- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 19, 2002

What's the INS got to do with it?

I was under the impression that the Immigration and Naturalization Service is a branch of the Justice Department. Why, then, did you title Nikolai Wenzel's Jan. 17 Op-Ed piece "INS in disarray"? Mr. Wenzel's column deals entirely with poor decisions to issue visas to "immigrants," and he correctly states that the problem is with the Department of State the department that oversees the issuance of visas in foreign countries.
It would appear, then, that the State Department not the INS or the Justice Department is the culprit. Let's investigate the poor job of verification of information within the country of issuance for these visas, which is the job of our consular offices. If foreign service officers ever come out from behind their desks and get out into the field to verify foreign passports, marriage certification, police records and foreign newspaper accounts of purported brutality to members of political groups, we may begin to curb the visa-issuance problem.

Spotsylvania, Va. According to your Jan. 16 article, "Muslim initiative," the Rev. Patrick Sookhdeo believes that "freedom, democracy, human rights and religious liberty have come out of Christianity and the West." No question about "the West" part, but Christianity? The good reverend must be joking. Didn't the progress of Western societies start only after Christianity was stripped of its absolute secular power and exiled to the most private corners of life?
Christianity can claim all the credit for inquisitions, religious wars and massacres, the practice of burning scientists, and the poverty and ignorance of the people of the Middle Ages. It should, of course, leave claims on freedom, human rights and democracies to secularism and liberalism.


Public school system should take note of private school successes

Like most educators associated with public school systems, Peggy Cooper Cafritz just doesn't get it ("Education's dollars and sense," District Forum, Jan. 14). If the government-controlled and government-financed schools had to compete in the business world, as private schools do, they would quickly come to realize that you don't survive by throwing more money into systems that are seriously flawed.
As long as teachers continue to be trained at colleges and universities where the educational psychology of Edward Lee Thorndike, John Dewey and others permeate the curricula of education departments, public schools will continue to fail. Children are not rats or guinea pigs, and they cannot be effectively educated by people who have been trained to view them as such.
Why is it that parents with no "educational" training are getting better results with home-schooling than "certified" teachers accomplish in the public schools?
Why is it that a private school with the same or less funding per student than the D.C. public schools currently spend is able to get vastly superior results?
If Mrs. Cafritz is interested, she can find such schools right here in Northern Virginia. If she were to emulate what they are doing, she could save the D.C. government the additional $338 million in funds that she says is needed and get far better results than she probably realizes are possible.


Terrorism isn't only 'evil' to be fought

It is outrageous that many trusting rank-and-file employees of Enron unfairly lost their financial future because of the greedy manipulation of a few executives and directors.
President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should be voicing their outrage that something like the Enron debacle could happen. They should also be concerned that their biggest campaign contributor is involved in such a sleazy affair.
The word "evil" has been bandied about a lot lately by our president in reference to the acts of terrorism perpetrated on the United States. But our culture of greed blinds us to the evil that so pervades our land. The Bible tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil. It is not surprising that a corporation such as Enron could be spawned in a culture of greed.
The money that Enron gave over the years to politicians of both major parties about 75 percent to Republicans is tainted. The "money is speech" politicians who oppose campaign finance reform and took money from Enron are also tainted. They are unfit to represent a constituency and should be sent packing in the next election.
As a candidate during the presidential campaign, Mr. Bush said that he would bring dignity and honesty to the White House if he were elected. It would be wonderful for America if Mr. Bush would fight the evil greed that so besets us with the same passion as he fights the war on terrorism.

Louisville, Ky.

Monica all messed up

I feel sorry for Monica Lewinsky, but not in the ways that she apparently feels sorry for herself ("Monica talks on HBO," Jan. 18).
Miss Lewinsky laments her notoriety, what she believes are common misconceptions about her and the unsavory jokes about her, which she believes are "cruel." Miss Lewinsky's real problems, however, are much deeper.
Miss Lewinsky has not and does not appear to recognize that what she did was wrong. In interview after interview, she treats moral and ethical standards as individual or cultural standards, as opposed to absolute and universal standards. In this respect, it is frightening to see how much her outlook on life resembles that of former President Bill Clinton.
Miss Lewinsky, like Mr. Clinton during the latter part of his presidency, appears to be genuinely perplexed when people look upon her negatively for things "that a lot of people in the world do."
This outlook on ethics is painfully sad. It assumes that if many people do something, it makes it OK and that she shouldn't be singled out. This is a devastating ethical standard. (I hope Miss Lewinsky wouldn't argue that because many people drink and drive, it is OK to do so.)
Human beings are not, as Miss Lewinsky assumes, the ultimate creators and definers of ethics and morality. As the actions of both Mr. Clinton and Miss Lewinsky eloquently demonstrate, in demoting the origin of ethical standards from divine to human, man inevitably discards those standards due to his flawed nature.


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