- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 11, 2002

Saudi Arabia doesn't reward terrorism

The May 8 story "Adviser: Bombers' families get money" is not an accurate reflection of the news conference held at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia on May 7. You report that there was an admission made to the effect that Saudi Arabia "provides money to families of Palestinian suicide bombers ." These words are distorted and do not resemble what was said or what is true and accurate.

The claim that Saudi Arabia supports the violence of suicide bombers or their families is totally false. I stated unequivocally that Saudi Arabia does not provide financial support to suicide bombers or their families. I explained that the aid and assistance offered to the Palestinians by the people of Saudi Arabia is money to restock hospitals that have no medicines, rebuild schools, restore electricity and telephone lines, and put food on the tables of families that don't have it. We are proud of that support and join with other nations, including the United States, which are providing relief efforts through the same humanitarian channels as Saudi Arabia.

Your claim that such actions are tantamount to supporting suicide bombers is a great stretch of the truth. By this definition, American humanitarian aid to the people of Palestine would also be considered providing money to suicide bombers. Is this what you are trying to say?

The taking of innocent life is a violation of the principles of Islam. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia condemns all forms of terrorism regardless of where they occur and the reasons behind them.

Saudi Arabia does not support or contribute to terrorism. We never have, and we never will.


ADEL AL-JUBEIR

Foreign policy adviser to Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

For Founders, 'militia' meant all Americans

I am surprised that you did not argue in your May 10 editorial, "The individual right to bear arms," that the militia, in the minds of those who wrote the Second Amendment, potentially includes all Americans.

Each citizen, or at least every able-bodied male of military age, is expected to be prepared to answer the call to defend the community. It is on this basis that we as citizens claim the right to use lethal force to defend ourselves against those who intrude in our homes.

The words "well-regulated" refer to the kinds of laws that the Justice Department endorses in your article that felons and lunatics are deemed unfit for gun ownership, that machine guns are not acceptable and so forth.

This interpretation has a strong legal and historical foundation.


W. DUPREE MOORE

Mineral Bluff, Ga.

Higher standards for NMD

As a taxpayer, concerned citizen and weapons acquisition executive in the Defense Department, I object to Commentary columnist Frank Gaffney's highly irresponsible criticism of Sen. Carl Levin's attempt to hold America's national missile defense (NMD) program to the same stringent standards regarding cost, delivery schedule and performance that we demand of other weapons programs ("Missile defense micromanagers," May 7).

Indeed, concerned citizens want accountability and are not being "disingenuous," as Mr. Gaffney suggests, when they seek to know whether "there is not much to show for the money spent on missile defense, that the technology is not ready to deploy, [and] that the costs and risks of doing so are too great."

Surely Mr. Gaffney's ideological fixation with deploying NMD does not extend to purchasing and deploying anything and everything that merely carries the name. Or does it?


WALTER C. UHLER

Philadelphia



Walter C. Uhler is a chief of operations in the Defense Contract Management Agency. His views are personal and not the official views of his agency.

Misreading Lincoln

In his judicious review of Thomas DiLorenzo's assault on Abraham Lincoln, Mackubin Thomas Owens makes one crucial error: He attempts to identify the best example of Mr. DiLorenzo "pulling a fast one" with history, logic and interpretation ("Real Lincoln not found in book," Civil War, May 4).

Actually, the book is so filled with errors great and small that picking the "best" one is impossible. It's better, and more fun, to pick our individual favorites. I have two.

First, Mr. DiLorenzo gleefully quotes Lincoln "mocking the Declaration [of Independence]." If one reads the speech from which this quote is taken, one finds that the passage is actually Lincoln quoting a pro-slavery Virginia clergyman, whom he then skewers for mocking the declaration. That one captures the spirit of the book. Mr. DiLorenzo has since blamed a secondary source from which he copied the quotation for this error. You would think that a scholar giving us "The Real Lincoln" would read for himself the speech in which Lincoln "mocks the Declaration."

The factual mendacity of the book's thesis, however, is better illustrated by Mr. DiLorenzo's attempt to prove that between 1854 and 1860, when Lincoln helped found the Republican Party and rose to the presidency, he was not principally motivated by the danger posed to free political institutions by an expansionist slave power but by his "corrupt Whig economic agenda." Mr. DiLorenzo's primary evidence for this amazing thesis is his claim that: "In virtually every one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln made it a point to champion the nationalization of money and to demonize Jackson and the Democrats for their opposition to it."

This is not a claim likely to be made by a scholar (or a high school student) who has actually studied the famous debates. Lincoln expressed not the slightest sentiment or opinion on "the nationalization of money," or any related subject, in any of the debates. Indeed, it would take a better detective than I to find Lincoln offering an opinion on these subjects at any time between 1854 and 1860.

Reading Lincoln bashers on their own turf is like reading Palestinian textbooks on Israeli history. Mr. Owens has done us a service in summarizing well the weird pathology of "The Real Lincoln." Seeing is believing, however, and I recommend Mr. DiLorenzo's book to all serious students of Lincoln but be sure to do what the author did not read the original sources.


DAVID QUACKENBUSH

Oak View, Calif.


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