- The Washington Times - Monday, October 28, 2002

A man and his mullahs

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and what Gen. Pervez Musharaff has pulled off once again is additional legitimization of his dictatorial regime ("Musharaff and the mullahs," Editorial, Oct. 21). Meanwhile, he has provided the West with an eyewash of an election to satisfy itself that democracy has been brought back to Pakistan. By ensuring that no group was able to garner a majority, the general has further asserted his overall supremacy in the country. That many Pakistanis support al Qaeda is no news, and by partly allowing them their say, the general also has made the more fundamentalistic among them obliged to him. He has further managed to affirm that the West still has to deal with him alone in Pakistan.
The sway in favor of al Qaeda makes it easier for the general to bargain harder with the West for any accommodation by Pakistan in Western designs for the subcontinent. He can always claim that he is reluctantly fighting his people's sentiments in continuing to grant any such accommodation. The West, therefore, will have to pay more for his assistance from now on.
The war on terrorism is claimed to be a battle for democracy. The terrorism promoted by Pakistan has won its first step by ensuring continued U.S. support to that country. The outcome of the election has seen it through the second step as well. The world can anticipate more gimmicks of this kind from Gen. Musharaff and his mullahs in the near future, at the cost of democracy and anti-terrorism.

R. SAJAN
Aluva,
India

So much for stoicism

Wesley Pruden is always right, but especially with his latest column, "Saved from terror, but not ingratitude" (Nation, Friday).
I constantly compared the fearful responses to the snipers noted by news organizations with the stoic reaction of Israelis, who never know if the bus on which they travel or the cafe they frequent each day will be bombed. Yet they go on with their lives. I also remembered how the English carried on during the Blitz, an every-night event, with a stiff upper lip.
I believe the news organizations overplayed the fearful reaction to the snipers. I hope so, anyway. Were the few fearful persons interviewed while an overwhelming majority carried on as usual? I would hope so, but reports of restaurants and other businesses being nearly empty dismays me. I live in Ashburn, Va., and noticed the same crowds out as usual, but I admit I live away from where the shootings took place.
Mr. Pruden's tongue-lashing was well-deserved. Now I hope possible links of the snipers to a terrorist cell will be fully explored and not ignored as an homage to political correctness.

YVONNE LAW
Ashburn, Va.

Another wake-up call unheeded

Hearing that the junior half of the team charged in the sniper attacks is an illegal alien incensed me enough ("Jamaican father insists teenager held in sniper case was a 'nice kid,'" Nation, Friday). Then I heard that John Lee Malvo had been detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service last December and, instead of being deported, had been released on his own recognizance with a promise he would show up at a deportation hearing 11 months later, in November. I cannot begin to describe my level of indignation.
We recently had the fiasco regarding the Saudi "visa express," which allowed 13 of the 19 jihadi hijackers into our country without ever having seen a consular official. To add insult to that injury, the State Department's head of the consular service, Mary Ryan, who was instrumental in creating the visa express, recently was awarded $15,000 of taxpayer money as a job-performance bonus for the period that included September 11, 2001. Thank God her office didn't perform better than it did. There's no telling how many more Americans we would have lost.
Until about 25 years ago, immigrants were eager to come here to assimilate and adopt the American way of life. They were eager to adopt our language and blend in as much as possible. The recent wave of immigrants seem to care increasingly less about our language and customs. Increasingly, we are asked to accommodate them instead of the other way around. We cannot continue to admit immigrants faster than we can absorb them, or we risk the Balkanization of America. Why is it that we need to remind our officials that our government's primary mandate is to protect our borders?
The government keeps reminding us that there are al Qaeda cells here in America. You can bet that if there are, they have been keenly interested in the events of the past three weeks. If these two suspects can paralyze us, imagine what 100 of them deployed around the country could do.
It's time we wake up and realize the system is a light-year or two beyond broken. The huddled masses yearning to be free are increasingly coming here not for freedom, but to kill us. And they're getting all the help they need from our own officials. The INS needs to be abolished and started over from scratch with a new set of rules that has our country's and our citizens' best interests in mind.
If I hear that the boob who let young Mr. Malvo go free gets a performance award, I may be the next one who snaps.

JAMES B. SWARTWOUT
Falls Church

Maybe 'medicine men' have something to say

Suzanne Fields' column "Medicine men at NIH" (Op-Ed, Oct. 7) takes a wide swipe at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and Sen. Tom Harkin. Citing Wallace Sampson, emeritus clinical professor of medicine at Stanford University, Mrs. Fields argues: "More damaging than the prospect that someone besides the senator will take the absurd seriously, the appropriation of taxpayer cash siphons money away from researching the real thing."
The "real thing" is that more than 20,000 scientific studies about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) have been published in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals over the past 20 years. These include double-blind, crossover and placebo-controlled studies about how coenzyme Q10 (a natural, non-prescription supplement) can help with angina and high blood pressure and how glucosamine sulfate can help with osteoarthritis. Close to a dozen nutrients and herbs have been well studied and shown to help with controlling type 2 diabetes.
Mrs. Fields fails to point out that many common prescription medications deplete the body of essential nutrients. For example, birth control pills increase the need for folic acid a common B vitamin that helps reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, possibly Alzheimer's disease and, most important for those taking birth control pills, birth defects. Lovastatin (Mevacor), a popular HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, depletes CoQ10 levels in the blood. Because CoQ10 is useful in protecting the heart, this may be a negative side effect of the drug that is not well-known or publicized.
In a country where we have epidemic levels of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, it seems prudent to spend at least a little of NIH's money on evaluating the value of acupuncture, herbs, supplements, chiropractic, counseling and other safe and potentially effective modalities. Scoffing at all alternative medicine is just as bad as scoffing at all conventional medicine. Advocating zero spending on CAM in the face of tens of thousands of studies showing there are demonstrable benefits is foolish. Rather than being chastised, Sen. Harkin should be congratulated for saying what everyone knows: "We don't know everything; let's find out what works in CAM by investing in research."

SCHUYLER W. LININGER JR.
President and CEO
Healthnotes Inc.
Portland, Ore.

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