- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 29, 2002

Feedback on the Pledge ruling

The Pledge of Allegiance fracas provides Congress with a golden opportunity ("Pledge of Allegiance ruled unconstitutional," Page One, Thursday).

Congress can quell the controversy, reform the radical 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and end the Senate Judiciary Committee's logjam of President Bush's judicial nominations if it disbanded the appeals court, then re-established it with all its seats vacant. Congress has the power to do so under Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution.

It would instantly put Circuit Judge Alfred T. Goodwin and Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt out of power. It would provide the public with a sense of rough justice meted out to the black-robed nincompoops who've been messing with the lives of the "unwashed masses" for far too long.

Improbable, maybe, but it would work.


North Ridgeville, Ohio

Is it safe to assume that Michael A. Newdow the self-described atheist who brought the case claiming the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals "on behalf of his daughter" is so totally committed to his cause that he refuses to accept or distribute U.S. currency?

After all, how could he possibly claim that it so offends him to have his daughter hear those horrible words while he has probably handed her a few dollar bills emblazoned with the phrase "In God We Trust" to go out and buy a coloring book or candy? How could he live with himself?

The answer is obvious: Like many a man and woman before him who have won subversive court cases, Mr. Newdow is just another self-righteous hypocrite with an agenda looking to rock the boat. I would like to suggest that his future legal clients pay his fees with pesos, euros, even cows and goats so as not to offend him.


Falls Church

Congress has started every day with a prayer before, during and after adoption of the First Amendment. On oral argument days, the U.S. Supreme Court starts its day mentioning God. So if two branches of the federal government can start their days referencing God, why cannot children recite the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools?



The recent legal rulings and controversies involving U.S. public schools highlight a basic point. Would we have to be concerned about school vouchers, references to God in the Pledge of Allegiance or the religious content of Columbine High School's memorial were the huge majority of the nation's schools not controlled by the government? Rather than separation of church and state, shouldn't we really be seriously considering separation of school and state?



Crowning an intelligence czar would be a dumb move

I was taken aback after reading "Pentagon wants intelligence czar" (Page 1, Wednesday) because the United States already has one: the director of Central Intelligence (DCI), whose position and authority as head of the 13-member Intelligence Community (IC) is often unremarked and forgotten in media coverage.

This awesome responsibility seems to be overshadowed by the DCI's other role as director of the CIA. Therefore, the DCI manages the CIA in addition to serving as head of the Intelligence Community. The CIA is responsible to the president through the DCI and accountable to the American people through Congress' intelligence oversight committees.

As far as the Defense Department is concerned, all aspects of military intelligence are consolidated under the aegis of the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). The DIA was established in 1961 to eliminate duplication of effort in the military services' independent intelligence operations and to provide a single point of management. The DIA director is a three-star military officer who serves as principal adviser and reports directly to both the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The DIA director also chairs the Military Intelligence Board, which coordinates activities of the defense intelligence community, most of whom are also IC members. As far as military intelligence is concerned, this DIA director is as czarlike as it gets.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), in addition to the deputy secretary of defense, has four undersecretaries of defense (comptroller; acquisition, technology and logistics; personnel and readiness; and policy). The OSD bureaucracy is further augmented by six directors, three assistant secretaries (one of whom has intelligence oversight responsibilities (ASD/C3I) and one assistant to the secretary for, of all things, intelligence oversight.

With all this management overhead, does the Pentagon need an intelligence "czar," too? To be quite honest, adding an intelligence czar will do little more than create one additional step in the already complex and intricate intelligence coordination process. In its zeal to gain another undersecretary slot, the Pentagon fails to state what this undersecretary will do for us that the director of the DIA has (or does) not.

I do not mean to imply that there are no areas in which intelligence collection, analysis, dissemination and operations cannot be improved. I do not pretend that the evolving nature of multiple threats to U.S. security do not require retooling and tweaking the IC response to fit each threat. But an intelligence czar? The wholesale restructuring of the IC and the concomitant upheaval that would result from inevitable turf, budget and congressional battles over vested interests would do more to harm the IC than help it. If our goal is to provide accurate, timely and actionable intelligence to field combat units, and not expanding bureaucratic empires, then we need to refine our existing relationships to accomplish those objectives.


Stafford, Va.

Columnist sailed up the wrong fjord

Columnist Suzanne Fields suggests that anti-Semitism is prevalent in Norway and writes that Norway's Parliament is home to "descendants of the Waffen SS" ("The multiple faces of anti-Semitism," Op-Ed, Monday). Her incendiary rhetoric about Norway, one of the United States' staunchest allies in the fight against Nazi Germany, is baseless.

First to the facts: While it is true that some in Norway have called for the labeling of Israeli import goods in order that customers boycott them, allow me to make it clear that Norwegian importers have not agreed to this and neither has the government. It is true that the Progress Party holds 25 (of 165) seats in Parliament, but to label it "Quisling's party" (after Vidkun Quisling, the prime minister during the 1941-45 German occupation) is rather ironic in light of the fact that the Progress Party leader, Carl I. Hagen, is a prominent member of an Israeli support group in Norway.

It is true that some within Norway have criticized Israeli policies and voiced their support of the Palestinians. However, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the citizens of a country so identified with trying to bridge the gap between Israelis and Palestinians would express deep concern for the well-being of both peoples. Nor should it surprise anyone that strong passions and a wide variety of views are part of the public debate as can be expected in a free and democratic society such as Norway's. To frame the debate as anti-Semitic and to conjure links between today's Norway and Vidkun Quisling's abhorrent puppet regime, which was forced on the country during Nazi occupation, is both shocking and deeply insulting to the Norwegian people.

With great sadness we have watched the breakdown of the Oslo peace process and the escalating violence in the Middle East. The Norwegian government has been loud and clear in its condemnation of the suicide attacks and unwavering in its commitment to find a solution that will enable Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace.

The situation today cries out for international cooperation rather than criticism. The strong Norwegian commitment to peace in the Middle East will remain. Neither protesters in Norway nor Mrs. Fields can change that.


Ambassador of Norway


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