- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2002

Morocco defends islet incursion

In response to "Spanish warships set to repulse Morocco" (Page 1, Saturday ), I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Morocco sent 12 security guards to the uninhabited islet of Perejil for a mere surveillance operation in a sensitive area, where common interests call for increased vigilance. The troops were sent there to tackle illegal immigration, drug trafficking and terrorism in the Strait of Gibraltar.
There is no other valid reading to make of this simple surveillance operation on an islet that is included in the Moroccan territorial waters and has never been part of the territorial dispute between Morocco and Spain over the city enclaves of Ceuta and Mellila.
Here are some points in the statement made by Moroccan Foreign Minister Mohamed Benaissa explaining the Moroccan position on this issue.
The islet was liberated in 1956 on the occasion of the end of the Spanish protectorate of the northern zone of Morocco. After that, Moroccan security forces provided a presence until 1970. From that date on, they have been deployed whenever demanded to ensure the security of the region.
The department of the Spanish land register defined in a vizierial decree published in the Official Bulletin of the Zone de Protectorado Espanol en Marruecos (Jan. 24, 1949) a border zone between the domains of Ceuta and the rest of Morocco. The decree, which denominates this zone as a "zone natural de Ceuta," makes no mention of Perejil.
Furthermore, Spanish decree No. 267/1976 of March 5, 1976, relating to the definition of Spanish national waters in the Mediterranean, makes no reference to the islet as being part of Spanish territory.
It is advisable to clarify that the judicial mechanisms of the two countries concerning the limits of their respective national waters were duly signed at the General Secretariat of the United Nations and therefore brought to the recognition of all member states of this organization.
Our country reiterates its profound attachment to the provisions of the Morocco-Spanish Joint Declaration of April 1956 and the Friendship Treaty of Good Neighborhood and Cooperation of 1991.
The government of Morocco continues to hope that Morocco-Spanish relations can be founded upon a healthy, constructive basis and mutual respect and remains convinced that frank, open and impartial dialogue is still the best way to build together the future of this relationship.

Press Officer
Embassy of Morocco

'Feckless' wrong word to describe Eugene McCarthy

Barry Casselman's otherwise excellent column on the Minnesota political scene is marred by his dismissal of former Sen. Eugene McCarthy as "ultimately feckless" ("Minnesota on your mind?" Op-Ed, July 12).
My dictionary defines feckless as "lacking purpose or vitality; feeble; ineffective." As one of Mr. McCarthy's biographers and a Washington correspondent for Minnesota newspapers who covered him for more than 20 years, I can tell you that Mr. McCarthy was anything but feckless as a political figure.
There was no lack of purpose or vitality in his decision to challenge President Johnson's conduct of the Vietnam War in late 1967, a decision that galvanized public opposition to the war; drove Mr. Johnson from the presidency; drew Robert F. Kennedy into the race and led to his assassination; set the stage for the defeat of Mr. McCarthy's fellow Minnesotan Hubert H. Humphrey by Richard Nixon in 1968; and made political activists of an entire generation of young people, including many who later ran for public office, such as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Nor was Mr. McCarthy feeble or ineffective during 22 years in the House and Senate when he took the lead in organizing the Democratic Study Group in the House; called for greater congressional oversight of the intelligence community as early as 1963; continued to push for ending American involvement in Vietnam; and advocated reforming the political process and campaign finance laws after leaving the Senate in 1973.
Mr. McCarthy can be criticized fairly for his enigmatic personality, intellectual arrogance and perplexing detachment, but not for his politically courageous challenge of the Vietnam War on moral grounds, which changed him, the Democratic Party and American history.

The Hill

Please recycle cans, paper, bottles, nuclear waste…

Gordon Prather's "Wasting nuclear 'waste'" (Op-Ed, yesterday) reminds us that spent reactor fuel destined for burial at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is not "waste" but a valuable resource that can be recycled into more fuel for nuclear reactors. Such re-use is not economical at present because virgin uranium is still plentiful and cheap, but this situation must surely change as new reactors are built all over the world to supply the growing demand for electric power.
What should we do? A reasonable compromise would be to put a certain amount of spent fuel into Yucca. Even a token burial would reassure the public that, indeed, there are no technical problems to the disposal of spent fuel into a carefully engineered facility. Perhaps the media will then stop scaring the public by referring to Yucca as a "nuclear waste dump."
As I learned by serving on a panel for the Department of Energy, the bulk of spent fuel can be safely left at the reactor sites where it is now. In a few decades it will then be prime raw material for reprocessing into new fuel, as Mr. Prather explains. Isn't recycling and conservation of resources something we should aim for as we strive for an energy-sustainable future?

The Science and Environmental Policy Project
Arlington, Va.

Nixon pardon didn't make Ford clunk out in '76

The Washington Times story "Benefit of hindsight" (Culture, Tuesday) suggests that though Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon may have cost him the 1976 election, we can look back and see that it was the right thing to do.
If our hindsight were even better, we would see that the pardon was not the cause of Mr. Ford's defeat in 1976. Those who wanted Mr. Nixon's head on the chopping block never would have considered voting for Mr. Ford anyway. Though those noisemakers were louder than those who were pragmatic enough to realize that Mr. Nixon already had suffered considerably, they weren't greater in number.
We can't pretend that criminal proceedings against Mr. Nixon would have enhanced Mr. Ford's image. It's possible that such proceedings ultimately would have been seen as essentially pointless and even might have elicited sympathy, but it's more likely that they would have led to a daily barrage of press briefings and rhetoric calling attention to the "mentor" who had selected Mr. Ford to be part of his disgraced administration. It would have strained Mr. Ford's difficult situation of trying to distance himself from Mr. Nixon.
Remember that Mr. Ford had a challenger in the 1976 primaries, Ronald Reagan. I don't recall Mr. Reagan's running against that pardon. Rather, he was running against big government, the Soviet threat and raiding Social Security funds to finance government programs. (Mr. Reagan was against the raid on Social Security before it was cool.)
Indeed, as Mr. Ford gained momentum leading up to the week of the election, it appeared that he might have shaken off the debris from the Watergate fallout, which likely would not have occurred if Watergate proceedings still had been ongoing.
Then he bungled a debate with that misguided remark about there being "no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe." Had he not spent the last days of the campaign giving clumsy explanations about what he said or what he meant to say or what he thought he had said, he probably would have beat that smiling peanut farmer.

Mount Vernon, Va.

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