- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 19, 2002

The Iraq game plan

Tuesday's Page One article "Iraq to readmit U.N. arms inspectors" opens by saying that Iraq has agreed to unconditionally readmit inspectors in response to "unrelenting U.S.-led international pressure." This seems to indicate that the U.S. wants inspections. However, later in the article, White House spokesman Scott McClellan says, "This is not a matter of inspections. It is about disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction" Then the article quotes Secretary of State Colin L. Powell saying the official stance of the U.S. is still "regime change."
So which is it? If U.S. policy calls for regime change and not inspections, why would the U.S. lead international pressure for inspections? Furthermore, what exactly is so bad about Iraq's unconditionally allowing inspectors back in? It seems to me that The Washington Times and the Bush administration are both scrambling to dismiss Iraq's offer. Why? Why is everyone so hot to start a new war before we have properly finished the last one?

Silver Spring, Md.

A Corzine-Jeffords rebuttal

Monday's editorial on chemical safety all but ignored the facts involved in this important issue ("Corzine-Jeffords vs. homeland security").
For the record, the proposed Corzine-Jeffords amendment to the homeland security bill aims to get large industrial facilities near populated areas to assess and reduce their vulnerabilities to a terrorist attack and is not intended to cover small and rural facilities, such as many agricultural chemical plants.
While the editorial is correct that the chemical industry lobby, represented by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), requires member companies to beef up security, this program is not a substitute for an effective anti-terrorist effort. First, this program relies solely on more guards and higher fences that would do little to deter a determined terrorist.
Moreover, the ACC program reaches only a tiny fraction (about 10 percent) of the facilities that are of potential concern. What about the thousands of facilities that are not part of any industry program? Compelling evidence gathered by news organizations shows that many facilities have done little to boost security or safety since September 11. Based on the editorial and ACC's lobbying, no real improvements would ever be made.
Also, the bill ensures that any information submitted by chemical facilities is protected from public disclosure. To suggest otherwise, as asserted by ACC and repeated in the editorial, is to ignore the facts.
Finally, while Greenpeace may want legislation that phases out the use of chlorine, the Corzine-Jeffords amendment is far more modest. It reflects compromises made in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and was supported by every Republican and Democrat in the room. It also is being supported by a broad coalition of environmental and public health organizations.

Economic specialist
Environmental Defense

Hitler's undemocratic mandate

I find it offensive that Tony Blankley accused 80 million Germans of enabling Hitler to kill 50 million people ("The imperial era begins," Op-Ed, September 11). The facts say otherwise. Hitler was enabled by big business, if anything, and in 1933 burned down the German parliament the Reichstag for fear of losing the upcoming elections.
The Nazi party never received more than 40 percent of the national vote. After Hitler established a dictatorship and created a police state, votes no longer mattered.

Long Beach, Calif.

A football rivalry, on and off the field

I was seated in Section 221 on the aisle, a few feet from the fight that resulted in pepper spray being used in Monday night's game between the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles. The police were justified in using the spray and showed remarkable restraint in using it only once. There may have only been one guy doing the punching, but a half dozen of his comrades were behind him, offering encouragement. When a Prince George's County officer sprayed one guy, his friends discreetly slid down our side and left. What easily could have turned into a brawl involving a dozen people ended before it could begin. Prince George's police did their jobs and did them well. The female stadium staffer who initially tried to separate the parties also deserves credit for wading into an angry crowd.
It's unfortunate that the spray carried down onto the fans below, but I have little sympathy for the Eagles players. What sports coverage and John McCaslin's Inside the Beltway column (Nation, yesterday) failed to note is that Philadelphia fans started what Mr. McCaslin called the "altercations" in the stands. In this case, the scuffle began when Philly fans threw a shirt at a Redskins fan below them, then threw the first punch when their target turned to leave. From the parking-lot crowd before the game to the fights at the end of it, Philly's finest showed themselves to be little more than a collection of drunk, obnoxious thugs. It's still safe to take your children to a game, Mr. McCaslin just not when the Eagles are playing.

Spotsylvania, Va.Why am I not surprised that pepper spray at a football game is blamed on horrible Philadelphia Eagles fans ("Pepper spray disrupts game," Sports, Tuesday)? I am an educated and articulate Eagles fan and a professional, and I thought it would be nice to enjoy a game between two rivals. I have been an Eagles season ticket holder since 1977 and have experienced how rough Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium can be on opposing fans. What I witnessed the other night from Redskin fans, however, was the biggest disgrace I have ever seen in my life.
Upon entry into the stadium, I was scared for my life. I witnessed scores of drunk, obnoxious and potentially violent Redskins fans harassing anyone in Eagles green. After the kickoff and the beginning of the most dominating performance you will ever see, however, my loyalty became obvious, as I had the audacity and unmitigated gall to applaud the Eagles. Immediately, I was cursed at, spit on, had food thrown at me and on me and had my life threatened. This behavior went on consistently during the entire first half. The only thing that saved me was that the game was such a massacre that all of the drunks left by halftime.
Eagles fans are not all choirboys. Indeed, I am sure they were responsible for some of the problems Monday night. This does not mean, however, that your newspaper has the right to hang the obscene behavior of the Washington faithful at the door of the Eagles die-hards.

Cherry Hill, N.J.

Maryland is driving in the wrong lane

So Maryland is incapable of learning from other states' mistakes and plans to institute the ill-advised HOV-2 on Route 50 between Interstate 495 and Route 301 ("HOV lanes to be completed early, Maryland says," Metro, yesterday). Does Maryland's government not understand that the present situation does not lend itself to carpooling and that what they are doing is wasting money by creating a lane the majority of tax-paying commuters cannot use?
While the Glendening administration pats itself on the back for its supposed ecological savvy, thousands of commuters will be on that same road, daily, and their idling engines will be pouring more pollutants into the air than is necessary. All this just because a bunch of short-sighted bureaucrats cannot bear to admit that the high-occupancy-vehicle concept does not work. HOV lanes are making commuters sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic when there is a completely serviceable travel lane next to them that they financed with their taxes.

Bowie, Md.

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