- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 19, 2003

Carter's conspicuous silence

During the war in Iraq, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro attempted to sneak in under the radar his latest brutal sweep against Cuban "dissidents," i.e., those who have the gall to express any dissent against his longtime oppression.
His suppression of opinion was well-calculated. Indeed, his action did not garner the prominent coverage that it would have had it occurred at a time when there was less important news in the world.
Former President Jimmy Carter has rubbed elbows with Mr. Castro in the past, traveling to Cuba to meet him, thus providing Mr. Castro with the prestige that comes by appearing shoulder-to-shoulder with a former U.S. president.
Mr. Carter has expressed hope and optimism that Mr. Castro had turned over a new leaf, that some semblance of freedom might occur on the island of tyranny. It is obvious that Mr. Carter's hopes have not and shall not come to fruition as long as Mr. Castro is in power.
Mr. Carter has seized many opportunities to publicly embarrass and skewer President Bush, most recently in a column in the New York Times condemning Mr. Bush for our nation's role in confronting another dictator, Saddam Hussein, and fighting for the freedom of the Iraqi people.
Yet, where is Mr. Carter's voice now? Why is he not rising up with his usual righteous indignation to condemn "Comrade Fidel"?
Does Mr. Carter reserve his criticism to condemn only the leaders of democratic nations when they fall short of the mark in his twisted view of the world?

OREN M. SPIEGLER
Upper St. Clair, Pa.

Overlooking Kosovo's core problems

I found it very interesting to read Helle Dale's column "Iraq isn't Kosovo" (Op-Ed, April 9) and the extended response to it by Edward Mortimer ("Cross-eyed on Kosovo," Letters, April 13). As the director of communications in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Mortimer sought to correct "a number of inaccuracies" in Mrs. Dale's column, namely that "four years and $2.4 billion in international aid later, Kosovo remains in a dreary, hopeless limbo."
Yet, both writers failed to identify the critical developments that led to the unfortunate situation in Kosovo. President Clinton, in justifying the U.S.-led NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, declared that the goal was a multi-ethnic Kosovo. Developments since the bombing ended provide grim testimony and ample evidence that Mr. Clinton's goal was a forlorn hope.
The new rulers of Kosovo, the majority Albanians, have destroyed or damaged Serbian Orthodox Churches, many dating back to the Middle Ages. Many of their cemeteries have also been vandalized and desecrated. Serbian Orthodox priests, nuns, men, women and children have been murdered. Wells have been poisoned, animals killed and crops burned.
In addition, 240,000 of the minority Serbs, Roma, Jews and other non-Albanians have been expelled from Kosovo. Few of them have been able to return, and those who did were and are under the protection of KFOR (NATO-Kosovo Force) or U.N. troops.
Such facts demonstrate the failure of the U.N. Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to make Mr. Clinton's futile dream come true. UNMIK and NATO-KFOR seem to blithely accept and explain these Albanian actions as "revenge" for earlier Serb actions.
However, one little statistic explodes such a trite explanation. In 1961, when Tito's Albanian communists ruled Kosovo, the percentage of Serbs living in Kosovo was 27 percent, while Albanians numbered 67 percent. In 1991, the Serbian population had been reduced to only 11 percent, while Albanians had increased to 82 percent. This should prompt the question: Who was being ethnically cleansed and by whom? Answering this question might have prevented the U.S.-led NATO intervention in Kosovo that has wreaked so much havoc.

NORMAN F. NESS
Landenberg, Pa.

No negotiating with blackmailers

As reported in Friday's Page One article, "Moscow, Paris balk at lifting sanctions," the effort of the French and Russians to blackmail the United States by exploiting the needs of the Iraqi people is another step toward unraveling the United Nations as an instrument of serious negotiation.
This is pure calculated blackmail by the French and Russians, with the suffering Iraqi people held hostage to gain political advantage.
This turns French President Jacques Chirac's phone call to President Bush into a mockery.
Blackmail is unacceptable from so-called allies as much as from terrorists and dictators.
The sanctions were against the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and not against the people of Iraq, and the United States should aggressively assert that moral position. The new government of Iraq will, by definition, not be the subject of U.N. sanctions, which were imposed before its existence.
For nations that routinely violated the UNsanctions as a London Telegraph report indicates Russia did, as we all know Syria did and believe France did to now seek to use the sanctions they violated to blackmail the United States is an outrage. It should be beneath our contempt. It is something about which we should refuse to negotiate.

NEWT GINGRICH
Former speaker of the House of Representatives
Member of the Defense Policy Board
Washington

D.C.'s presidential primary

The article "Primary hit as 'beauty contest' " (Metropolitan, Thursday) and Philip Pannell's statement that Washington's first-in-the-nation presidential primary will "have no meaning," completely misses the point for moving the D.C. primary from the end of the process to the very beginning.
Every member of the D.C. Council, Mayor Anthony A. Williams and every major voting rights and civil rights organization in Washington back a first-in-the-nation primary to draw national attention to the District's lack of congressional voting rights. Mr. Pannell, one man on the 72-member Democratic State Committee, seems to misunderstand the dynamics of the presidential nominating process. Despite the few delegates at stake, candidates compete in Iowa and New Hampshire because of the fund-raising benefits, media attention and political momentum they gain by winning.
A win in the District's Jan. 13 advisory primary will be meaningful for the winner, regardless of the delegate selection plan. If it were a state, Washington would be the only majority-black American jurisdiction in the nation, and black Americans make up an influential core of the Democratic primary electorate.
Supporters of the D.C. first-in-the-nation primary are currently meeting with all presidential campaigns to secure participation, and candidates are weighing their options. The District would be better served by a unified front as we move forward.

MARK DAVID RICHARDS
Washington



With respect to the Democratic presidential candidates and the 2004 D.C. primary, I have to wonder about the facts on which D.C. Democratic State Committee member Philip Pannell bases his assertion, "The major players are not going to come."
Has Mr. Pannell spoken directly with the candidates or their senior staffers, or is he assuming the campaigns simply won't come to the District because it lacks significance?
In fact, it is likely that most or all of the "major players" will compete in the D.C. primary. As candidates jockey for position and support among various constituencies, the District's importance as the only majority-black American jurisdiction in the primary process is becoming a prize too good to pass up.

CHUCK THIES
Washington

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