- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 19, 2002

Four cheers for missile defense

As reported in The Washington Times, the centerpiece of President Bush's layered missile defense plan the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system intercepted a mock warhead over the Pacific Ocean on Oct. 14 ("Missile-defense system scores fourth successive interception," Nation, Wednesday).
For the fourth straight time, and the fifth in the last seven attempts, this technology hit its mark. Satellites detected a launch. Command and control elements cued radars and launched an interceptor, which delivered a small kill vehicle close to its objective. The vehicle tracked, discriminated and hit its target at 15,000 mph while avoiding decoys.
This test helps to demonstrate that our technology and existing systems are well integrated and, more fundamentally, that they work reliably. Future tests will become even more realistic and rigorous, aided by an enhanced test bed made possible by the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
While more work lies ahead, Monday's test offers another important proof of America's missile defense capability. We must continue to perfect this capability to deter a nuclear attack by some rogue state and, if deterrence fails, "hit to kill" any missile fired at us.

Deputy U.S. ballistic missile defense program manager (retired)
Guntersville, Ala.

Giving Kurds the shaft

I wish to comment upon the irony in "U.S. opposes Kurdistan" ("Embassy Row," Nation, Wednesday). While the United States opposes the 35 million Kurds from having their own nation, we went to war against the sovereign nation of Yugoslavia to ensure that all 1 million of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians could have their own nation. (Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo gained their majority by crossing illegally from Albania into Kosovo and through multiple births by being allowed to havinghave four wives at one time.) There is something rotten in Denmark, or should I say Washington?
Robert W. Pearson, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, is quoted in the above-referenced item as saying, "Neither we nor any other country has the authority" to approve a Kurdish state. "We have heard Turkey's concerns, and we respect them," he continued. We certainly didn't hear Serbia's concerns before we bombed them back to the Stone Age, nor did we respect the Serbian people when we approved an all Muslim, al Qaeda-supported state in Kosovo for the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army. Nor did we have qualms over the killing of the remaining Serbs (mostly elderly) in Kosovo, nor the ongoing desecration and destruction of their medieval churches. Such crimes continue without one word of condemnation from our illustrious State Department.
However, there is a solution. We either demand that Ankara comply with a homeland for the Kurds or be bombed, just like we bombed Belgrade when we forced them to comply with our demands regarding Kosovo.
Have you noticed that when Iraqis kills Kurds, we bomb. But when Turks kill Kurds, that's all right because Turkey is our great ally.

Sterling, Va.

What to do with North Korea

Thursday morning, the world woke up to the news that another member of the "axis of evil" is trying to acquire nuclear weapons ("N. Korea breaks its promises on nukes," Page 1).
How did this happen? It happened because you cannot trust "rogue state" dictators, such as the leaders of Iraq and North Korea, to live up to their agreements. Of course, this did not keep former President Jimmy Carter from getting the Nobel Peace Prize, in part for taking Kim Il-sung, father of North Korea's current tyrant Kim Jong-il, at his word and obtaining promises that North Korea was not seeking nuclear weapons. So much for the triumph of diplomacy.
It is now time to abandon the notion that being kind to the dictators in Pyongyang and Baghdad is good for the United States.
While I am not happy at the prospect of another tyrant with nuclear weapons, I feel much more secure knowing that President Bush is in residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and that Donald H. Rumsfeld is heading up the Defense Department. Both men know how to deal with rogue states.
As for those individuals who wish to appease tyrants or complain about the "us vs. them" mentality of the Bush administration, they ought to recognize that Mr. Bush understands that this is a war between civilization and terrorism.

Mechanicville, N.Y.

That North Korea has a nuclear weapons program, in violation of its 1994 agreement with the United States, should surprise nobody.
Trustworthiness is antithetical to any dictatorship. As with Iraq's Saddam Hussein, this revelation demonstrates that it is naive and suicidal to negotiate agreements with dictatorships. That American taxpayers were forced to aid North Korea as part of the 1994 agreement is a moral obscenity, a perfect example of the evil of appeasing evil. Under no circumstances should North Korea - one of today's most brutal dictatorships - be allowed to have nuclear weapons.
The United States must do whatever is necessary, including military action, to eliminate this threat. Dictatorial regimes, by their very nature of denying rights to their own citizens, have no right to exist.

Calgary, Alberta

State Department defends Harty nomination

While I would expect that The Washington Times might take a position on President Bush's nomination of Maura Harty for the post of assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, the position taken in the editorial "Axe Maura Harty's nomination" (Oct. 10) appears to be based on a multitude of mistakes. The real facts are as follows:
As ambassador, Ms. Harty never fired a "whistleblower" at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota. She did fire an employee after giving her repeated chances to improve her performance. We categorically reject the editorial's assertion that Ms. Harty fired her because she was trying to alert the embassy to the misconduct of another employee "who happened to be on the payroll of drug traffickers." This insinuation is wholly false.
During the year when Ms. Harty was the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, 339 abducted children were returned to the United States by various means out of 801 cases being worked on. While far greater than the 1 percent mentioned in the editorial, many other cases are not yet completed to our satisfaction. Ms. Harty has repeatedly stated that we will work vigorously to get every child home.
Ms. Harty is the president's choice to head the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Secretary of State Colin Powell recommended her for this vital post because he is familiar with her work and her work ethic. Ms. Harty understands the importance of a secure visa system, an aggressive and compassionate approach to children's issues, and learning from the problems of the past.

Assistant secretary of state for public affairs
State Department
[Editor's Note: We stand by our source - inside the U.S. Embassy in Bogot, Columbia - that the fired employee was, in fact, a whistleblower who tried to report on a drug-trafficking employee. Regarding Mr. Boucher's claim that 339 abducted children were returned out of a total of 801, he appears to be in conflict on this matter with his own deputy press secretary, Mr. Phill Reeker, who told the Washington Post on August 2 that 170 children had been returned. (If our government has returned the additional 69 kids since then, good.) The Washington Post also reported on that date that the State Department acknowledged 16,000 (not 801) abducted American children in foreign countries. We stand behind our one percent figure. (To be more precise, 170 children out of 16,000 is 1.05%.)]

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