- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2002

'Axis of evil' speech adds momentum to Iranian freedom struggle

By far, the majority of Iranians have welcomed President Bush's State of the Union speech referring to and designating Iran's ruling regime as "evil." Long ago, the Iranian people's just resistance for freedom and democracy in Iran reached the same conclusion.

Over the years, Iran's ruling regime has promoted the notion that it can foster reform from within. The projection of such an illusion has only enabled the regime to stifle the momentum for genuine change in Iran.

Mr. Bush's designation, however, puts an end to this illusion. Iran's rulers, terrified of the consequences, once again have sent their lobbyists into action.

The American-Iranian Council, a pro-regime lobbying group, is sponsoring a gala at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington on March 13. Some from Congress, including Sen. Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have been invited to attend.

Past experience, however, indicates that only the Iranian regime benefits from such events.


POOYA AZADI

Kansas City, Kan.

Editorial misses target

It is crucial to keep straight the distinction between different missile-defense missions and the technology they require. Unfortunately, your editorial responding to my recent report adds to the confusion in the public debate ("Real-world missile defense," March 10).

You incorrectly state that testing the Navy Theater-Wide system against a full missile (rather than a warhead) was appropriate because the system is intended to intercept during boost phase. While work on sea-based boost-phase technology is beginning, the Light Exoatmospheric Projectile (LEAP) kill vehicle used in the Theater-Wide test is not designed to intercept during boost phase.

In addition, you fail to note that my report states twice, in fact that the test in question may be appropriate at such an early stage of research and development. My intent was to give a realistic assessment of what conclusions can and cannot be drawn from such a simplified test.

I grew up in Ohio, not far from Dayton, and as a boy loved reading about the Wright brothers. Their ingenuity changed the world. But if, based on their early tests, the Wright brothers had advocated spending billions of taxpayer dollars on a crash program to build a jet aircraft before the technology was proved, I certainly would have cautioned the public against it. That is my intent with missile defense.


DAVID WRIGHT

Senior staff scientist

Union of Concerned Scientists

Cambridge, Mass.

An 'F' for teaching schools

Maggie Gallagher's March 10 Commentary column, "Where have the teachers gone?" couldn't be more correct. Vast numbers of American students receive mediocre to poor teaching because we have allowed the teaching profession to obtain a near-monopoly on teacher training.

Mountains of evidence make it clear that having a teaching certificate that is, having earned an "education degree" from a college or university is neither necessary nor adequate to become a good teacher. One finds many excellent teachers in non-government schools where principals can hire whomever they think will do a good job. The reputation and finances of such schools will suffer if they employ bad teachers. Conversely, one finds many teachers with certificates who can't teach a lick and are barely more knowledgeable than their students.

Not only do many education schools waste students' time on courses that are, as Miss Gallagher writes, "boring and irrelevant," but they are also known for courses that preach the idea that schools should combat perceived socio-economic wrongs in society. In 2000, Penn State professor of education David W. Saxe conducted a study of schools in Colorado for that state's Council of Higher Education. His study characterized the content of a number of the schools' courses as "strident indoctrination." In other words, not only do many of these schools produce poor teachers, they also train teachers to think that they should use their classrooms for political purposes.

If we want better teaching, we need to give principals the freedom to make hiring decisions and hold them accountable.


GEORGE C. LEEF

Director, Center for Higher Education Policy

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

Washington

Ixnay on CAFE

Once again, Congress is considering one of the most foolish and dangerous proposals out there: raising the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) requirements.

Proponents of the 36-miles-per-gallon mandate proposed by Sens. John Kerry and John McCain would have everyone believe their legislation will reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. It will not. Our dependence on foreign oil has increased by 50 percent since the last time Congress adopted CAFE increases in the late 1970s.

What is really alarming is what CAFE will do.

The costs of CAFE are enormous. The auto industry estimates that the current proposal would cost 100,000 Americans their jobs.

The many small businesses that the Small Business Survival Committee represents are already paying nearly $3,000 more than they should for the pickups and sport utility vehicles they need for their businesses. The Kerry-McCain proposal would put the price of those vehicles way out reach for many small businesses.

Most alarming, however, is the serious safety risks that tighter CAFE mandates present to American motorists. According to USA Today, 46,000 Americans already have lost their lives as a result of the switch to smaller and less safe vehicles following the adoption of CAFE standards in the 1970s. The National Academy of Sciences likewise has found that CAFE causes 1,300 to 2,600 deaths a year.

Higher CAFE requirements would kill jobs, small businesses and people. Congress should be debating how to get rid of them instead of raising them.


DARRELL MCKIGNEY

President

Small Business Survival Committee

Washington


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