- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 13, 2002

Hyper disorder generates heated responses

It seems that Mona Charen was provided with some misinformation in writing her column "ADHD disinformation" (Commentary, Thursday).
She neglected to mention the many experts who do not agree that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has a biological basis. For instance, a 1998 conference of the world's leading experts on ADHD a conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health concluded that there is no data confirming it as a brain dysfunction.
ADHD is a disorder voted into existence by the American Psychiatric Association. Of course it and affiliated organizations are going to "recognize ADHD's validity," as they have a vested interest in treating it.
To say that a child has a mental illness because of bad behavior is appalling no matter how you look at it. To then "treat" that supposed illness with a drug with the same chemical classification as amphetamines goes beyond reason. The diagnostic criteria for ADHD are subjective and vague and leave so much room for anyone to fall under its umbrella that most people actually do. As a mother, I suppose that I, too, have a vested interest in it: to protect my child from unfounded diagnoses of mental illness and drugs with addictive properties. If that's a stance rooted in disinformation, so be it.

MICHELLE PALMER
Arlington



Mona Charen's missive to those who question the validity of ADHD is bent on dispelling myth, but it ignores some essential facts.
She rattles off the names of numerous authorities who have concluded that ADHD is a "real and measurable" disease. Meanwhile, other studies have shown that ADHD may be being overdiagnosed and overtreated in 36 states. DEA data for Virginia show that nearly one in six elementary and middle school students is being treated for ADHD.
While the Journal of the American Medical Association notes that the number of preschool children (ages 2 to 4) receiving stimulants such as Ritalin "rose drastically" in the 1990s, Ritalin's manufacturer warns that the drug "should not be used in children under 6 years of age, since safety and efficacy in this age group have not been established."

DON SOIFER
Executive vice president
Lexington Institute
Arlington

Education key to curbing militant Islam

In his column "Turning the Arab street to Main St." (Op-Ed, Wednesday), Steven Martinovich is off the mark about the dying out of militant Islam.
On one hand, militant Islam is, indeed, dying in Shi'ite Muslim Iran. Ironically, the ruling clerics caused that themselves by emphasizing modern education, even almost gender-free education. Another Shi'ite-dominated country, Iraq, also has a well-educated population. Not surprisingly, Iraq is not commonly identified with militant Islam.
In just about all of the Sunni Islamic countries, however, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan included, militant Islam is on the upswing. With an exploding population and a nondescript education system emphasizing Islamic history, unemployed youths are increasingly turning to militant Islam.
Iran and Iraq are proof that modern education, if emphasized, can make people shy away from militant Islam.

MOORTHY MUTHUSWAMY
Coram, N.Y.

An early Christmas for Brazil?

Well, seeing as the holidays are just around the corner, the characteristically warmhearted right wingers at The Washington Times decided to give Luiz Inacio da Silva (nickname "Lula") the probable left-of-center winner of Brazil's presidential elections an early holiday greeting ("Brazilians and Lula," Editorial, Sunday).
In the spirit of good holiday cheer, the editorialists greet Lula "the wild card" who "speaks the language of demagoguery" with a message of hope. "One must hope that Lula will deliberate carefully on his decisions," they kindly opine.
What would one do without such well-meaning advice from those who support "democracy" by way of business-led coup d'etats against popularly elected governments of wayward countries such as Venezuela?
Thus, in the spirit of good clean right-wing hysteria, I decided to write a cheerful little jingle for Lula in the name of our good brothers and sisters at The Washington Times. Feel free to sing along.
"You better watch out, You better not try, You better sell out, I'm telling you why: George's spooks are coming to town" / "They got a blacklist, they're checkin' it twice, They're gonna find out who scorns their advice, George's spooks are coming to town" / "They see your peasants squatting, They want you on the take, They know when you've moved left or right, So be a fake for your life's sake" / "Oh, you better watch out, You better not try, You better sell out, I'm telling you why: George's spooks are coming to town."
Happy holidays.

JUSTIN DELACOUR
Albuquerque, N.M.

Misinterpreting an animal rights terrorism column

Steven Zak misled readers about my National Review Online article about the rising tide of animal rights terrorism ("Who are you calling a terrorist?" Op-Ed, Thursday). He did so by conveniently leaving out a crucial point: The accusations did not come from a "conservative" viewpoint, but from an expose published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The SPLC is hardly a bastion of right-wing thinking. To the contrary, it is explicitly liberal. It also is unequivocally anti-terrorist. That is why we should heed its clarion warning about the threat of animal rights terrorism from such violent groups as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty (SHAC). The warning was published in the fall 2002 issue of SPLC's quarterly magazine, Intelligence Report,
SPLC reports that SHAC terrorist actions against the British research laboratory Huntington Life Sciences became so extreme one of its executives was badly beaten by three assailants with baseball bats that the company fled across the Atlantic to the United States. But animal rights terrorism is an international phenomenon. SHAC simply shifted its efforts here, targeting not only Huntington, but also its U.S. financiers and insurers, in an attempt to drive the company out of business.
ALF has published on its Web site a how-to-commit-arson tract called "Arson Around with Auntie Alf," which promotes the use of incendiaries to destroy animal-"abusing" facilities because "pound for pound," incendiaries "can do more damage than explosives against many types of targets." Moreover, according to SPLC, an "ELF communique" claims "the group was now targeting FBI offices and U.S. federal buildings."
My criticisms of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Humane Society of the United States, which concerned their rubbing shoulders with ALF and ELF activists, also came from information supplied by SPLC. For example, PETA's tax-exempt status is being challenged because PETA made a $1,500 payment to ELF.
I do not claim nor did SPLC that all believers in animal rights/liberation are terrorists. To the contrary, I believe peaceful political agitation is an honorable exercise in American liberty. But the general silence from animal rights liberationists about the crescendo of violence and intimidation made in the name of their cause is becoming deafening. I urge PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Mr. Zak, Peter Singer (author of "Animal Rights") and other animal rights liberationists to immediately and unequivocally condemn AFL, ELF, and SHAC by name. If they fail to do so, they will have shown where their sympathies lie.

WESLEY J. SMITH
Oakland, Calif.


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