- The Washington Times - Monday, September 23, 2002

Profiting from tragedy

What two words best describe the families of September 11 victims who are waiting in line for the payday of a lifetime at the expense of American taxpayers and everyone who will have to pay higher insurance premiums ("Terror victims' kin wait for best compensation," Nation, Wednesday)? Greedy and undeserving.
I don't mean to sound unsympathetic to their loss and sorrow, but so far as I am concerned, these people just need to get on with rebuilding their lives without crying to the rest of America for unjust support. Let their employers cover the damage with group- or key-employee life insurance and pension payouts. Don't ask taxpayers to fund some absurd actuarial computation determined by corrupt lawyers who want their share, too.
I say to the Cantor Fitzgerald-led mob standing in line with their ambulance-chasing attorneys just waiting to enrich themselves: "America owes you nothing. Not now. Not ever." Most of the deceased just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If anyone is to receive anything as a result of September 11, let it be from life insurance or pension plans. In fact, there should be no handouts until America pays the families of those military men and women who died in every war our nation has ever fought. If anyone deserves compensation, it is them.

Aurora, Colo.

Eyes toward India

The column "New order requires New Delhi" (Op-Ed, Friday) should be required reading for the Bush administration. By ignoring the world's largest secular democracy in favor of a military dictatorship in Pakistan to maintain a Cold War-like balance of powers, the administration has shown the same type of incompetence exhibited by keeping 70,000 U.S. military personnel in Germany to face the nonexistent Red army. Somebody should wake up the Rip van Winkles in Washington who are making foreign policy and tell them that the "Islamic bomb" is not in Iraq, but in Pakistan, and so are the terrorists. Al Qaeda and many similar terrorist groups that are alive and well in Pakistan have no love for America and will get their hands on the nuclear trigger if the fundamentalists come to power, as they did in Iran. Most of the terrorists have simply moved, training camps and all, from Pakistan's western border with Afghanistan to the eastern one with India and they continue to be supported by Pakistan. Dictator Pervez Musharraf's lying about it to the world is not going to alter the fact on the ground, confirmed by both American and Israeli intelligence.

Scarsdale, N.Y.

A better rail extension

The article "Metro chief proposes $12 billion expansion" stated that 114 miles of rail would be added to the existing 103-mile subway system and that it would "be a combination of light-rail or trolley service." (Metro, Sept. 13). This is an oxymoron because light rail is defined as "light volume" by the American Public Transportation Association. Trolleys are low-capacity carriers. In fact, TV Channel 4 reported that same afternoon that light rail would be used instead of heavy "high capacity" rail.
The Washington metropolitan area has the third-worst congestion in the country. Adding trolleys is a mistake. They take up valuable surface space, disrupt traffic during construction and are less safe and far slower than elevated monorails. Trolleys also are more expensive to operate. And light rail? It is extremely expensive to operate, four or five times more expensive to build and takes much longer to build than elevated monobeam rail.
Given the obvious drawbacks of trolleys and light rail, I wonder why Metro General Manager Richard A. White is not considering building an elevated monobeam rail system instead. It would offer almost the capacity of heavy rail. It has all the advantages of monorails but is less obtrusive. It also provides two-way simultaneous travel up to 70 miles per hour on a single narrow beam.
Access, speed and frequency are the keys to designing a transportation system to best serve people, and a monobeam can do all three best.

Maryland-Virginia Monobeam-Monorail Initiative
Silver Spring

Press charges against 'public nuisance' Muslims

The news brief "Muslim students won't sue" in the terror scare in Florida confuses the issue (Nation, Tuesday). The issue is not whether the students should sue, but whether they should be sued.
If an investigation reveals the probability that (1) the students were laughing about September 11 and (2) they made statements suggesting they had knowledge of a likely repeat of September 11, done in a manner that could be overheard, they should be sued for creating a public nuisance and should be forced to pay damages. Prosser's "Torts" defines a public nuisance as an act or omission that obstructs or causes inconvenience to the public. The students' acts need not have been malicious; it is enough that they acted unreasonably and caused public harm.
If the Florida terror scare was not a public nuisance, it is hard to imagine what would be.

Falls Church

A family thing

It seems every news article printed about today's "made guys" seems to reflect the view that they are even bigger "slobs" than depicted on "The Sopranos."
A little research into the "Godfather" movies will show that not only did those movies fail to accurately portray the Cosa Nostra lifestyle, but they were never meant to. "The Godfather" was a modernized Greek tragedy. It was about family, and so, at its roots, is "The Sopranos."
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. ("Out of tune on the tube," Commentary, Friday) is obviously an occasional viewer of "The Sopranos," at best. If he had given the series a fair shot, maybe he would have noticed the wonderful performances and the carefully crafted plotlines that make this terrific show such a pleasure for so many.
Personally, I find it kind of funny that anybody with a moniker like Mr. Tyrrell's was allowed to hang out with Chicago mob bosses. But hey, it could happen.

Santa Barbara, Calif.

Protesters are making a point, like it or not

In past years, The Washington Times has ridiculed the International Monetary Fund-World Bank protesters as silly and foolish. Now, they suddenly are "hoodlums" and "hooligans," and we need some sort of police state to shut them down ("Shut down the protesters," Editorial, Friday). What is going on?
What is going on is that finally they have got your attention. While in the past you were able to ridicule them or ignore their message, now they have a plan that may affect you and your life. Suddenly they are "violence-prone" (this is absurd; blocking traffic is not a violent act), and you want the police to come up with all sorts of ways to thwart them.
It must be difficult to protest in this day and age when people are so complacent they can just ignore it. How can protesters get people's attention and draw notice to the issues at hand without just being shunted off to the "designated protest area" where they can stand like zoo animals and be ignored by everyone?
I applaud the protesters' plan because it will affect people. People never have a problem with the state of affairs until it affects them. Well, dear Washington Times readers, perhaps you can bring along some reading materials about the World Bank and IMF so you can do some research while you are sitting in traffic.


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