- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Remember the Monroe Doctrine

As an American who believes this country is engaged in foreign entanglements beyond the wildest nightmares of our Founding Fathers (e.g., sundry "peacekeeping" missions), I especially deplore the Bush administration's groveling for immunity at the International Criminal Court ("U.S. to request immunity for peacekeepers," National, yesterday).

The United States has not relinquished its sovereignty to the ICC and hopefully never will. However, in imploring the ICC not to prosecute U.S. soldiers, President Bush might consider referring to one of his predecessors for advice. In an address to Congress on Dec. 23, 1823, President James Monroe laid out what would be called the Monroe Doctrine, which protects the nations of this hemisphere from foreign interference, namely "colonization by any European power."

Based on the Monroe Doctrine, therefore, The Hague-based ICC which essentially is a European power has no right to prosecute American soldiers. So what is the point in groveling?


ROSALIND ELLIS

Baltimore

;Israeli discrimination is a precondition of security

To the protagonists of yesterday's article "Israel blocks visit by Muslim group" (World): Like, hello, what did you expect? Perhaps there was something a little wacky in your hookah?


LARRY STONE

Peyton, Colo.




If this past weekend was the first time the Rev. Olin Knudsen a member of the American Muslim and Christian delegation denied entry into Israel learned "what it feels like to be discriminated against," he is both one lucky and unlucky son-of-a-gun. Most of us have been discriminated against throughout our lives because of our religion, color, body size, nationality, smoker status, educational background (or lack of one), accent, et cetera. While this merely reflects the imperfect way of the world, the wiser of us learn a lot about life through acts of discrimination.

If only this were so for the Rev. Knudsen. One lesson he could have learned from his detention is that in Israel discrimination is a precondition of security. He might think he had a right to be admitted to Israel, but Israel had more of a right to deny the delegation entry. Israel is a sovereign state with the right to choose who crosses its borders and what methods are used to keep out potentially undesirable elements. Like an individual, a country should be able to discriminate against anyone who may do it harm.


MILDRED M. FISCHER

Fredericksburg , Va.

The alternatives make the case for arming pilots

The best description of the May 19 letter "An armed pilot is an unsafe pilot" is one word: irresponsible.

The pilot in command is responsible for those in his charge, and he should want any and all methods available to discharge that responsibility. As evidenced by the overall destruction of September 11, a lot more is at stake than the lives of those on the hijacked aircraft.

Had pilots been armed on September 11, the hijackers would have needed weapons a bit larger and more dangerous (hence, difficult to sneak through security) than box cutters to pull off their coordinated four-plane operation.

We no longer are living in a world with rational rules of warfare, so we must be prepared to think the unthinkable. As an armed plane commander, I could be faced with shooting a passenger in order to shoot the hijacker behind him. Consider, though, the unarmed pilot sitting in a secure cockpit while hijackers slit passengers' throats one by one.

Another option still unaddressed is what a pilot may do when he realizes a hijacking is occurring. May I suggest he immediately hit the "fasten seat belt" light and begin a series of fancy airborne acrobatics: high degrees off bank, negative and positive G-forces. These would be very disruptive to hijackers. Passengers who do not fasten their seat belts in time likely would be jostled around, but so would the hijackers. In short, this would be a good trade-off to some alternatives, mainly doing nothing.

With things so bad that we are prepared to shoot down airliners loaded with passengers, we need to employ all means in our power to ensure that the situation does not deteriorate to that point.


CAPT. JOHN R. ILER

U.S. Navy (retired)

Arlington, Va.

Blinded by defeat

Some people never cease to amaze me with their insolence and inability to see life as it really exists. An example may be found in yesterday's front-page article "America shocks the World Cup," which quotes a Mexican soccer fan, Jose Luis Luviano, as saying: "[The Mexican teams defeat] hurts us here. There has to be an end to this disgrace where [Americans] treat us like rats and idiots."

Disgrace and ill treatment of Mexicans? Really, Mr. Luviano. First, this was a game World Cup soccer where teams win and teams lose. Second, it is a stretch to call the United States not just the team, but the whole country disgraceful and abusive, in this case for chanting "adios, amigos" after the victory.

Contrast this with what happened four years ago when thousands of Mexican soccer fans came to Los Angeles to watch the United States play Mexico. Not only did the United States lose, but Mr. Luviano's countrymen including some living here had the insolence to boo our flag when it was carried onto the playing field. Our flag and team also were pelted with garbage.

Unfortunately, Mr. Luviano's characterization of Americans off the field is also absurd. Mexico sends millions of illegal aliens into this country every year. Many refuse to speak English and insist that they be accommodated with taxpayer-funded public services and by having every document translated into Spanish. They are amply rewarded.

Whatever one may say about America, we are nice, probably too nice, to 'rats' and 'idiots.'


RON NORDYKE

Tustin, Calif.

Environmentalists love trees, not Bush

I am one of those conservatives upset that the Bush administration may be courting votes among radical environmental groups and their sympathizers to win re-election in 2004 ("Conservatives upset by environment part of faith-based bill," National, yesterday). Someone needs to remind President Bush that Al Gore lost the last time around with nearly 100 percent of the environmentalists in his camp.

It seems these groups already have taken control of the administration's energy and environmental risk initiatives. As if that were not enough, the administration wants to make it easier for them to control more of America's land. Yet providing discounts on capital gains taxes for private property owners who sell their land to environmental groups would be tantamount to political suicide.

These tax discounts likely will harm consumers of natural resources by raising prices on many natural products. If environmental groups get a stranglehold on land, expect them to forbid farming, logging, drilling and other activities that might benefit consumers.

Mr. Bush needs to remember who elected him if he wants their support in 2004. I doubt that any of the environmental groups that would benefit from the land-sales initiative would even consider supporting him in return. Continuing to pander to such groups on global warming, energy issues and land discounts could send the president back to a Greenpeace-controlled ranch in Crawford, Texas.

As the saying goes, it's always better to "dance with the one that brought you."


TYLER DUNMAN

Highlands, Texas

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