- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 8, 2002

A biq question for post-Saddam Iraq

In anticipation of the seemingly inevitable change of administration in Iraq, many pundits in The Washington Times have pondered the post-Saddam Hussein milieu, but few have asked a big question: What will happen with the Kurds? This large ethnic group distinct in every way and surely as deserving of a state as Palestinians or Jews is giving lip service to a unified Iraq in order to receive American aid and to assist in Saddam's overthrow. Many Kurds realize this is their last chance to gain independence because it will be nigh impossible to leave a U.S.-administered democratic or semidemocratic Iraq once the dust settles. After helping topple Saddam, Kurds might avail themselves of this singular opportunity to depart Sunni Arab hegemony.

What will we do? Bomb our Kurdish allies into submission? Sit idle while Turkey bombs them? As for Turkey, It is long past time for that country to realize that an independent Kurdistan need not threaten Turkish unity, but could serve as an escape valve for Kurdish aspirations. Turkey should know this better than any nation, for that is exactly what transpired with the establishment of an independent Armenia, Turkey's other long-standing bete noire. An independent Kurdistan actually would be in Turkey's best interest, particularly given its own European Union. aspirations.

In the coming months, the United States must have the intestinal fortitude to respect Kurdish self-determination and, if need be, "just say no" to Turkey.


PETER HUMPHREY

Alexandria, Va.

'Puff piece' misrepresents Hugh Hefner

Billing itself as "America's Newspaper," The Washington Times supposedly promotes family values by running columns by noted conservatives and maintaining a conservative editorial outlook. Now its Op-Ed pages will feature Andrew Sullivan, a homosexual who supports gay marriage. But that's not all. Last Thursday, The Times ran a puff piece about Playboy magazine and its founder, Hugh Hefner ("Buy Playboy for the articles really," Page 1). Playboy, the article noted, has hired a new editor, and Mr. Hefner thinks featuring less sex might be appropriate. It was presented as a man-bites-dog story.

No doubt this article was run because it was thought to have an amusing angle. However, what it achieved was to hide the damage Mr. Hefner has inflicted on American society. An excellent example is found in the new book "Epidemic: How Teen Sex Is Killing Our Kids," by Dr. Meg Meeker. It describes how teen sex was being practiced in a small upscale community of Conyers, Ga., where more than 200 teen-agers many as young as 13 and 14 were infected with syphilis. "Some of them had been holding 'study groups,' in which they watched, then re-enacted scenes from The Playboy Channel in their bedroom," the book says, then goes on to describe perverse sexual positions.

Yet The Times' article blithely describes Mr. Hefner as "a man known for his silk pajamas and a gaggle of buxom companions." In fact, he is a dirty old man who sexually exploits women. His magazine has promoted marijuana, cocaine and LSD, not to mention the sexual abuse of children. Dr. Judith Reisman did a federal study back in the 1980s on how Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler magazines all had run depictions of children enjoying sexual relations with adults.

If that doesn't sour The Times' perception of Mr. Hefner, perhaps his financial contributions to the Democratic Party might.

Finally, the article said that the 76-year-old Mr. Hefner has "from four to seven blonde girlfriends at any given moment." He is quoted saying, "Age doesn't matter, as long as you have your health." That's an interesting comment from someone whose philosophy has led to sexual promiscuity and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Mr. Hefner's legacy deserves condemnation, not a puff piece in "America's Newspaper."


CLIFF KINCAID

Owings, Md.

What's in a name?

As a resident of Maryland, I applaud The Washington Times for documenting the conduct of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's gubernatorial campaign ("Townsend's divisive campaign," Editorial, Monday). It is truly remarkable that Mrs. Townsend's status and name give her a free pass with most Maryland Democrats.

For instance, she has not been challenged sufficiently for her "un-affirmative action" decision to choose a white, male, ex- Republican running mate over someone from the black community who is just as qualified to be lieutenant governor. Only a Democrat could manage to harness the value language of affirmative action while conducting herself in a completely opposite fashion. True supporters of affirmative action need to wake up.

Oh, and one more thing. I think every Maryland veteran, including Mrs. Townsend's running mate, Adm. Charles Larson, should examine Mrs. Townsend's radical leftist positions on matters of national security. Maryland has a sizable military community that will be an essential component if the war on terrorism is to be a success, yet Mrs. Townsend's views are ideologically out of sync.

On Sept. 14, 1986, the Chicago Tribune featured an article titled "What Made Me Run," in which Mrs. Townsend made the following comment: "It is neither just nor right that those who go into the military are on the average less educated, darker and have fewer job opportunities than the nation as a whole." This liberal argument was common during the 1960s and 1970s, but it should have been considered an insult by the late 1980s. Furthermore, her decision to choose a former senior military officer as her running mate should in no way confuse the voters about her ideological position on defense matters. Maryland needs a governor who will represent its various communities in both word and deed. Mrs. Townsend has failed this test.


STEVEN BAKER

Chevy Chase

How to prevent a deadly disease

Thursday's advertising supplement "Breast Cancer Awareness" was quite informative but ignored an important angle: what women can do to prevent the disease in the first place.

To wit, all women should review a booklet prepared by the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute (www.bcpinstitute.org). The booklet lists factors that increase the likelihood of developing this cancer: e.g., alcohol, birth control pills and early menarche, which increase estrogen levels. The booklet also lists factors that interfere with the natural development of breast tissue, such as abortion and second-trimester miscarriage. These factors also increase the risk of cancer.

On the other hand, the booklet also lists factors that lower the risk of breast cancer. They include activities that reduce active estrogen levels: e.g., exercise, breast-feeding and eating cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and brussels sprouts.


CATHY ROTH

Germantown

Misreading dyslexia

The article "Defining statement" (B1, Saturday) featured the efforts of a 14-year-old girl to get Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary to expand its definition of dyslexia. The young girl's position was that dyslexia is caused by neurological confusion but the exact cause is unknown. Yet, in fact, the cause of dyslexia is known.

Dyslexia is not caused by neurological confusion. Rather, it results in neurological confusion. In 1929, Dr. Samuel T. Orton, a neuropathologist, discovered the cause. Dr. Orton concluded that the sight-reading method of teaching children to read resulted in dyslexia. In sight-reading, also known as "look say," the student memorizes the appearance of words rather than phonetically sounding them out. This pictographic method of memorizing the appearance of words rather than their phonetic meaning causes an inability in the child to use phonics later. When the child is faced with a new word with which he is not familiar, he finds that he cannot read the word because he does not have the ability to sound it out. Samuel Blumenfeld's book "The Whole Language OBE Fraud" describes Dr. Orton's research in detail.

The cure for dyslexia is intensive phonics. It is very difficult to overcome dyslexia, however, because it requires the student first to stop reading using the "look say" method and then learn to read using phonics.


EDWARD HENDRIE

Stafford, Va.


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