- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Who was 'cleansing' who in Kosovo?

The story about Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova testifying against former Yugoslav President Milosevic at the Hague would be laughable if it were not so tragic ("Kosovar leader accuses Milosevic," World, May 4). Mr. Rugova charged that Mr. Milosevic was guilty of ethnic cleansing, that he drove Albanians out of Kosovo.

If Mr. Rugova is right, how does he explain the doubling of the Albanian population in Kosovo during the decades of communist rule?

Or, in just 30 years of communist rule from 1961 to 1991 the percentage of Albanians in Kosovo grew from 67.1 to 81.6 while the percentage of Serbs fell from 27.4 to 11.0.

Who was cleansing who?


ALEX N. DRAGNICH

Nashville

Church plans dismissal of all priests who pose threat to minors

Kathleen Parker's Commentary column on the sexual abuse scandal involving Catholic clergy exhibits the common willingness of people to condemn the Roman Catholic Church without bothering to understand facts ("Sex, drugs, behavior and moral authority," May 6).

If Mrs. Parker or anyone else wants to know what the church is doing to address the problem, he or she should start by reading the cardinals' final communique from the Rome summit.

Contrary to what Mrs. Parker and others say, the cardinals did not limit their focus to those priests who are "notorious" and "serial" abusers. Rather, the communique singles them out for a special process for dismissal from the clerical state. The communique also calls for a special process for any priest who poses a threat to young people. These two processes will go above and beyond existing canon-law provisions for dismissing a priest who is guilty of sexually abusing minors.

Maybe the next time Mrs. Parker feels the urge to vent, she will first take five minutes to read the document about which she is complaining.


JULIE WILSON

Silver Spring

Musharraf, reformer and ally

The alacrity with which letter writers Mervyn M. Dymally and Cameron Hudson unjustly indicted your well-balanced April 29 editorial "The Musharraf referendum" is amusing as well as intriguing ("Musharraf, dictator," May 1). The reality is that when Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf took over on Oct. 12, 1999, the entire nation heaved a big sigh of relief. Having been disillusioned with successive foregoing elected governments, the majority of Pakistanis saw Gen. Musharraf's takeover as a sign of hope and deliverance.

Since taking power, Gen. Musharraf has begun a number of development projects and reforms. The most important reform addresses a basic flaw in the system of governance. Democratic order, whenever it has existed in Pakistan, has been manifest as a federal system under a parliamentary form of government. However, the elected rulers governed the country with the help of a coercive, monolithic administrative system that was a colonial relic. The heads of microadministrative units were members of the federal civil service and, thus, under full control of the federal government. This formidable power structure was not only susceptible to abuse, but contradicted the principle of federalism. In a far-reaching reform, this system has been replaced by the locally elected heads of administrative units throughout the country (elected county governments, United States style).

This crucial reform deprives the governments, elected or otherwise, of a potential instrument of abuse and corruption hence the opposition from the traditional power structures. This new, more participatory political process mobilized the masses in favor of Gen. Musharraf, as the referendum results demonstrate. The allegations of rigging are obviously unfounded, the results of ulterior motivations.

Finally, as you suggest, only Gen. Musharraf could have had the vision and the courage to make the wise and bold decision, in the wake of September 11, to align with the war against terrorism. Your editorial articulated the sentiments of the patriotic Pakistani majority.


F.R.M. ARIF

Germantown

Reality is only obstacle for NMD

In his May 7 Commentary column "Missile defense micromanagers," Frank Gaffney attacks Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin with a virulence that is so out of touch with reality that it needs no rebuttal. Defense and national security policy-makers and experts know Mr. Levin to be cautious and judicious, a bipartisan centrist as well as a patriot.

But some perspective about the missile defense debate may be in order. Hysterical sideliners such as Mr. Gaffney have for years blamed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the liberals for the continual setbacks, delays and problems with missile defense.

Now that President Bush is withdrawing the United States from the ABM Treaty and right-wing commentators are losing one of their favorite scapegoats, technical, engineering and budgetary shortcomings are being exposed. For example, the day after Mr. Bush announced the ABM Treaty withdrawal in December, the Defense Department canceled the Navy Area Theater program due to persistent cost and schedule overruns. How's that for bumping up against the constraints of the treaty?

No one is stopping the Bush administration from deploying missile defenses except the realities of technology, engineering and physics. New weapons systems take a long time to develop. Most missile-defense programs will not be anywhere near ready for deployment during this administration's tenure and likely not even within the decade.

Moreover, the missile-defense program designed to handle long-range threats that is farthest along is in fact the former national missile defense system pursued by President Clinton. According to Missile Defense Act timelines and recent analysis, even that system is unlikely to be fully deployed by 2008.


CHRIS MADISON


Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

Washington

Director, Missile Defense Project




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