- The Washington Times - Monday, September 9, 2002

Who abandoned whom at Dunkirk?

Balint Vazsonyi is dead wrong in his claim that the French army "abandoned the British Expeditionary Force to their certain destruction in World War II" ("Waiting for 'allies' to line up," Commentary, Wednesday).

Early in the Battle of France in 1940, the British began to plan for the evacuation that finally took place at Dunkirk. The French military was kept in the dark until the last minute concerning these plans. Although 340,000 British were evacuated, only 110,000 French troops were taken off the beaches. French resentment over this outcome persists to the present day.


E.D. LOWRY

Arlington

Weighing the risks of making RPMs public

If you live near a chemical plant, Angela Logomasini ("Toxic road map for terrorists," Op-Ed, Wednesday) apparently thinks you are better off not knowing that gases released from the facility might kill you.

She calls for prohibiting citizen access to the risk-management plans (RMPs) companies must prepare in order to inform communities about the risk of a catastrophic accident. She also claims that helping chemical companies keep their hazards secret from their neighbors will aid in the fight against terrorism, but in fact, concealing additional information is the wrong approach to addressing the risks of chemical attacks.

Nobody seriously questions that terrorism at chemical plants is a pressing homeland-security concern. Millions of Americans live close enough to such facilities to be killed or seriously harmed by a release of toxic chemicals.

RMPs currently kept in restricted-access government reading rooms allow people to know whether the company down the street is one of the more dangerous ones and also say what kinds of threats a release would cause. Further curtailing access to information about the threats of a hazardous release from a nearby company may help irresponsible companies avoid scrutiny, but it is unlikely to make us safer. That is why the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency agreed that limited access to certain information represents the best balance of the risks and benefits from disclosure.

What would make us safer and what Miss Logomasini ignores would be a federal program to reduce the inherent danger of chemical facilities and upgrade industrial site security. Such a program is the centerpiece of the Chemical Security Act (S. 1602), which was approved unanimously by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and could become law if Congress includes it in the homeland-security legislation currently being debated.

Congress can and should point the way toward chemical safety. It should not help facilities lull their neighbors into a false sense of security by denying them accurate information about what could happen if terrorists attack.


JON DEVINE

Senior attorney

Health & the Environment Program

Natural Resources Defense Council

Washington

Mrs. Clinton's similarity to Mrs. Anthony is hair deep

So Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to emulate suffragette Susan B. Anthony ("Much ado about a 'do," Page 1, Friday)? Just copying Anthony's hairstyle doesn't cut it.

Anthony, who demanded that women be given the vote and treated with full equity as American citizens, was also a vocal opponent of abortion. She realized that what today is euphemistically called the "right to choose" actually demeans women and destroys their moral character. Were Susan B. Anthony with us today, I imagine she would have some harsh words for the woman who "stood by her man" in the name of political expediency and supports the killing of unborn children by mothers who don't want them. Anthony was a pioneer in women's rights, not a craven opportunist like Mrs. Clinton.


NORMAN HENDRICKSON

Bowie

Hobnailed' storm troopers doesn't have the same ring

As an avid reader of military history, I noted a minor but widely accepted mistake in Wesley Pruden's Tuesday column, "The rousing chorus of Nervous Nellies." In it, he referenced "Hitler's jackbooted legion" that stomped through Poland 63 years ago. While no one denies the historical event of Sept. 1, 1939, Mr. Pruden misidentifies that German legion's footwear.

The phrase "jackbooted" storm troopers, thugs, etc. is flippantly used by pundits, no doubt because it has a jarring ring to it. Yet, no German soldiers during World War II (and only a few in World War I) wore jackboots, which come up over the knees. Instead, they wore hobnailed boots, whose soles had short nails with a broad head to prevent slipping. Today, hobnail boots are verboten in the German military, and rubber soles are in.


COL. GEORGE M. GALLAGHER

U.S. Army (retired)

Purple Heart recipient

Reston

Smart growth' often means 'no growth'

Thomas Sowell hit the nail on the head in his Tuesday Commentary column, "Hand-wringing over high cost of housing," in which he attributed higher housing prices to ever-tightening land-use restrictions, government bans and open-space laws. Taking land off the market where people could live, especially when the population remains steady or increases, can only lead to more expensive housing.

Yes, mortgage rates and other economic factors have an effect on demand and pricing. Ultimately, however, as Mr. Sowell pointed out, you cannot take land off the market without driving up the cost of the remaining land. Subsequently, this drives up the cost of the housing that will be on that remaining available land. It is happening in San Mateo County, Calif.; in Portland, Ore.; in parts of New York, the Greater Washington area and just about every major metropolitan area in the country where politicians, fringe environmentalists and "not in my back yard" neighborhood groups are equating "smart growth" with "no growth."

The answer isn't tighter land-use restrictions, with a bone of token affordable housing and government subsidies thrown to firefighters, teachers and police officers who can no longer afford to live in the communities they serve. The answer lies in true smart-growth solutions that take into account infrastructure, population growth, and housing and employment patterns. Use the land that we have available to us intelligently don't let the no-growthers and their political cronies hoard it.

When we all share the land smartly, we all will be able to afford to live on it, enjoy it and benefit from its use for generations.


F. GARY GARCZYNSKI

President

National Association of Home Builders

Washington


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