- The Washington Times - Friday, June 14, 2002

Another job for Donnie Brasco

The Washington Times' coverage of would-be dirty bomber Jose Padilla (aka Abdullah al Muhajir) should settle any doubts about the ineptitude of the CIA, FBI, National Security Council, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and the rest of the so-called "intelligence" community. After all, if an ignorant American with a prison background and no special qualifications can swiftly get on friendly terms with senior al Qaeda commanders such as Abu Zubaydah, why can't the CIA et al. similarly infiltrate terrorist organizations? Nationality being no bar to al Qaeda membership makes their failure to do so especially exasperating.

In the FBI's heyday, it invaded the inner sanctum of the Mafia and other criminal operations that are much more difficult to get into than a terrorist organization scouting for recruits. What but sheer brainlessness has kept it from doing the same with al Qaeda and other enemies?


San Francisco

Sir, I demand satisfaction

Wesley Pruden's latest column ("Secessionist fever in the second city," June 11) leads off with the statement "Talk of secession, once famously confused with sedition in America." I am "confused" by the meaning of this sentence fragment. Does Mr. Pruden mean that Yankees arrogantly considered seditious any discussion among the Southern states of their right as free and independent states to secede? (Of course, that's a historical fact.) Or does he mean that Southerners proved their sedition by talking of secession? Obviously I am quite sensitive about this issue and might be firing half-cocked: Perhaps Mr. Pruden was referring to another historical episode, such as New Englanders' secessionist grumblings in the early 19th century, and not to what some of us call the War of Northern Aggression.

If Mr. Pruden was just making a casual joke at Southerners' expense (my first impression), I do wish he would refrain from doing so in the future. Yeah, we're hypersensitive, but we're also on "your side" for the most part, so why alienate us? If he was not making such a joke, well, I beg his pardon.

However, please keep in mind that the Southern portion of your loyal readership has its antennae up at all times, looking for an excuse to feel insulted. Putting "secession" and "sedition" in the same sentence is a sure-fire way to make us feel that way.


Birmingham, Ala.

WWII memorial is not a cash cow

A letter writer in Wednesday's edition has his facts wrong ("D-Day minus $10 million").

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) is the sponsor of the National World War II Memorial, not the National D-Day Memorial.

The National World War II Memorial has received $186 million in cash and pledges. The current estimated project cost is $167 million. Besides construction, the estimate includes costs associated with site selection and design, a National Park Service maintenance fee required by law, groundbreaking and dedication ceremonies, fund raising, and administration of the project from 1993 through 2004. Accordingly, Neil Feldman's claims that the memorial has received twice the amount of funding needed and that the surplus will generate $10 million to $15 million in annual interest are gross exaggerations.

All major fund-raising activity has ended. We continue to receive and certainly welcome donations from individuals who want to honor their World War II-generation family members and ensure that the needs of the memorial are met now and in the future.

Charitable donors generally want assurances that their gifts will be used for the intended purposes. Congress gave donors such an assurance regarding the National World War II Memorial by requiring that any funds remaining in the World War II Memorial Trust Fund at the end of construction be retained solely to meet future expenses of the memorial. See 10 U.S.C. Section 2113(c). Accordingly, ABMC is legally and appropriately prohibited from using funds donated to support the World War II Memorial for any other undertaking.

Construction of the memorial is on schedule for completion and dedication in spring 2004.


Associate executive director

National World War II Memorial

Arlington, Va.

Assigning blame for Bush administration policy reversal

I was interviewed for a June 7 article "EPA warming study draws fire." A quote in that article has been misinterpreted as indicating that I was calling President Bush a liar. I was not and wish to clarify the record.

The June 7 interview dealt with the settlement of a Competetive Enterprise Institute-sponsored lawsuit against the EPA. Together with others, we argued that EPA had unlawfully prepared a study ("National Assessment on Climate Change" or NACC). The Administration conceded that point and issued a letter on September 6, 2001, indicating that the conclusions and policy statements of the NACC did not represent the policy positions of the U.S. government.

Yet, the administration subsequently submitted a report to the United Nations (the "Climate Action Report 2002"), which was based on that same report. That is, the NACC now seems to represent "the official position of the United States."

I found that reversal troubling and confusing, as did The Washington Times ("Batty policy on climate change," Editorial, June 5). Asked about my views on the reversal, I stated: "We were blown away by the report because the White House says this is not a reversal of policy. That is a lie."

The falsehood is first claiming that a document is not U.S. policy, later re-issuing it as U.S. policy and then claiming it is not a reversal. My reference to the "White House" clearly refers to those aides who insisted that a reversal wasn't a reversal. President Bush has, to my knowledge, never commented on this point; thus, I was clearly not addressing my comment to him.


Senior fellow

Competitive Enterprise Institute


Israel's regional distinction

Wednesday's front-page article "Israeli Arabs label benefits law unfair," is about much more than a dispute between Israeli Arabs and the Israeli government's welfare system. It implicitly suggests a crucial distinction between Israel and its neighbors.

To understand what this distinction is, we first need to take a look at the big picture. Israel is engaged in a desperate war. This week, a small cafe was bombed in Herzlia. A Palestinian poll reports that a majority (51 percent) of Palestinians believe the aim of their current uprising should be to eliminate Israel and not just end Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In a Reuters poll, 68 percent of Palestinians who responded said they approved of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

Yet in light of these cruel facts, Israeli Arabs have freely gone to the Israeli Supreme Court, acting upon their democratic rights as citizens, and protested a law that they believe to be unjust. One is hard-pressed to name another country in the Middle East in which a citizen, Jewish or Arab, could freely protest a law and expect a court to rule on its fairness.


Rockville, Md.

Negligent or not, father is responsible for child's death

I usually agree with The Washington Times' editorials, but I must take exception to "Accident or crime?" (Editorial, June 11).

It certainly seems that Kevin C. Kelly is a good father and husband who made a tragic mistake. But to exonerate him from responsibility in the death of his daughter seems wrong. I am not a parent, so it is easy for me to criticize. I cannot, however, imagine losing track of a 19-month-old for seven minutes let alone seven hours. Someone has to take responsibility.

Maybe a manslaughter charge is too harsh, but some sort of negligence charge ought to be filed. While I commiserate with the Kelly family, conservatives believe in assigning responsibility for misbehavior, intentional or not.


Glen Burnie, Md.

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