- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Senators make 'spurious comparison'

Sens. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican, and John Warner, Virginia Republican, compare Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler and call for a response from the world to his evil ("Hitler's disciple in Baghdad," Op-Ed, yesterday). Though Saddam may well be an evil, ambitious man who is bent on domination, the difference between him and Hitler lies in the response of the world to his actions.
When Hitler invaded the Sudetenland, the world stood by and told him not to do it again. When Saddam invaded Kuwait, the world, led by the first President Bush, drove him back behind his borders. That is hardly appeasement. Since that time, U.S. and British warplanes have overflown Iraq, protecting the Kurds and others from Saddam's wrath.
On another note, in 1939, Hitler had the most powerful army in the region and the ability to conquer Europe, and the world stood by and let him get a head start. In 2002, Saddam has an army and air force greatly weakened since the Gulf war, no ability to project power, and a crippled economy. What stood between Hitler and Poland? The Poles, who were overmatched and had no allies. Who stands between Saddam and his neighbors? The United States, with the most powerful military ever seen, with a track record of already defending Kuwait.
The senators say they hope for a diplomatic resolution. If Saddam is really as big a threat as Hitler, however, there can be no diplomatic solution. They cannot have it both ways.
If Saddam crosses a border and invades a sovereign state, we should respond with all the might we can muster. Until that time, he is no Hitler, and the good senators do themselves, and their honorable war service, no credit by making spurious comparisons.

JOSH STEVENS
Washington

America's 51st state?

This is in response to the editorial supporting European Union membership for Turkey ("Turkey: our most underappreciated ally," Saturday), which states that "American interests would be well-served by EU acceptance of Turkey."
In reality, Turkey's admittance into the European Union affects European interests, not American. The European Union is, after all, a European organization, not an American one. It is a united Europe, not the United States, that would have to live with Turkey as a member.
The European Union has rejected Turkey not only because it is not in Europe's interest to admit a country whose record on human rights, democracy and the treatment of its Kurdish and Christian minorities is so abysmal, but also because Turkish membership would mean Western Europe could be flooded with millions of Turkish laborers.
The United States would be more understanding of Europe if the former were just to imagine the consequences of admitting Turkey as the 51st state.

DAVID BOYAJIAN
Newton, Mass.

Unevenly declining abortion rates

The new report from the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) indicating that abortion rates in the United States have declined except among the poor ("Abortion rates decline in late 1990s," Page 1, Oct. 9) reinforces the mission of the Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN), which champions the civil rights of preborn black children ("Alabama rally set for 'unborn rights'" Nation, Friday).
While the accuracy of any report providing abortion statistics is suspect because many states lack strict reporting requirements, the AGI report shows that nearly 90 percent of abortions in 2000 were performed on women in metropolitan areas, which is where most blacks live. Furthermore, it shows that the abortion rate between 1994 and 2000 was up 25 percent among women living below the poverty line and up 23 percent among women slightly above the poverty line. A disproportionate number of black women live in such circumstances.
Though there are many reasons for the high rate of abortion among black women, a major factor is Planned Parenthood, which has targeted blacks for population reduction since 1939 and the inception of its so-called Negro Project (see Deborah Simmons' Feb. 8 Op-Ed column "'The Negro Project'"). As late as 1992, a Planned Parenthood report stated: "Abortion services have been deliberately and systematically targeted toward African Americans." Following Planned Parenthood's lead, other abortion providers have located in black neighborhoods.
My hope is that LEARN will succeed in awakening black women and all black people to the abuse Planned Parenthood is inflicting on them.

JOHN NAUGHTON
Silver Spring

Out of breath over asbestos

The asbestos trial in West Virginia has made a mockery of our civil justice system, and Congress ought to take note ("Harmful asbestos litigation," Editorial, Sunday).
Congress has been called upon twice by the U.S. Supreme Court to reform the asbestos litigation problem in America, and it should to do so soon before more companies file for bankruptcy and put more Americans out of work.
I applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee for starting the ball rolling on the needed reforms by holding a hearing on this problem in late September. It was patently obvious from the testimony offered that there is a real fairness issue that must be addressed. Plaintiffs who are not sick are bleeding the system dry and depriving truly sick victims of the compensation they deserve.
In the name of fairness and for the sake of those who are medically impaired, let's hope Congress can finish the job soon.

GEORGE LANDRITH
President
Frontiers of Freedom Fairfax

Liberal intolerance: a collegiate oxymoron

As a 1999 graduate of Wesleyan University, I could not agree more with Nat Hentoff's column "The twilight of free speech at colleges" (Op-Ed, Monday). I would like to add two points.
First, I always considered myself liberal before I went to Wesleyan. I now consider myself something of a moderate. Some of my peers undoubtedly described me as "conservative" while I attended Wesleyan. Now I live in Texas, where many of my peers undoubtedly would describe me as "liberal," thus proving it is all relative.
In the process of arguing and debating with my university peers, I often attempted to challenge their ideology. On at least five occasions, the response I got was something like, "I understand the ideas you're advancing, and I admit they can't be dismissed offhandedly, but I don't agree with them, and I came to Wesleyan so I would not have to hear them." Dialogue was welcome between those espousing variations of liberal and leftist perspectives, but those who truly challenged those viewpoints were made to feel unwelcome.
Second, I have come up with a fledgling theory of what lies at the root of the intolerance Mr. Hentoff describes: Wesleyan, and I dare say other notoriously "liberal" schools, conflate the two senses of the word "liberal." Philosophical liberalism, chiefly in the tradition of J.S. Mill, means championing a marketplace of ideas. Political liberalism, at least in its modern form, is a set of admittedly fluid but nonetheless somewhat cohesive political views.
The rub to me is that these two concepts are mutually inconsistent: The more one espouses politically liberal (or politically conservative, for that matter) ideology, the more difficult it is to be open-minded and tolerant of opposing ideologies. The concepts are not mutually exclusive, to be sure: One can be both ideologically liberal and open to opposing ideologies. In my experience, and apparently Mr. Hentoff's, too, the community at Wesleyan is assuredly politically liberal at the expense of being philosophically liberal.
This is not necessarily bad. What bothered me was that Wesleyan tried to corner the market by pretending it was simultaneously a highly ideological community and yet open to all opposing ideologies. So kudos to Mr. Hentoff for writing an important piece. It is nice to know that at least some members of the Wesleyan community are admitting the need for philosophical liberalism.

DANIEL S. GOLDBERG
Law clerk to Justice Nathan L. Hecht
Supreme Court of Texas
Austin


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