- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 3, 2002

Enviornmentalists endanger species homo sapiens

While I appreciate your justified outrage at the revelation that lynx hairs were planted in national forests in Washington state, we must ask if this is just the tip of the environmental science iceberg ("The mysterious missing lynx," Editorials, Dec. 31).
This past summer, thousands of farmers and ranchers in southern Oregon and Northern California were denied water predicated upon two biological opinions concerning the short nose sucker and the coho salmon. During a public meeting prior to the water cutoff, I asked the local manager of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service three questions: "How many suckers were in Upper Klamath Lake in 1906?" (the year the Bureau of Reclamation began operating the Klamath Project); "How many suckers were in the lake in 1988, at the time they were declared endangered?"; and "How many suckers will have to be in the lake in order to be delisted?" The response to all three questions was, "We don't know."
It appears that we will continue to have economic train wrecks all over the rural areas of this country until Congress understands that the Endangered Species Act in its present form is a license to steal and destroy the livelihoods of this country's most loyal citizens. In response to Idaho Republican Sen. Larry E. Craig's statement, "If they [the frauds perpetrators] hadn't been caught, you might have seen entire forests shut down on a false premise," and Utah Republican Rep. James V. Hansen's comments that "this hoax could have wrecked some people's way of life," I wish to point out that an agricultural basin has been shut down and that federal action has wrecked many people's lives. And for what? I don't know.

Klamath County commissioner
Klamath Falls, Ore.In your Dec. 31 editorial, "The mysterious missing lynx," you condemn the fraud perpetrated by environmentalist activists working for the government, quoting Idaho Republican Sen. Larry E. Craig: "If [the frauds perpetrators] hadn't been caught, you might have seen entire forests shut down on a false premise."
However, if the evidence that an "endangered species" inhabited the forest had been real, would the entire forest have been shut down on a "true premise"? The fraud is worse than planting phony evidence it's planting phony principles.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) puts "nature" above human rights as a matter of law and, in accord with the environmentalism's inherent nature worship, as a matter of ethics. Its history is one of coercion and corruption of science in the service of biocentrism.
ESA expired years ago and has been too controversial to be renewed by Congress. Yet Congress, morally and politically intimidated by the environmentalist lobby, continues to fund its implementation.
It's time to kill ESA. The real "missing lynx" is the missing connection between ESA and any justification for its existence.

Concord, Mass.

Afghanistan quite capable of self-rule

In his Jan. 1 Commentary column, "Afghan shipwreck," Bruce Fein correctly calls for a strong U.N. advisory role and presence in Afghanistan, but misunderstands the principal dangers facing the Afghan people. It is tempting, but wrong, to perceive Afghanistan as a clutch of warring tribes incapable of self-rule. Afghanistan was among the first "Third World" nations to emerge onto the world stage, gaining its independence from Great Britain in 1919. For most of the 20th century, Afghanistan enjoyed relatively enlightened self-rule, an absence of major internal conflict, and significantly progressive policies regarding women. Women participated actively in government and such critical fields as medicine and education. The 1964 constitution was a significantly modernizing influence, notwithstanding Mr. Fein's criticism of it. Among key changes, the document championed individual over tribal rights.
Mr. Fein is right to call for a strong U.N. role and to make the implicit point that a prostrate Afghan civil society needs strong international community support in the form of training and other developmental and humanitarian assistance.
The great threat to the re-emergence of a stable, democratic Afghanistan at peace with its neighbors derives from those very neighbors and not from any inherent internal instability.
Regional powers continue to circle Afghanistan, scheming to retain or regain influence through warlords they have long used as agents and puppets. Iran, for instance, seeks private water resource deals with Pashtuns in the southwest. Pakistan seeks continued extraterritorial influence in Afghanistan through its cat's paws, so as to provide "strategic depth" defense against India. Russia, Uzbekistan, and other regional players similarly are capable of exerting destabilizing influence through Afghan proxies who have long been on retainer.
The international community, acting through the United Nations but with critical leadership by the United States, should protect fledgling Afghan efforts to reconstruct the nation state of Afghanistan. The 13-year struggle by Afghans to drive out Soviet forces and their puppets is adequate testimony to the strength of the Afghan commitment to nationhood, as well as their desire for and right to self-rule.

Falls Church

Edmund McWilliams was special envoy to Afghanistan, 1988 to 1989, and the second ranking State Department officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul from 1986 to 1988.

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