- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Restraint or full-speed ahead?

Arnold Beichman implies that because Saddam Hussein has been captured, the world will suddenly realize that opposition to the war was wrong (“Searching for words,” Commentary, Tuesday). He even suggests that Democrats should apologize to President Bush for any criticism of the war effort.

However, that “we got him” doesn’t mean the war is justified, nor does it mean the Middle East is going to be safer, nor does it mean the $166 billion of taxpayer money spent by Washington on the war has been spent wisely.

Does the fact that we haven’t caught Osama bin Laden mean the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan has been a failure thus far? Of course not. Nor does the fact that we have caught Saddam mean that the U.S.-led war in Iraq has been a success. A lot of mistakes have been made. (Where are the weapons of mass destruction, the original justification for the war?)

Are Iraq and the world better off without Saddam? Certainly. Is the world better off without any meaningful check on the indiscriminate use of force, in which countries strike whenever they deem it necessary? I don’t think so. Let’s hope Pakistan and India act with a bit more restraint than the Bush team has.

JOHN DEMPSEY

Kabul, Afghanistan

Speaking of ‘cheap labor’

In Monday’s letter by K.C. McAlpin, “The cost of ‘cheap labor,’ ” Sen. John Cornyn is credited with (and disparaged for) the use of the phrase “cheap labor” in regard to immigrant labor.

The comment, however, was made by Dan Stein of the Federation of American Immigration Reform, not Mr. Cornyn. Apparently, Mr. McAlpin misread Jerry Seper’s article (“Ridge rapped for immigration views,” Page 1, Dec. 11) and should have directed his ire at Mr. Stein, not Mr. Cornyn.

For too long, we have allowed extremist special interest groups at both ends of the political spectrum to scuttle nearly every attempt at updating our immigration policy for fear it would not comport to their narrow view of how open, or closed, our borders should be. Rather than accept reforms that would secure our open borders, they effectively chose the status quo. When it comes to the relationship between ineffective immigration enforcement and its impact on homeland security, the status quo is unacceptable.

The Border Security and Immigration Reform bill introduced by Mr. Cornyn earlier this year is a common sense solution to our broken immigration system. It addresses the need for better border security and acknowledges the important contributions that immigrants make to our economy. It will bring hard-working immigrants out of the shadows and onto our tax rolls, while removing incentives for human smuggling and other exploitation.

It’s time to stop talking about our nation’s immigration problems, and start solving them.

DON STEWART

Communications director

Sen. John Cornyn

Washington

The importance of U.S.-Pakistani relations

The most recent attempt on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s life (“Musharraf barely escapes assassination,” World, Monday) underlines the following four points:

First, Pakistani military planners should not have any doubts that their use of jihadis in Indian-held Kashmir has come back to haunt them. The proverbial jihadi tiger from which the military planners are trying to dismount is attempting to kill them. Supporting jihadis in the Indian-held Kashmir but curbing them in Pakistan is a failed policy that must be abandoned. Despite the recent terrorist attack, Pakistan must stay the course to rid itself of the jihadis — ironically, the very jihadis Islamabad nourished.

Second, the U.S. government must continue to support the Pakistani government’s efforts against jihadis. More U.S. support is necessary to train Pakistani law enforcement agencies to combat the terrorists, who wrongly believe that any liberal Pakistani government is effectively a puppet of the United States. Therefore, U.S. support to Pakistan has to be covert.

Third, it underscores how much danger Pakistan has taken to help the U.S.-led war against the terrorism. Now Washington must stand by Pakistan in its hour of stress and strain.

Fourth, jihadi culture in Pakistan took roots when Pakistan supported the CIA-led Afghan war against the Soviets. Therefore, Washington has a moral responsibility to help Pakistan rid itself of the jihadi terrorists.

DAVID KHAN

Juneau, Alaska

‘Fully human’ at conception

Tuesday’s editorial “Winning on abortion” contained the following statement: “Pro-abortion strategists have lost the argument over whether a life is in fact a life before birth.”

I have always considered the issue of whether there is life before birth to be fairly simple for the following reason: Dead cells do not multiply. Life therefore is necessarily present from the moment of conception onward. Furthermore, high school biology tells us that we receive the DNA that defines us as individuals — half from the mother and half from the father — at the moment of conception.

Therefore, necessarily, we also are fully human at that point, not merely a “blob of tissue” (as I have often been told). Finally, although each of us is located inside our mother’s womb at the moment of conception, our DNA is unique from that of the mother. Therefore, the argument that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her own body is not valid but a straw man. It does not accurately reflect the reality that the baby is a genetically unique individual, distinct from his or her mother.

DALE C. CLARK

Marysville, Wash.

Searching for a pro-American immigration policy

If President Bush favors an immigration policy “that benefits American business owners and immigrant job seekers” (“Bush rules out ‘blanket amnesty,’ ” Page 1, Tuesday), who supports an immigration policy that benefits American job seekers?

Mass immigration has contributed to the declining real wages and high unemployment suffered by U.S. workers on the bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum during the past few years. Polls show that majorities of both Democrats and Republicans favor tighter immigration laws.

However, Mr. Bush and all Democratic presidential candidates have expressed support for a variety of measures that would increase today’s historically high immigration levels. When will those politicians begin to make a priority of the needs of U.S. workers and not just the desires of immigrants and businesspeople?

CHRISTOPHER S. EDWARDS

New York


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