- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 24, 2003

Onward to Pyongyang

Bill Taylor's irrational fear of war with North Korea, "Who we'll be dealing with" (Commentary, Sunday), is symptomatic of old thinking about how wars are fought and won and why they are sometimes necessary to maintain the peace.
True, if we had to slug it out again in 1950s-style combat, the prospect of taking on North Korea would be daunting. But this is not 1950, though North Korea thinks so.
Their force structure is not a liability but a plus in our favor. North Korea can assemble troops by the hundreds of thousands, and we'll destroy them by that number with the new Mother of All Bombs.
As for their vaunted offensive capability due to some 11,000 artillery pieces on the demilitarized zone, those 11,000 fixed cannons would have no chance faced against just as many precision-guided bombs.
As for North Korea's officials, I suspect we know where they sleep. Regarding their nuclear capability, they may have one or two nuclear bombs now, which certainly is troubling, but how much more troubling will it be when that rogue regime has 20, and with intercontinental capability?
The fact is the time has never been better to get North Korea into line. If I had a say, I'd convey this message quietly, and then take out their nuclear plants tomorrow that is, unless there's enough time to take them out today. Either way, North Korea can't be ignored, and I seriously doubt that it can be appeased.

PAUL JOSEPH WALKOWSKI
Dorchester, Mass.

Santorum distorts Constitution

It's not surprising that the Family Research Council and the Concerned Women for America came to the defense of Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, over his obnoxious remarks concerning homosexuality and the Constitution, as related in yesterday's Inside Politics column. What is surprising is the apparent ignorance of these two groups and Mr. Santorum over what's actually in the Constitution.
Many religious bigots love to say that the Constitution doesn't mention a right to privacy, the basic principle on which the case for overturning sodomy laws rests, so, therefore, it doesn't exist. But they always fail to mention that the Constitution doesn't say anything about sex at all. It doesn't define marriage as between a man and a woman, and nowhere does it talk about "family values."
In fact, the Constitution doesn't mention any of these things because it was never intended to be an itemized list of rights. It is, instead, a general statement of principles meant to restrict government power. According to the Constitution, the presumption of privacy is always with the individual. The Founding Fathers even added the Ninth Amendment to ensure that simply because a right isn't explicitly mentioned, it doesn't mean that it does not exist. It is frightening that a member of the U.S. Senate is not aware of this.
Finally, Concerned Women for America President Sandy Rios' remark that Log Cabin Republicans oppose a "big tent" Republican Party simply because they criticize Mr. Santorum is so disingenuous it may mark a new low in Washington discourse.

DAVID LAMPO
Vice president
Log Cabin Republican Club of Virginia
Alexandria

Feminist 'spirituality'

For years, feminists have told young women that in order to be successful, they must parrot and promote a leftist agenda ("Spiritual feminists," Culture, Tuesday). During the past 30 years, the feminist agenda has been anti-children, anti-male and anti-God. They lambaste most religions as being patriarchal and oppressive. Feminists and liberals alike have also replaced the traditional Judeo-Christian values with the broader term of "spirituality." One example is The Oprah Winfrey Show's "Finding Your Spirit" segment, which focuses more on one's self-esteem than on any sort of religious spirituality.
It's no surprise that there is a generation of young women who aren't religious when their self-imposed role models are either ignoring religious spirituality or changing its meaning and origin.

LISA DE PASQUALE
Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute
Herndon

Safe food

The article "Food importers seek easing of rules" (Business, Monday) incorrectly implies that importers of food are opposed to the Food and Drug Administration's proposed bioterrorism regulations because of increased costs for the industry.
Unfortunately, what was not discussed in the article is the valid and overriding concern that the proposed regulations would actually weaken food security efforts, leaving food more vulnerable to deliberate contamination.
Important food security measures already used by U.S. Customs, the FDA and other government agencies that oversee border trade would be destroyed if the prior notice proposal was passed in its current form. It is the job of importers to alert the FDA to the serious problems that would adversely affect food security. Companies rely on their ability to deliver safe, secure food throughout the United States and Canada to ensure that people will continue to buy their products.
The industry would willingly incur additional costs if the regulations indeed strengthened the security of imported products.

LEE FRANKEL
President
Fresh Produce Association of the Americas
Nogales, Ariz.

Steel tariffs benefit economy

An article on the temporary steel tariff, "Protected by tariffs, steel makers consolidate" (Business, Tuesday), cited a Consuming Trade Action Coalition study that estimated 200,000 Americans lost their jobs to higher steel prices in 2002. Unfortunately, this study was flawed because it overlooked certain important factors.
By early 2002, steel prices had fallen to historic lows and were bound to rise, with or without a tariff, as production was cut back in the United States and abroad.
The impact of higher steel prices on U.S. manufacturing is affected by the prices paid by foreign competitors. Since the tariff was imposed in March 2002, steel prices have risen much more rapidly in Asia and Europe.
President Bush strongly urged the industry to restructure, and steelmaking assets were redeployed without the burdens of legacy costs, outdated work rules and excessive management overhead. International Steel produces steel at remarkably lower costs than its predecessor, LTV, and this would not have been possible without the market stability offered by the tariff. Important changes are occurring at other integrated mills and in the minimill sector.
Steel prices are now lower for many products in the United States than in many foreign countries, such as China, where manufacturers compete with U.S. industries. Seen in this light, the Bush administration steel program may actually have saved U.S. metal-fabricating jobs.

PETER MORICI
Professor
Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
College Park

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