- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Voters should decide upon speed cameras

The only sensible solution to rein in a fiscally incompetent District government always looking for ways to extort money from its value-producing citizens is to regulate its money-grubbing powers through voter initiatives. Specifically, the voters of the District should prepare and vote on an initiative to give or deny the city permission to install "automated speed enforcement" cameras anywhere in the District ("Whoa, Big Brother," Editorial, Sunday). Unless District residents look forward to gorging on a buffet of several speeding tickets per day, they'll take seriously their duties as citizens. Let's remember that the District government is not an occupation force, but is made up of elected representatives who need to represent us instead of extort us.

CHRISTOPHER McKEON
Washington

Official pressured into retirement over coercive abortions

May an employer link abortion to job security? That's the question addressed by the Office of the D.C. Inspector General, which found that a D.C. Emergency Medical Services supervisor "improperly advised EMT trainees that female EMTs could be terminated if they became pregnant during the first year of employment" ("EMS chief linked to abortions retires," Page 1, yesterday). Her resignation may have been the direct result of extensive coverage of this issue by The Washington Times, beginning in August 2001.
How did abortion "choice" so quickly slide into abortion coercion?
The right to choose an abortion has been attained only at the expense of devaluing the rights and lives of others the unborn children who by their innocent existence may constrain our personal and professional pursuits. The undermining of the right to life has toppled respect for human dignity and liberty. Rising from the ruins is a coercive culture in which an emergency medical services worker faces an ironic "choice" of aborting her baby or losing her job as a saver of lives.
President Madison warned, "Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as by the abuses of power." As this tragic example of abortion coercion illustrates, our ability to enjoy liberty and pursue happiness hinges on protecting the inalienable right to life.

JONATHAN IMBODY
Senior policy analyst
Washington Bureau
Christian Medical Association
Springfield

India-Pakistan relations are not a 'zero sum' game

Unfortunately, S. Rob Sobhani views U.S.-Indian and U.S.-Pakistani relations in a zero-sum context ("New order requires New Delhi," Op-Ed, Friday). The government of Pakistan welcomes intensive relations between the United States and both countries as a positive-sum scenario wherein the United States can have equally good and strong bilateral relations with both. This has been one of the pluses of the post-September 11 world order, in which Washington is uniquely positioned to have leverage with and influence in both Islamabad and New Delhi. This trilateral relationship has enabled the United States to play a moderating and positive role in defusing tensions between India and Pakistan.
Unfortunately, what Mr. Sobhani omits to mention is that Pakistan's robust and effective efforts at counterterrorism have resulted in the apprehension of more than 400 individuals who have been handed over to the United States, not to mention the high-profile raids netting Abu Zubaidah and Ramzi Bin-Al-Shibh. Pakistan has lost the largest number of security officials and civilians to terrorist attacks since the cataclysmic events of September 11. No other coalition partner has sustained such heavy casualties in the campaign against international terrorism.
Finally, the unrealistic scenario painted by Mr. Sobhani about domestic politics in Pakistan is exactly that far-fetched and fantastic. The Nuclear Command and Regulatory Authorities of Pakistan are designed to ensure the safety and security of the country's strategic assets. Pakistan's record in safeguarding and securing its strategic assets has been exemplary and flawless. Furthermore, the leadership and political parties of Pakistan (including those with a religious bent of mind) are led by mature and seasoned politicians who fully comprehend and are cognizant of post-nuclear realities and the grave and dangerous implications of proliferation and nuclear blackmail.

ASAD HAYAUDDIN
Press attache
Embassy of Pakistan
Washington

Kofi talk

In observing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's dithering on Iraq, I am reminded of a line from Ayn Rand's legendary novel "Atlas Shrugged": "In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit."
Those who think Mr. Annan stands for peace and justice should take a closer look. You will find a chameleon willing to change to any color to strike that perfect deal that perfect balance consisting of a bit of freedom and a bit of terrorism.
There are no moral principles involved when Mr. Annan negotiates, just the focus on the compromise, the middle of the road. Mr. Annan should remember that staying in the middle of the road inevitably results in getting squashed.

DAVID LEE
Melbourne, Australia

Maryland candidates exchange shots over gun control

The state of Maryland has more than 300 laws and regulations affecting gun use and ownership. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend recently attacked her opponent, Rep. Bob Ehrlich, for saying that two of them deserved reconsideration ("Anti-gun follies," Editorial, Sept. 17).
Judging by the facts alone, Mr. Ehrlich seems to be on solid ground. The first of these regulatory mechanisms, the state's Handgun Roster Board, has approved 1,500 new handguns for sale in Maryland since 1989. The second, the state's ballistic fingerprinting program, costs $1.5 million a year but has not solved a single crime.
Though neither law seems to be working, Mrs. Townsend and her supporters nonetheless are using Mr. Ehrlich's remarks to accuse him of trying to "roll back" all of the state's gun laws. This is absurd for two reasons.
First, as governor, Mr. Ehrlich would lack the authority to do so. Any change would have to be approved by the Maryland General Assembly.
Second, Mr. Ehrlich has compiled a record as a moderate on gun issues. In Congress, he voted in favor of trigger locks, 24-hour background checks at gun shows and a lifelong ban on gun ownership by juvenile offenders. Clearly, he lacks the philosophical motivation to pick a fight he knows he cannot win.
Violent crime in Maryland has grown steadily worse during the past decade. Mr. Ehrlich deserves credit for his willingness to look at new solutions.
It is time for Mrs. Townsend and her supporters to stop behaving like demagogues when it comes to guns. Scaring people may win votes, but it isn't leadership.

COURTNEY DENNING JOHNSON
Gaithersburg

Idiot's guide to proper protesting

International Monetary Fund protesters have a right to be heard, but D.C. resident Michael Riordan rationalized inappropriate means by which they can attract attention ("Protesters are making a point, like it or not," Letters, yesterday).
Nonviolent actions such as blocking traffic and creating public disturbances neither validate protesters' causes nor effectively convey their message. Rather, such activities are against the law, and those who break the law are to be punished. Martin Luther King broke the law to make a point, and he did so peaceably and without vandalizing property. Even so, he spent time in jail for his unlawful activities.
If one has difficulty getting one's viewpoint noticed, either the message or the messenger is worthless, and perhaps both are.

COL. DALE HILL
U.S. Air Force (retired)
Burke


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