- The Washington Times - Monday, November 11, 2002

French caricature crossed the line

Your choice of the cartoon by Mike Shelton of the Orange County Register is appalling (Editorial, Saturday). Provocative views are one thing, but uneducated ridicule and falsifications, even in such a freewheeling form, is a shameful waste of editorial space. Not only does Mr. Shelton lack even the faintest grasp of French history, but your selection of his work demonstrates your paper's own ignorance, and its willingness to abide the witless derision of America's oldest ally.
There is an irrational and largely baseless anti-French atmosphere reflected in the press that I fail to understand. Democracies have a right, and at times an obligation, to disagree on policies and issues. Franco-American differences do not begin to justify the current level of national virulence directed at France. From the inception of the United States, France has steadfastly remained at her side, most recently during the Gulf War and in Afghanistan. There is no nation in the world that shares the values and guiding principles of the United States more profoundly than France. The French even parallel our excesses of political correctness.
Suggesting that France can be portrayed as a military loser is a contemptible assertion. France sustained a level of human losses in the 20th century incomprehensible by American standards, which came perilously close to destroying the nation. France suffered the brunt of World War I. Of a population of 38 million, France lost almost 1.4 million, virtually an entire generation of men (compared to say, 117,000 American dead). The impact of these losses accounted for France's inability to withstand the German blitzkrieg less than 25 years later. The much maligned Charles de Gaulle was one of the great military geniuses of the century, having written the book which became the blueprint for the mechanized warfare successfully employed by the Germans. De Gaulle's single armored division, overwhelmingly outnumbered, virtually halted the German advance by days.
Your editorial staff needs to choose cartoonists for their ability to probe intelligently and to grasp essential facts, rather than a dubious capacity to generate cheap laughs through scurrilous misrepresentations. While the French are no more saintly then are we, they deserve far more incisive and perhaps more accurately placed humor than Mr. Shelton can conjure.

FRANK K. VITA
Bethesda

With humanitarians like these …

Friday's "Inside the Beltway" column contained an item about Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, awarding singer Emmylou Harris the Patrick J. Leahy Humanitarian Award for her work in helping land-mine survivors.
I'm delighted that Miss Harris is doing good work helping those injured by land mines, but I wish she were getting an award from a true humanitarian. For example, Mr. Leahy promotes funding for the U.N. Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), which, as Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute has proven, supports the communist Chinese population control program that includes coercive abortion.
On being presented with the proof by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell that it was against U.S. law to continue funding UNFPA, Mr. Leahy's reaction was to attempt to liberalize the law so the United States could fund coercive abortion. (Mr. Powell's report can be found at www.house.gov/maloney/issues/UNFPA/unfpadecision.pdf.)
Mr. Leahy must be very proud of himself to be giving awards in his own name, but there is no chance he himself will ever qualify for his own award.

WILLIAM LUKSIC
Rockville

EU leaders should drop prejudice and accept Turkey

The editorial "Germany: No Turkey in the EU" (Nov. 1) seems to have bought into some dubious waffling concerning German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's stand on Turkish membership in the European Union.
The editorial accepts his notion that Turkey lacks some cultural affinity with the European Union as sufficient basis for isolating a long-standing ally from the EU.
First, let's not kid ourselves that "cultural differences" is just a facade for more xenophobic objections. Turkey stood with Germany and the United States throughout the Cold War in the defense of Europe's freedom. No objections to incompatible "culture" were raised by Winston Churchill, Konrad Adenauer or Charles de Gaulle when Turkey was accepted into NATO, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Mr. Fischer contemptuously likened Turkey's EU candidacy to the prospect of integrating Central American countries into the United States. In fact, the European Union has already endorsed several large former Warsaw Pact nations whose American analogies would be Cuba and Nicaragua.
Turkey's problem with separatists should not preclude its candidacy any more than Basque and Irish Republican Army separatism would denigrate the democratic credentials of Spain and Great Britain. Spain has recently banned a Basque political party for supporting ETA's bombings, and Turkey maintains a similar posture against militants. Europe and America should support Turkey's unity and development, not encourage violent movements that seek its division.
This issue will not go away with a rude rebuff. Turkey will continue to pursue its rights to membership because the European Union represents the driving force of trade and development in Europe.
Turkey simply cannot thrive and fulfill its maximum potential locked outside of the European Union its main source of foreign investment, leading destination of its exports and main source of imports. The United States is a vital strategic ally of Turkey, and Ankara will stand with America in defense matters, but aid from Washington cannot repair the economic damage that will be caused by ongoing isolation from the European Union.
EU leaders should quit the insincere equivocation, and move beyond cultural phobias and prejudices, to build a future based on common values that Turks overwhelmingly endorse.

BORA BARIMAN
Houston

Bad advice about condoms

According to an article in The Washington Times ("'Condom fatigue' on increase," Culture, et cetera, Friday), Barbara Huberman of Advocates for Youth cited studies purporting to show that if young people believe they should use condoms because they are effective, they are more likely to do so if they receive the support of their friends, community or parents.
Her advocacy is a physical and moral disaster for young people. Condoms are neither effective in preventing the multitude of sexually transmitted diseases currently in circulation, nor are they effective in preventing pregnancy. There are numerous studies showing that young people are even more inept at using contraception than adults, including studies by Planned Parenthood, an organization that enthusiastically promotes condoms to teens.
According to an April 2001 report by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (NCPTP), "Remaining abstinent is a tough challenge but using contraception carefully and consistently is an equally tall order, because most contraceptive methods require both motivation and a constancy of attention and action that are difficult for even married adults to maintain let alone teenagers."
The NCPTP also reported that more than 93 percent of teens said they want "a strong message from society that they should abstain from sex until they are at least out of high school."
No person of sound mind who cares anything about teens would tell them that having sex and using condoms will keep them healthy and make them better persons. Ms. Huberman should change the name of her organization to "Advocates for Youth Ruination."

JOHN NAUGHTON
Silver Spring

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