- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 13, 2002

Divorce will hurt Jordan's kids the most

In her Jan. 5 Op-Ed column, "Dear Michael Jordan," Deborah Simmons tries to portray Juanita Jordan as concerned about issues of "hearth and home." I would argue that her filing for divorce indicates the real issue is control, not any worry about Michael Jordan's absence from the home. After all, divorce will most harm neither Mrs. Jordan nor Mr. Jordan but the three Jordan children. Sacrificing the best interests of her children because Mr. Jordan won't do as he's told should elicit contempt, not sympathy.


PAUL C. ROBBINS

Lakewood, Colo.

Confirm Otto Reich

In the past few months, Otto J. Reich has been the subject of many articles debating whether the Senate should confirm him as the next assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Former secretaries of state George P. Shultz, James A. Baker III and Lawrence Eagleburger have been intensely supportive, characterizing Otto in The Washington Post as "a skilled diplomat with an impressive understanding of the Western Hemisphere." But Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Western Hemisphere subcommittee and longtime adversary of Otto, apparently believes that the nomination is "dead."

During the past 20 years or so, Mr. Dodd usually found himself opposed to Otto's view of the world. Whether the issue involved terrorist threats or the spread of communism, Mr. Dodd and Otto were on opposite sides, with history interestingly vindicating Otto.

I was there on the sidelines as the two of them clashed at every turn. No wonder Mr. Dodd seems bitter and willing to go to any lengths to keep Otto out of a high U.S. government position. The job of assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs has congressional authorization and appropriation behind it. In short, this position involves line authority, a budget, a staff, and the opportunity to influence U.S. foreign policy congruent with a particular vision of the world and America's role in it. Mr. Dodd has the additional problem that Otto is the choice of President Bush, who has given, and continues to provide, his complete support to the nomination.

Otto's entire life has been a preparation for the position to which Mr. Bush has nominated him. For more than a quarter century, I observed him working tirelessly on what he saw as his mission to improve conditions in the world through U.S. wealth and influence both publicly and privately. He believed that his effort was a small price to repay the United States for having saved the world from totalitarianism, affecting his family during World War II and the Cold War.

Mr. Shultz, Mr. Baker and Mr. Eagleburger all have worked with Otto. They have used phrases such as "breadth of knowledge," "earned the respect" and "inspired the confidence of" to describe him. I agree with their characterization and was very pleased to read their words. I have known Otto for nearly 30 years and have worked with him on a continuing basis. I found him always to be an exceptionally honest and high-minded individual, intelligent, hardworking and full of compassion for those less fortunate.

I am so completely familiar with him because I am his former spouse.

You might ask yourselves why his ex-wife would write a supportive letter, considering that their paths have diverged and that she is no longer affected by what happens to him on a day-to-day basis. The truth is that I am tired of the negative campaign against my ex-husband's nomination. The time has come to confront Otto's opposition, whose motivations are so transparent to me after these many years. The lies and innuendoes advanced by his opponents are all being propagated by people who know Otto Reich far less well than I. It is time for Mr. Dodd to end his role in the politics of personal destruction.


CONNIE D. REICH

McLean

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