- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 23, 2002

End embargo of Cuba

President Bush's decision that the trade embargo of Cuba will be lifted only if certain "conditions" are met ignores certain important facts ("Bush will stick to bans on trade, travel in Cuba," May 21).

First, the American trade embargo is arguably a form of economic "terrorism" that has not only strengthened Fidel Castro's grip on Cuban society, but impoverished that nation's people in the process (much like the ongoing sanctions against Iraq have cemented Saddam Hussein's stranglehold on Iraqi society). Almost all of the rest of the civilized world, including Canada, has called for an end to this silly embargo for decades. So what's the hold up, America? The Cold War is over.

Furthermore, while Mr. Castro is certainly a dictator, he is far more concerned for the general well-being of his people than many dictatorships or oligarchies (past or present) that the U.S. government has backed. One only has to look at Indonesia, Chile, China, the Philippines, Iraq (in the 1980s), and virtually every country in Latin America (at one time or another), to know that the U.S. government has supported regimes far more brutal and repressive to the average citizen than Mr. Castro.

Finally, if the call for "free and open" elections is heeded by Mr. Castro, will Mr. Bush also ensure that the next U.S. election is free of the overwhelming influence of big money and major corporations, such as Enron, which virtually bought and paid for Mr. Bush's election?


M. JAEGER

Brantford, Ontario

Real hope, real solution against jihad

Congratulations to Op-Ed contributor Sol Schindler for some much-needed common sense on the jihad issue in his May 21 "Decline of Islamic extremism," a review of Giles Kepel's book "Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam.".

Muslim terrorists cannot sustain their efforts for long. The next generation of Muslims will be more likely to reject such nonsense if they don't reject it sooner. We surely will take some more hits, but we need only to maintain moral and spiritual clarity and keep our cool.

Mr. Schindler is missing the boat, however, when he says that "democracy" is the hope and the solution. If he means self-determination at the polls, that is only a small part of the solution

Many Muslims' dislike for the West rests on the accurate perception that the West is foundering in moral and spiritual chaos. The social revolution of the 1960s announced that, having shirked our nasty and oppressive moral restraints, we would do whatever we jolly well pleased. For the most part, we are still behaving as if this were true.

We have come to the point where "democracy" today almost universally means a "secular" regime. Secularism has problems, however, not the least of which is its lack of any foundation for making moral judgments. Such a foundation can be found only in the will of God. If there is no Creator, there is no moral law. Without God, democracy has no moral foundation.

Our Founding Fathers, who understood political freedom better than any group before or since, also understood that political freedom is a gift from God, not something that we can create and sustain on our own. They wrote in the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights "

No civil government can endow unalienable rights. Only God can. That is why we see democracies with secular, irreligious societies ceding more of their rights to the central government and sliding further into immorality.

This sort of democracy can offer no solutions to Muslim societies. Neither, unfortunately, can Western Christendom, which is so spiritually depleted and intellectually incompetent that it can contribute little to public dialogue it needs to have with Islam.

Times are changing, though, and God is raising up a new breed that will be prepared, spiritually and intellectually, to take part in this dialogue and reinvigorate our democracies with their faith. This is our real hope and the real solution.


EARLE FOX

Alexandria,Va.

Reinforced cockpit doors won't stop airborne terrorists from killing

Your editorial regarding Tuesday's Senate Commerce Committee hearing fails to point out one very serious flaw in the arguments made by Transportation Undersecretary John Magaw against arming commercial airline pilots ("In harm's way," May 22).

Any terrorist armed with a box cutter, a knife or any other sharp object can possibly breach a reinforced cockpit door. All he must do is yell through the door that he will commence executing women and children unless the pilot opens the door. The piercing cries of children being murdered viciously one after another and the cries of passengers forced to witness such atrocities surely would drive any pilot flying at 35,000 feet to consider opening the door.

The simple truth is that, one way or another, animals such as the 19 terrorists of September 11 will kill every innocent person on that plane, either one at a time or all at once. The only solution is to arm pilots. It is that simple.


PHILIP J. EVELAND

Baltimore


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