- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 24, 2002

Glendening's other 'accomplishments'

Your editorial regarding Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening's final State of the State address failed to mention two of his other major "accomplishments" ("Half-truths from Parris," Jan. 21).
According to the latest figures available from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, Maryland now ranks first among the 50 states in robbery, at a rate of 263.7 per 100,000 inhabitants. It is ranked fourth in murder.
This has happened despite or, perhaps, because of Mr. Glendening's obsession with enacting ever more oppressive gun-control schemes.

ROGER JOHNSON
Kensington

Immigration loopholes a security threat

Your Jan. 15 report "Approval seen on visa rules" makes it clear that if President Bush is to be held to his promise to "do everything possible" to protect us from future acts of terrorism, the Senate must quickly approve House Resolution 3525, a comprehensive alien tracking and identification bill that passed the House in December.
This package, which has bipartisan support, would provide for an entry-exit system that includes fingerprinting. It is not perfect, but it is a good start.
Your reporter is to be complimented for correctly identifying as an amnesty Sec. 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which allows illegal aliens to remain here with virtually no background checks.
This onerous provision is not, as Angela Kelley of the National Immigration Forum suggests, a "perennial" issue that keeps coming up "because the issue makes sense." Scheduled to expire long ago, it continues to exist because it is a moneymaker for both the U.S. government and immigration lawyers (each 245(i) applicant pays a $1,000 fee). It now looms as a potential loophole that would allow terrorists to remain in this country.

DAVID A. GORAK
Executive director
Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration
Villa Park, Ill

No 'reward' for Turkey

Bruce Fein portrays Turkey as a champion of democracy and human rights ("To reap twice-blessed rewards," Commentary, Jan. 15). He doesn't mention, of course, that the European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly condemned Turkey for massive violations of human rights against the people of Cyprus as a result of its 27-year-old illegal occupation of 37 percent of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Cyprus.
Instead, Mr. Fein advises the United States to reward Turkey for its cooperation in the war on terrorism by, among other things, urging the European Union to defer Cyprus' application for membership.
Mr. Fein forgets that the EU, at the highest level of decision-making, has made its position clear that, while desirable, settlement of the political problem is not a precondition for Cyprus' accession to the EU. Turkey's recent threats to annex the occupied part of Cyprus if Europe proceeds with Cyprus' accession have been met by a steadfast response that such behavior would strike a fatal blow to Turkey's own aspirations for EU membership.
In any case, Turkey's pronouncements on Cyprus' accession to the EU are irrelevant because it has no say on EU decisions. What Ankara needs to do is shift away from its anachronistic policy of belligerence toward neighboring countries. This means abandoning threats of annexation against Cyprus and withdrawal of its military occupation forces from the island.
The president of Cyprus and the leader of the Turkish-Cypriot community are currently engaged in a United Nations-sponsored dialogue toward peace. The United States and the EU have already voiced their support for these potentially promising talks.
Turkey's best move would be to support this peace process constructively so that it can lead to a comprehensive settlement that will end the forcible divisions of our country and its people.

ERATO KOZAKOU-MARCOULLIS
Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus
Washington

Indefensible tax cut

The Jan. 15 editorial accusing me of being weak on defense is shamelessly wrong ("Paying for the peace dividend").
I have always supported a strong defense. In fact, I authored a budget plan last year that provided more money for defense than the president proposed. My plan would have taken care of the Pentagon first, before resources were devoted to other priorities, including a substantial tax cut. Unfortunately, the Bush administration's budget plan was driven by a huge tax cut first, forcing the rest of the government, including defense, to make do with what was left.
The administration's misguided priorities and its failure to tell Congress how much more was needed for defense before Congress acted on the president's tax cut were among the reasons I and several other defense hawks including Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican voted against the Bush tax cut. As I warned at the time it was enacted, that tax cut has deprived the government of the resources that would have allowed us to make needed investments in defense without dipping into Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund surpluses.
Last summer, when the administration finally presented its defense proposals, I cried foul. It wasn't the increase that I opposed. What I was objecting to was that the proposals were presented only after the enormous Bush tax cut had been enacted and that the president was trying to force the Congress to choose between funding defense and dipping into Medicare and Social Security surpluses. That was a false choice we did not have to make.
In hope of finding a way to approve the additional $18.4 billion request without spending the Medicare and Social Security surpluses, I wrote the president, asking him to suggest a fiscally responsible way to pay for defense spending increases, without mortgaging our nation's future.
Your editorial simply ignores my record. With the end of the Cold War, it was understandable that defense spending would decline somewhat, but, even before September 11, I believed defense funding had fallen too sharply and stated so.
Let's not be fooled. Our fight against terrorism is not just about increasing defense spending. Protecting our homeland will require other costly domestic investments, as well. My concern is that the oversized tax cut has strained resources to such an extent that the Bush administration's economic plan has destroyed fiscal discipline and is wrongly using Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund surpluses to pay for other government programs.

KENT CONRAD
U.S. Senate
Chairman, Senate Budget Committee
Washington

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide