- The Washington Times - Friday, October 25, 2002

Must a patriot like the president?

Oliver North writes about "the animosity Hollywood 'celebrities' are displaying toward America," noting that "Hollywood didn't always hate America" ("Tinseltown tirades," Commentary, Sunday).

Yet most of the actors whom Mr. North quotes do not say anything against America it is President Bush they cannot stand. Julia Roberts says she finds Mr. Bush "embarrassing," not America. Ed Asner, an adviser to Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, accuses Mr. Bush of "desecrating" America, a statement that makes no sense unless one holds America to be sacred.

Bill Cosby is called unpatriotic for making a campaign contribution to an anti-war politician. Since when is it unpatriotic to oppose your government's policies? Were the lawmakers in Congress who voted against the Tonkin Gulf resolution in 1964 unpatriotic?

Mr. North writes that Woody Harrelson "called himself 'an American tired of American lies.'" That was the headline of his column in the London Guardian. Surely Mr. North knows that columnists do not generally write their own headlines. What Mr. Harrelson wrote was, "I'm an American tired of lies. And with our government, it's mostly lies." You may disagree with his assessment while believing it is his inalienable right to make it.

Yes, some people celebrities and non-celebrities alike have criticisms of America itself. But do not mix up dislike for a president or his policies with a lack of love for one's country. I'll bet that is a mistake Mr. North never made during the Clinton era.



Extra! The magazine of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting

New York

In defense of Jimmy Carter

Cal Thomas uses the words "dishonorable" and "despicable" to describe former President Jimmy Carter's actions that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize ("In recognition of appeasement," Commentary, Wednesday).

In his rant, Mr. Thomas maintains that Mr. Carter is undeserving of the prize because he has attempted to use diplomacy to reduce tensions or settle disputes between nations and peoples. Yet, the only specific instance Mr. Thomas cites for his proposal that Mr. Carter, in essence, be hauled before a global kangaroo court to be humiliated and fined for his efforts at diplomacy is the 1994 agreement with North Korea that was intended to bring about a suspension of nuclear weapons research there. As has been reported recently, the North Koreans negotiated in bad faith. However, if the fact that one nation has acted in bad faith were reason enough to abandon all efforts at diplomacy, this world would be even more violent and dangerous than it already is.

Notably absent from Mr. Thomas' diatribe is any mention of the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, which are still observed faithfully by both nations after more than 23 years. Since leaving office, Mr. Carter has devoted himself tirelessly to promoting peace, human rights and the eradication of disease and poverty, while other former presidents have devoted themselves to nothing more than their own presidential libraries or high-paying speaking engagements.

It is unfortunate that the chairman of the Nobel committee stated that Mr. Carter's selection is a repudiation of the policies of President Bush. This draws attention away from the accomplishments for which Mr. Carter deserves to be recognized, and it undoubtedly infuriated Mr. Thomas and others like him intent on beating the drum for the current president. However, taking his frustration out on Mr. Carter, a true statesman and defender of the quality of life and rights of people everywhere, is beneath contempt.


Sandy, Utah

Burk scores under par against Independent Women's Forum

In Wednesday's Page One article on her one-woman crusade against the Augusta National Golf Club ("Burk keeps swinging away at golf's Augusta"), Martha Burk, president of the National Council of Women's Organizations, took a potshot at the Independent Women's Forum (IWF). Apparently because the IWF does not support Mrs. Burk's strong-arm tactics to force a private club to change its membership policies, she tries to claim that the IWF exists "only to criticize" what her organization does and that we "don't have any program."

Actually, the IWF is one of the most active organizations in Washington. Indeed, Washingtonian magazine cited us as movers and shakers in the nation's capital. Let me hit a few recent highlights. Our acclaimed Infant Care Project raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to aid women who were pregnant and lost husbands on September 11. We support an active outreach program on campuses as an antidote to the radical feminism that permeates academia. Our campus program has featured such enterprises as a groundbreaking study on the pernicious culture of "hooking-up." Our publications include a respected journal, the Women's Quarterly, and an invaluable Agenda for Women that helps legislators on Capitol Hill know what mainstream women really want. IWF officers have served as delegates to U.N. commissions and on Cabinet-level advisory boards and commissions. We sponsor panels and events that give an in-depth perspective on women's issues that runs counter to the worldview of women as victims.

Clearly, all of this does not sit well with Mrs. Burk. Her criticism of the IWF is typical of those who dismiss out of hand the activities of anyone who has the temerity to disagree with them.



Independent Women's Forum


'Unjust' column 'furiously slams Rome'

Paul Steidler and Mark Serrano ("The Vatican's day of shame," Op-Ed, yesterday) ask for a "reasonable and sensible approach" to the sex abuse scandals from the Vatican, yet they furiously slam Rome with unjust, misleading condemnations of the recent call to revise the Dallas charter presented by the U.S. bishops.

The Oct. 18 decision, far from an "official rejection" of the Dallas norms, requested that priests, innocent before proved guilty, be protected from unreasonably broad, ambiguous definitions of abuse that would not stand up in any court of law. It also requested that they be treated with the same rights to due process that every other American from ministers and rabbis to schoolteachers and other civil servants enjoys.

That Mr. Steidler and Mr. Serrano would call this evidence that the Vatican is in any way "minimizing the rape and sodomy of Catholic school children" is worse than hubris. The columnists should take their own advice and truly consider how "Christ himself" would approach these issues: He would demand justice, charity and respect for the truth from all parties in these troubled times, and He would not lash out at men undeserving of His wrath.


Policy analyst

Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

New York

Relative velocity

In coverage of the sniper, your reporters continue the common error of describing the .223 caliber cartridge used by the sniper as high-powered. It is medium-power, not high-power.

The power of a cartridge can be measured in foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The energy can vary somewhat depending on the type and amount of powder used and the grain weight of the bullet. These data are published in ballistics tables.

The standard Remington .223 produces 1,382 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. By way of comparison, the .30-06 cartridge, the one used by most U.S. soldiers in the two world wars, produces 2,800 to a little more than 1,000 foot-pounds of energy, and the .300 Winchester produces about 3,600 foot-pounds of energy, 2.6 times the energy of the .223.



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