 anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan.)

Contrary to what Mr. Sanders asserts, Pakistan has done more than any other coalition member in the war on terrorism. We have lost 114 persons in terrorist-related violence since September 11, of whom 20 were members of the country's security services the largest number lost by any coalition member to hostile fire from al Qaeda elements.

Contrary to what is depicted and reported in the news media, the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence agency have been the lead agencies in the counterterror campaign, and their cooperation with U.S. intelligence agencies has been intense, robust and effective. More than 400 al Qaeda and Taliban personnel have been delivered to Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay by Pakistan.

The election victory of the Islamic political coalition, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, was based primarily on socioeconomic factors resulting from the misgovernance and malfeasance of previous governments. Pakistan has reassured the United States and the international community that the country's nuclear program is under stringent controls and that proliferation concerns are unfounded. Speculation about Islamist infiltration in the state's organs is essentially the product of fertile and febrile imaginations of those who are divorced from the prevailing reality in the country.

Finally, Pakistan is not Yugoslavia, and speculation about its Balkanization is essentially a reflection of the thorough lack of understanding of the country's polity and society. History is not made by "ifs" and "buts." Rather, it is the result of interacting constants and variables in a dialectic process.

In addition to the public campaign by the Muslim League, it was the bitter and discriminatory experience of the 1936-41 Congress governments while Pakistan was still under British rule, the Indian Navy mutiny, the elections and unprecedented sectarian rioting that resulted in the demand for a separate Muslim homeland for the Muslims of India.


ASAD HAYAUDDIN

Press attache

Embassy of Pakistan

Washington

Misrepresenting methadone

Monday's editorial "Methadone: code blue" misrepresented the role of methadone in helping cure addiction to heroin and prescription pain relievers.

Methadone is used both to treat opioid abuse or dependence and to treat pain. Both purposes are designed to open the door to recovery, to restore the ability to get a job, to reduce crime related to narcotic use and to care for a family without being intoxicated. Both purposes enhance the public health and save the taxpayers money. These are critical public health and public safety goals.

Methadone as a treatment for addiction should not be equated with giving an alcoholic less alcohol to maintain a chemical crutch. For example, heroin creates changes in the brain that result in addiction, and used properly, methadone combined with a therapeutic strategy can help reverse those changes over time for many people.

Agents such as methadone are critical for those who do not benefit or cannot benefit from nonmedication treatments. As is the case for any medical strategy, one shoe does not fit all. Chronic medication strategies are common in medicine. Hypertension, diabetes, non-addiction psychiatric conditions and asthma are all conditions that can include nonmedication strategies or medication strategies. That a condition could be managed without medication in some people does not mean that it can be managed without medication in all people with the condition.

Last year, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issued new regulations covering the use of methadone in the treatment of opiate addiction. Those new regulations require that methadone clinics be sensitive to health and crime-related problems associated with the provision of care. As a result, we anticipate a reduction of the social and environmental problems in and around methadone clinics. Our approach does not throw the baby out with the bath water.

We are always looking for better ways to offer public health services. Hence, we partner with the National Institutes of Health for effective ways to translate new science to good practice. For now, however, methadone is an effective therapeutic strategy, not just another source of addiction. Its use saves the taxpayers money, protects lives and fosters public safety.


DR. H. WESTLEY CLARK

Director

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Department of Health and Human Services

Rockville

From Puritanism to puerility

Julia Duin's Thanksgiving Day feature on the Maine Sea Coast Mission offers a sad demonstration of New England's pervasive spiritual and political decline ("Talking on water," Page 1, Thursday). We learn that longtime pastor Ted Hoskins is retiring from his pulpit in order to take up full-time political agitation against free-market economics. At least he has the integrity to swap his clerical collar for a political soapbox.

Mr. Hoskins is to be replaced by the Rev. Rob Benson, a younger cleric who confesses to Miss Duin that he is "not really concerned with winning souls for Christ or saving them from substance abuse or making them tithe." Indeed, Mr. Benson apparently disavows any normative spiritual authority over the lives of his flock. "If I say you should get married," he says of irregular sexual unions, "that's just my values."

Is this intended as a caricature of mainline Protestantism, or is such fatuous relativism what Mr. Benson has to show for his years at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and Yale Divinity School?

New England has come a long way from William Bradford, the second governor of the Plymouth Colony, to Sen. James M. Jeffords. The frugal, feisty, independent New Englanders of yore have been replaced with welfare-seeking do-gooders who demand dairy price supports for their Ben & Jerry's factories.

This may be their idea of a shining city on the hill, but to the rest of us it appears to be a failed 1960s commune.


MORGAN N. KNULL

Sterling


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