- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 27, 2002

A look at some anti-land-mine 'zealots'

As president of the organization that co-founded the global movement to ban land mines and the person who launched the current anti-land-mine advertising campaign, I was puzzled by Ernest Lefever's breathless screed on the land-mine issue ("Land mine myopia," Op-Ed, March 15). Mr. Lefever paints with a broad brush: Those who want to ban land mines, he says, are shortsighted "zealots" who do not understand history, let alone U.S. military requirements.
Mr. Lefever should know that the list of "zealots" who favor a land-mine ban is very long. It includes former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff David C. Jones (that radical), retired Gen. Hal Moore (whom, I would guess from his depiction in the recent movie "We Were Soldiers," knows something of history) and retired Gen. James Hollingsworth (the naive and misinformed military officer who designed our Korea defenses). How could these well-meaning and well-informed men be so misled?
I served as a Marine infantry officer in Vietnam, where I was badly wounded. I head an organization that has been working with (not against) the military to mothball these obsolete weapons. I searched in vain for Mr. Lefever's qualifications to take on the land-mine issue and came up empty-handed.
I have to give Mr. Lefever his due, however: He is quite correct in pointing out that the United States has been working inside other international treaties to regulate the weapon. So how with thousands of casualties from land mines every year is that working out?
President Bush has a historic opportunity to assert his role as commander in chief and make a decision on this important military policy, something his predecessor did not have the confidence or stature to do.

ROBERT O. MULLER
President
Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation
Washington

Renegade Senate

Nat Hentoff, in his March 25 Op-Ed column "Senator Leahy's personal Constitution," wonders when Sen. Arlen Specter and others will urge the Senate to change its rule and abide by Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. If he would read Senate Rule XXXI, however, he would know that the question he should ask is: When is the Senate going to follow its own rule?
Senate Rule XXXI states: "When the nominations shall be made by the President of the United States to the Senate, they shall, unless otherwise ordered, be referred to appropriate committees; and the final question on every nomination shall be, 'Will the Senate advise and consent to this nomination?'"
The Senate, not the Senate Judiciary Committee, will advise and consent to the nomination. The Senate rule follows the Constitution; the problem is that the Senate follows neither.

DAVID K. KYLE
Pasadena, Md.

Ecoterrorist temper tantrum

Unable to compete in the marketplace of ideas, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) are resorting to violence to impose their will on others ("Law catches up to ecoterror," Special Report, March 24). ALF and ELF are, evidently, not confident enough in the power of their ideas to debate them publicly.
Rather than openly espouse their views and lay out their vision of the future for all to see and evaluate, ALF and ELF hide in the shadows and destroy things. They are like spoiled children who never grew up: They just cannot accept it when they don't get their way.
While both ALF and ELF claim their destructive activities harm only the businesses they target, that is not entirely true. We all pay the price in the form of higher prices on goods and services and in higher insurance premiums. All consumers make up for the losses suffered at the hands of ecoterrorists.
We must also breathe the smoke from the fires they light. And we all suffer while laboratories working on agricultural advances and medical miracles struggle to replace or reproduce the results of groundbreaking experiments lost to ecoterror.

JAMES TERPENING
Washington

Steel tariffs cost Americans

Your March 26 editorial, "Free-trade flip flops," criticizes President Bush for not doing enough to "distinguish himself from the Democrats who put special-interests above the principles of free trade."
You cite the president's "hedging" on free trade while visiting Latin America this week. You might also have cited his recently announced tax increase, which many economists estimate will cost the average household hundreds of dollars a year and lead to a net loss of jobs. Mr. Bush's decision to impose an 8 percent to 30 percent tax on many steel imports had to be a discouraging sign to his hosts south of the border. But, of course, the special interests in the key electoral states of Pennsylvania and Ohio got the right message.

RAY WRABLEY
Johnstown, Pa.


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