- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 8, 2002

Insulting the commander-in-chief

The June 6 article about Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Butler libeling President Bush regarding the September 11 terrorist attacks shows how low the nation has fallen with respect to its attitudes toward our leaders ("Colonel suspended for Bush letter").

My father fought in Korea under a president for whom he had not voted, but as a captain in the Marine Corps, he never would have disrespected his commander in chief the way Col. Butler did Mr. Bush. We must demand the highest standards from our officers, who by the Military Code of Conduct cannot publicly deride their civilian bosses. By charging in print that Mr. Bush allowed September 11 to happen in order to boost his personal ratings, Col. Butler stepped over the line, to put it mildly.

Perhaps if he is stripped of his generous retirement benefits and spends a year in the military prison at Leavenworth, that will send a message to others that honor, before all else, is still expected of our men and women in uniform.


MICHAEL P. NESTER

Clifton

Kyoto, EPA and Whitman blow hot air

The sudden release of the Environmental Protection Agency's "U.S. Climate Action Report 2002" caught the Bush administration off guard and revealed gaping holes in the White House's management of global-warming policy ("Batty policy on climate change," Editorial, June 5).

Relying on a discredited Clinton-era report, "National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change," for many of their most alarming projections, the career EPA officials who drafted it produced the kind of report one would expect from an agency with a long history of manipulating science and data to serve its regulatory ends. Even though the EPA document was "under review" at the White House and other federal agencies for several months, those signing off on the report let stand certain passages that were scientifically dubious and clearly at odds with administration policy. As was predictable, environmentalists and much of the media seized on the projections of disappearing Rocky Mountain meadows and stifling heat waves to attack the administration for not doing enough on global warming.

Although few in number, the offending passages are devastating in effect. Supporters of the Kyoto Protocol have included provisions in the Senate energy bill (Sections X and XI) that create a Kyoto-style regulatory structure for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They will gleefully cite the EPA report as "further evidence" that human activities are warming the planet. President Bush is right in blaming the "bureaucracy" for the flawed EPA document, but unless his administration tightens the reins on that bureaucracy, the next embarrassment is only a leak away.


BONNER R. COHEN

Senior fellow

Lexington Institute

Arlington



Few people doubt that the Earth is experiencing a warming trend. The debate concerning global warming is whether this trend is being caused by humans and, if so, what the potential impacts are and what we can do to avoid or mitigate negative impacts. The EPA, quite likely without consulting President Bush, issued a report that implied that those three questions have been answered ("Bush pans Kyoto as Japan OKs pact," June 5). Nothing could be further from the truth. The cause, potential impacts and appropriate responses to global warming are still very much in debate among scientists.

Regardless of whether human activities are causing climate change, the Kyoto Protocol will do nothing to prevent it because it is focused on the short term. Global warming and any viable actions to reduce its potential negative impacts can take place only over the long term.

Carbon dioxide has a relatively long life in the atmosphere, and emissions are likely to rise for the next decade or two. So if carbon dioxide emissions are the driving force behind climate change, the levels of carbon dioxide may already be on an irreversible path to unacceptable damage. Accordingly, as the Bush administration has maintained consistently, rather than spending precious time and resources slowing the rise in greenhouse gas emissions which may or may not mitigate climate change we should prepare for a warmer world, with all of its variable effects, regardless of the cause.


H. STERLING BURNETT


Senior fellow

National Center for Policy Analysis

Dallas




Since President Bush was elected, he has made clear his opposition to the United Nation's Kyoto Protocol. The EPA's recent "Climate Action Report 2002" was a purposeful betrayal of his position. As the EPA's administrator, Christi Todd Whitman is to blame.

Based on her past statements, however, this comes as a surprise. In her confirmation testimony before the Senate, she stated that "environmental and economic goals go hand in hand" and that she would continue her "record of working to forge strong partnerships among citizens, government and business to produce measurable environmental results." If these statements were sincere, her decision to release the EPA report has broken her pledge. As Mr. Bush has argued, environmental and economic goals cannot be achieved jointly through Kyoto's draconian provisions.

It is wrong for a federal agency to support policies that contradict the president, who supposedly heads the federal government. Yet Mrs. Whitman has failed to support the president, and not only on Kyoto. She backs tough new restrictions on diesel-powered buses and trucks that were imposed by her predecessor, Carol Browner, and she has continued Al Gore's "smart growth" regulations to block land development.

In 1994, President Clinton fired Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, citing differences in opinion on government policy. Mr. Bush might consider similar action against Mrs. Whitman and other EPA officials.


TYLER DUNMAN

Highlands, Texas

Medicinal marijuana is up in smoke

Yesterday's article "Hill protests target marijuana, oil policies" may have left readers unclear as to why 10 of my associates chose to be arrested protesting at the Justice Department. As the arrestee pictured alongside your article, allow me to explain.

Since last October, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration repeatedly has raided medical marijuana distribution centers operating legally under California law. Those centers worked in close cooperation with local public health and law enforcement officials, but the raids have continued despite vehement objections from those officials odd for an administration that claims it wants a smaller federal government and respects states' rights.

The real victims of these raids are patients with cancer, AIDS and other terminal illnesses. In a June 3 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dr. Mitchell Katz, San Francisco's director of public health, wrote, "These [DEA] actions have resulted in 4,000 persons with chronic illness left without access to critical treatment upon which they rely."

At the protest, I carried a photo of my friend Mary Lucey, a woman with AIDS. To stay alive, Mary must take dozens of pills a day a harsh, toxic regimen that she is able to tolerate only with the use of medical marijuana. Without it, she literally would be dead, but the DEA has cut off her safe, quality-controlled supply.

As long as our government chooses to torture the sick, those of us who are healthy have an obligation to stand up for them.


BRUCE MIRKEN

Director of communications

Marijuana Policy Project

Washington


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